The Collegian
Sunday, May 22, 2022

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Field Hockey loses third game in a row to Columbia University

Win or lose, the Richmond field hockey team has been able to count on one thing this season: Katelin Peterson will score a goal.

Peterson, a freshman forward from Escondido, Calif., has scored one goal in each of the Spiders' four games this season. But for the past three games, she has been the only Spider to score, contributing to a three-game losing streak of 6-1, 2-1 and 2-1 against Miami University, Princeton University and Columbia University.

"We are desperately trying to establish a consistent identity and an ability to work as a team," coach Gina Lucido said. "But our inability to follow the game plan led to a bitter loss against a Columbia team that stepped up and found a way to win."

Peterson's goal came early in Sunday's home game against Columbia, giving the Spiders a 1-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the first half. The Spiders defense, led by senior goalkeeper Becca Weaver, held off Columbia during its two first-half corners and Richmond left the field with a 1-0 halftime lead.

Aside from Weaver and junior Jess Weidner, many of the Spiders defenders are sophomores, and Lucido said she hoped that they would be more connected with each other after having played together for a year. But the defense is still looking for a consistent fierceness and performance, she said.

About five minutes into the first half, the Lions had another corner, and this time they scored. Weaver, a co-captain, saved the initial shot with her stick, but Columbia regained possession and hit it into the goal out of Weaver's reach to tie the game.

Two minutes later, the Spiders seemed ready to regain the lead with back-to-back corners. Columbia saved junior defender Jess Weidner's shot on the first corner and senior captain Alex Malatesta's shot on the subsequent corner went out of bounds to the right of the goal.

"Alex has been working very well with the underclassmen," Lucido said about Malatesta's leadership of Peterson and Grace Krafte, freshmen who started during both halves on Sunday. "I don't look at them as classes.

"Katelin and Grace don't have fear, they commit to a vision, they're ready to take on any opponent and they absolutely just showed they're ready. I think Alex is completed by those two."

Malatesta gave the Spiders a third opportunity when she dodged several defenders and drove the ball into the goal, but the Spiders did not tie the game on the play because she took the shot from outside the 16-yard circle. All balls must be hit inside the circle before going into the goal in order to count.

Columbia regained possession and took the ball quickly down the field. A Richmond foul gave the Lions a free hit just outside the Spiders' circle. Lions junior Ariel Leon, standing to the left of the goal, received a cross from the right after the free hit and hit it into the goal, giving the Lions the 2-1 lead they needed to secure the win.

"I knew after the first half and the beginning of the second half that we were in trouble," Lucido said. "The second goal was an affirmation of that. We were not making the adjustments we talked about at halftime and there was a moment of casualness."

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Richmond now has a 1-3 record heading into Saturday's game at Old Dominion University, and a 0-2 record at Crenshaw field when combined with Friday's home loss to Princeton.

Because of the rain this weekend, both home games were rescheduled — the game against Princeton was played Friday night instead of Saturday and Sunday's game was changed from 2 p.m. to noon to give Columbia more travel time this afternoon.

"We need to be ready for everything," Lucida said. "With changes and delays, you want to make excuses, but I refuse to let them have excuses about anything.

"We need to find a way on the field to connect as a team and a calmness to work out of a situation - that's a big weakness."

Contact staff writer Barrett Neale at barrett.neale@richmond.edu

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