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Editor: Matthew McGovern Assistant editor: Wes Shaw (540) 568-6709

ON THE WEB: A recap of tonight’s CIT quarterfinal action at Old Dominion

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Not Just ‘Water Boys’

A student athletic trainer’s job goes far beyond the sidelines By AMY GWALTNEY The Breeze

If there was ever a season that JMU men’s basketball program needed Meghan Starliper, this was the one. Starliper, a senior athletic trainer, dealt with a laundry list of injuries despite a resurgent season by the Dukes. Senior Abdulai Jalloh suffered a shoulder injury early in the season, sidelining him for the remainder. Senior Juwann James, diagnosed with a heart condition and a hand injury, has missed 12 games throughout the season. Freshman Devon Moore sat out the first George Mason game with headaches after a hard hit to the floor at practice and later suffered sprained ligaments in his wrist at Hofstra. Freshman Andrey Semenov’s and senior Kyle Swanston’s dizzy spells were also a part of the team’s ongoing misfortune. And for every injury, Starliper was there to help. March is National Athletic Training Month, and while most fans show concern as the star of the game falls to the field, they rarely know the story behind the athletic trainer rushing to the athlete’s side. About 24 to 30 students apply each year for 12 to 18 spots in the Athletic Training Program at JMU. These students perform three times better than the national average on the Board of Certification exam, according to Tom Kuster, JMU assistant athletics director for sports medicine. “Our first-time attempt pass rate tends to be around 80 to 90 percent,” said Connie Peterson, athletic training faculty member. Different from a physical or personal trainer, an athletic trainer must earn a bachelor’s degree in athletic training and pass the


JMU student athletic trainer Meghan Starliper examines senior forward Juwann James’ bruised hand at practice Tuesday. Starliper has been working with the men’s basketball team for the entirety of its season as part of her JMU curriculum.

Board of Certification exam for athletic trainers. “The biggest difference is that athletic trainers are able to evaluate the injury and give an assessment and also rehabilitate that injury, where personal or physical trainers can only do a strength and conditioning program,” said Jo Gundrum, senior athletic trainer. “My favorite part is just being able to help an athlete go from their lowest point, basically, to their highest point, and being

able to get them back into play,” Starliper said. After an avulsion fracture her freshman year in high school, Starliper spent six weeks in the athletic training room, leading to her interest in the profession. As a senior, she has worked with different groups, such as the Harrisonburg High School football team, but this season was her first with the JMU men’s basketball team. “To be honest, when I first heard that I was gonna be working with basketball, I

>> Men’s Basketball

Semis Calling By MATTHEW McGOVERN The Breeze

More than the amount of 3-pointers he took Wednesday night at Liberty, JMU senior forward Kyle Swanston was surprised by the number of open looks he got. Swanston went 9-of-20 in an 88-65 SEASON SERIES win over the Flames JMU vs. ODU in the quarterfinals Jan. 7: 70-62 JMU at ODU of the TournaJMU Leading Scorers: Juwann James, 23 pts ment, stepping up Julius Wells, 13 pts in the absence of seODU Leading Scorers: nior forward Juwann Gerald Lee, 20 pts James. James severely Darius James, 14 pts bruised his thumb Jan. 28: 80-74 ODU at JMU against Mount Saint Mary’s last week, and JMU Leading Scorers: Andrey Semenov, 16 pts is a game-time deciKyle Swanston, 14 pts sion for tonight’s CIT ODU Leading Scorers: semifinal contest at Gerald Lee, 23 pts Old Dominion. Ben Finney, 19 pts Un f o r t u n a t e l y for the Dukes, they don’t expect the same level of ease from long distance against the Monarchs. “The other night, against Liberty, [Swanston] had a career night, and we needed that kind of offensive explosion from him,” JMU coach Matt Brady said. “I certainly think going forward it’s gonna be a little more difficult against Old Dominion for us. … To think that we’re gonna be able to get any of those kind of points; that’s not likely gonna happen.” Said Swanston: “I knew in the first half that I took a lot of 3s, but I thought that they would face-guard me in the second half, but I got a lot of looks. You know, I even think I might have passed a couple up.” JMU (21-14) meets ODU in Norfolk, after the Monarchs (23-10) defeated Belmont 70-62 in their quarterfinal game. With the level of familiarity both teams have with each other, Swanston isn’t likely to

CIT Semifinals Tonight, 7 p.m. Norfolk, Va.

be given the same leeway he was at Liberty. Brady expects extended pressure to prevent Swanston’s sharpshooting, and if James doesn’t play, that will only contribute to the lack of breathing room on the perimeter. But according to Brady, that isn’t reason to be discouraged. “We’re prepared to play without him; we’ve played two games in a row here without him, and our approach is gonna be the same,” Brady said. “Whoever’s out there on the court’s gonna help us win the game.” One of the players making the largest impact lately is junior guard Pierre Curtis, who went for 18 points and seven assists at Liberty. His aggressive approach has paid off, as he has scored in double digits in seven of his last nine games. After playing two relatively unfamiliar opponents in Mount Saint Mary’s and Liberty, Curtis acknowledged that stepping into a game against a conference opponent is different. “Obviously, it’s gonna be a tough game — you facing somebody for the third time in a season,” Curtis said. “But to me, it’s just ‘Take it like we would have faced them in the CAA tournament.’ … We just gotta be a little bit more patient on offense, and obviously we know we gotta rebound a lot more, ’cause we’re playing ODU.” One of the reasons for that is Monarchs forward Gerald Lee, a first-team All-CAA selection, who stands 6-foot-10. Lee averages 15.5 points per game and 5.7 rebounds, and has the ability to hit the 15foot jumper as well as score inside. If JMU is successful in containing Lee, it has a chance to notch its 22nd win — a mark that would set this team apart from all but one JMU squad. Madison is currently in a tie for the second-most wins in program history, behind only the 1982 team that went 24-6.

Tuesday is typically the day JMU has “Charlie Wholestaff ” on the mound, as JMU coach Spanky McFarland said in the preseason. And with plenty of pitchers to share the blame, JMU baseball dropped its fourth straight game to Radford on Tuesday in Harrisonburg. Sophomore James Weiner took the loss as the Dukes were pummeled 14-3. Weiner was one of six pitchers to throw for Madison on the day, giving up four runs — one earned — and four hits in one and 1/3 innings. In the absence of a true fifth starter, Madison’s 12th-year coach opts to string

together five or six pitchers for one or two innings a piece on some weekday games, thus saving his top-of-the-rotation starters for weekend and conference series. JMU has lost four straight to Radford, but three of those losses have come on weekdays, when the Dukes do not typically have their best arms on the mound. “I think part of it’s the pitching match ups,” McFarland said of his team’s losing streak to the Highlanders. “It seems like we can normally beat them when we throw a power arm.” JMU’s weekend rotation of sophomores Turner Phelps and Alex Valadja and freshman Evan Scott has combined to go 8-3 this season, giving up just 47 earned runs in 88 and 2/3 innings. The young group has well exceeded preseason expectations after

>> Lacrosse

UVA Out of Reach

The Breeze

James Madison’s slide continued in lacrosse Tuesday night, and there wasn’t much doubt it would from the start. No. 9 Virginia overpowered Madison 18-9, handing the Dukes their third loss in a row, as JMU fell to 4-4 this season. The defending Atlantic Coast Conference champions scored early and often, jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the first 15 minutes. The Cavaliers showed some fatigue, however, as JMU drew to within 6-3 at halftime. The Dukes made it 6-4 on freshman Monica Zabel’s free position goal, but Virginia’s All-American Blair Weymouth ended Madison’s run with her third goal of the game. The momentum temporarily stayed with the Dukes however, as sophomore Mary Kate Lomady scored back-to-back goals to make it 7-6. But Virginia’s other All-American, senior Ash-

“We pulled it

within one. It’s a heartbreaker.

CATHY KUSHNER/ Sports Media Relations

Junior guard Pierre Curtis has had his greatest success at the end of this season, stepping up in Juwann James’ absence.

‘Charlie Wholestaff’ Falls to Radford The Breeze

See TRAINERS, page 13


>> Baseball


was really hesitant because being a female in an all-male sport I learned I had to stick up for myself… [but] it’s been really fun, they’ve been good to me,” Starliper said. Every day before practice, Meghan Starliper tapes the players’ ankles, fills the 10-gallon coolers with Powerade and gathers the water bottles for the team. For an away game, she packs the travel bag and for home games, she comes in six hours before a 7 p.m. game to set up.

JMU lost two of its top three starters from last year to injury this offseason. And while JMU’s defense has held its own, it’s offense has been cause for concern recently. Other than its 11-run sixth inning in Saturday’s win over Northeastern, the Dukes have only scored four runs in their last three games. “I think the whole team’s cooled off,” McFarland said. “Not so much hits as runs, we just haven’t been able to spring a lot of hits together in the same inning. Junior center fielder Alex Foltz had his first homerun of the year. Sophomore first baseman Trevor Knight was 3-for-4 with an RBI. JMU will play next this weekend in a three-game conference series at Towson. JMU defeated Towson in the CAA Championship final last year.


JMU sophomore midfielder

ley McCulloch, brought the momentum back to the Cavs for the rest of the game. Her goal with 17:02 left sparked an 11-3 run that put the game out of reach. Virginia’s offense looked sharp early, scoring four goals in its first five shots. After its fifth goal, junior Kim Griffin scored Madison’s first goal of the game. Griffin had missed on a pointblank shot just moments before and also had to sit out three minutes for a yellow card early on. The Dukes, normally strong in the draw control, lost 20-9 and allowed Virginia several easy goals on fast-break opportunities. JMU was able to win several draws during its run at the end of the first and beginning of the second half. “We let them capitalize right off the draw, and that’s what we tried to take away from them in the first half,” Coach Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe said. “We just weren’t able to maintain it in the second half.” Lomady and senior captain Jaime Dardine led Madison with 3 points each. Each had two goals and an assist on the night. Freshman goalkeeper Alex Menghetti saved 11 of the 29 shots she faced against the Cavaliers’ relentless attack. The 18 goals is the most the Dukes have allowed all season. “I mean it’s hard just because of the fact that we knew that we were in it,” Lomady said. “I mean we pulled it within one. It’s a heartbreaker.”