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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

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Field hockey edges Owls 3-2; Thompson gets third straight game-winner

Three games, five goals, three game-winning goals -- you could say Megan Thompson has had a pretty good week.

"It brings so much satisfaction as a coach to watch one of your players be tested and come out a stronger, more vibrant and impactful person," Richmond coach Gina Lucido said. "Megan has been that for us this season."

Thompson, a junior from Gap, Pa., led the Spiders to a 3-2 win over Temple University on Sunday at Crenshaw Field. That's in addition to a 3-2 overtime win against Virginia Commonwealth University on Wednesday and a 2-1 overtime win against Saint Joseph's University on Friday.

"She is reaping the rewards of her hard work," Lucido said. "She is absolutely deserving of all the success she has garnered this season."

The Spiders took an early lead during the 13th minute with junior Sarah Blythe-Wood's sixth goal of the season off a Richmond corner shot. Junior Jess Weidner and Thompson, who took Richmond's eight penalty corners, had the assists.

"It puts you under pressure," Thompson said. "If I screw up, the whole thing's screwed up. It keeps me focused."

Lucido said she had emphasized throughout the season that penalty corners were an opportunity to score goals.

During the first half, Richmond had 13 shots to Temple's two, but Temple needed only one to tie the game. During the 23rd minute, junior Charise Young passed to sophomore Stephanie McGinty, who shot the ball past Richmond's senior goalkeeper Becca Weaver.

"They go off of emotion," Weaver said of Temple. "If they could get one they could get another. Our goal was to keep that emotion down."

Richmond's offensive aggressiveness during the first half led to more penalty corners, one of which during the 27th minute resulted in the second Richmond goal -- scored by freshman Katelin Peterson -- her sixth of the season. Sophomore Hannah Hess had the assist.

"I would like to see us actually extend our lead and take opponents out of the game," Lucido said about the team's ability to regain leads after ties. "A team looking to be at its best is not content with just being able to pull it out."

But Temple dominated offensively during the second half, with 12 shots to Richmond's four. Thompson's fastbreak goal during the 60th minute, off Peterson's assist, gave Richmond a two-goal lead.

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"It's really exciting but I couldn't have done it without my teammates," Thompson said. "You've just got to take your opportunities when you get them. As a forward, it's important to be hungry."

Temple had four second-half corners, one of which led to a penalty stroke during the 68th minute. Young, who Weaver called one of Temple's best players, flicked the ball toward the upper-left side of the goal past Weaver, pulling the Owls within one goal of Richmond.

"Temple is an intense team," Weaver said. "They came out very strong in the second half.

"I would love to see the video because I think I was centimeters away from stopping it. Strokes are supposed to be scored; in that sense it's all right."

Weaver had missed part or all of the last six games because of a knee injury. Sunday was Weaver's first full game since the team's win at American University Sept. 26.

"It was great to see her get her rhythm back in the goal cage," Lucido said. "It's so exciting to see her share and contribute."

Temple had another corner less than a minute later, but the ensuing shot missed wide left and Richmond finished its four-game home stand with another close victory.

It was the Spiders' last home game of the season. Their three seniors -- Weaver and midfielders Alex Malatesta and Sarah Schrott -- were honored before the game.

"The three of them each bring a different strength to our program," Lucido said. "All of those together infect our team in such a positive way."

Weaver said a number of the underclassmen had written her cards and notes, but she said she didn't want to read them yet.

"I don't know if it's hit me yet," Weaver said. "It feels like three weeks ago I was a freshman."

The Spiders will play their final four regular-season games on the road, starting with Atlantic 10 opponent LaSalle University on Friday. The Spiders' record during its last road trip, when they played four top-15 teams, was 2-3.

"She planned our schedule that way so we would be hard and tough," Thompson said. "It was a really good experience. We're starting to see her purpose in planning that schedule.

"In the beginning of the week our coach said she wanted three wins for these three games. We're going to use the momentum we gained this week into the following one."

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

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