Momentum swung back and forth. The GW women’s lacrosse team fought hard but lost to ninth-ranked Richmond 16-14.
Junior attacker Laura Hostetler found the net four times in the Colonials’ Atlantic 10 opener at the Mount Vernon Athletic Complex Sunday. Midfielder Kristin Karcsh, attacker Annie Howley and defenseman Katelyn Honeyford chipped in two goals each.
The Colonials only led once, 1-0, but erased a Richmond lead on four occasions. GW tied the game in the first half 2-2, after trailing by one, and again at 6-6 after falling behind by two. In the second period, GW evaporated yet another two goal deficit, knotting the game at 8-8, and then tied the contest once more, 12-12, deleting a Spiders’ three goal advantage.
“We were down and we never stopped fighting,” freshman midfielder Meghan Cratty said, with her right arm wrapped with an Ace bandage after falling during the game. “If we keep fighting so hard it will definitely work out for us.”
The Colonials have six more conference games and must finish with one of the four best in-conference records to qualify for the A-10 tournament, to be held May 5-7 at Mount Vernon.
“We had more heart in this game than we had all year,” Howley said. “I give (Richmond) a little respect. This was definitely the hardest team we’ve played. (I think) we’ll see them again in the tournament and we’ll show them how hard it is to beat a team twice.”
The women have fallen four times to ranked opponents this year, including their loss to Richmond. They lost to Johns Hopkins University in late February, Towson University in March and the College of William and Mary (Va.) in March.
Ashley Friend (five goals), Mandy Friend (four) and Caroline McGuire (four) propelled Richmond’s potent attack, which thwarted every GW comeback attempt. In the second half, the Spiders took a mere 43 seconds to regain the lead after GW tied the game at 8-8. On another occasion, Richmond scored just 46 seconds after the Colonials knotted the game at 12-12.
GW’s last gasp came with 47 seconds remaining as they were down 15-14. After the midfield draw, a 15-second scrum ensued, resulting in a Colonial possession, but GW was offside and had to turnover the ball. McGuire, on Richmond’s subsequent possession, sprinted down the field and found the net with 3.5 seconds remaining.
“(Making) quick, smart decisions (at the end of games) is something we’ll work on,” assistant coach Rebecca Ferrell said. “(It’s good that) we’re just fine-tuning right now and that we don’t have to make huge adjustments.”
GW emphasized ball movement and toughness in recent practices to prepare for Richmond. The Spiders are a fast, physical team, said the Colonials’ coaches.
“I expected (Richmond to be) pressuring us really hard throughout the midfield,” head coach Chrissy Lombard said. “We worked on moving the ball quicker, letting the ball do the work for us. We wanted to dominate on draw controls as well.”
GW won the battle of draw controls, 17-14, which allowed them to subside the Spiders’ offense at times.
GW’s loss was partially due to its inability to convert free-position shots off of fouls. The Colonials missed all six attempts, failing to make Richmond pay for the times they played overly aggressive.
Lombard questioned officials’ calls after a number of collisions between players. There was plenty of contact throughout the game; at one point, Hostetler took a stick to the head after a scrum, causing her to drop her stick and cover her face. She did not suffer an injury.
The women head for Philadelphia on Friday to take on Saint Joseph’s to continue their A-10 schedule. Their next home game will be Sunday against Temple.