The Saturday afternoon contest between University of Richmond Spiders and the Massachusetts Minutewomen, the only two teams who remained undefeated in the Atlantic 10 and the two favorites to meet in the conference championship, both played strong defensive lacrosse and remained competitive until the last second of the game.
At the end of the game it was the No. 11 Minutewomen who took the win by a score of 9-8, ending the Spiders’ five-game winning streak and allowing UMass to remain undefeated.
Richmond, who was playing its last regular season home game and also celebrating Senior Day, came out with one of its strongest defensive performances of the season.
The Spiders had an outstanding afternoon limiting the Minutewomen to fewer than 10 goals, which is only the second time this season that has occurred.
The scoring began with junior Emily Doyle, who with an assist from senior Hayley Ross put the ball in the back of the net and gave the Spiders an early lead. They were then able to win the ensuing faceoff and had control of the ball for an extended possession.
The first half of the game seemed to be a back-and-forth affair of both teams trading defensive gems and breaking up multiple key opportunities.
Following a goal for UMass by attacker Erika Eipp, which tied the game at 1, the Spiders called a quick timeout and responded with a goal of their own by Brooke Wilson, sophomore midfielder.
However, the Spiders were unable to preserve their first half lead going into halftime.
Umass’s Eipp once again scored the equalizing goal with a minute left before teams made their way to halftime.
Coming out of the tunnel at halftime, the Spiders seemed reinvigorated with energy and passion as Ross, who was playing her last regular season game at home, scored two goals within minutes of starting the half forcing UMass to take a timeout and regroup.
The tide of the game began to shift in favor of the Minutewomen after this timeout as they scored four consecutive goals. The Spiders were unable to win the resulting faceoffs that allowed their opponents to score quick, breakaway goals before the defensive players could adjust.
With the Spiders down by a goal late in the second half they were able to score the game-tying goal following an impressive team effort.
The Spiders recovered a turnover on the opposite side of the field and were able to get the ball to every one of their players before Makenna Pohle took a shot on goal and brought the score even at 7.
The concluding minutes of the game were filled with dramatics as the Spiders entered the last minute down by a goal.
“We put together a really good game,” head coach Allison Evans said. “I knew it was going to be a close game and come down to the end just like last year.”
With about 25 seconds left on the clock, the Spiders had one more drive left in them and were able to get a shot off, which was blocked by UMass goalie Rachel Vallarelli, ending the game and handing the Spiders their first A-10 loss of the season.
“We scared UMass again, so that felt really good as seniors and this was by far the best lacrosse we’ve ever played so to do that on our senior game is pretty awesome,” Ross said in a post-game interview.
The Spider will play at Duquesne Friday night and are looking for one more win to solidify a spot in the A-10 tournament, which is to be played in Robins Stadium.
Contact staff reporter Gabriel Obregon at firstname.lastname@example.org