The University of Richmond lost to No. 18 University of Massachusetts during the Atlantic 10 Championship on Saturday.
The Spiders lost 2-0 to the Minutewomen on goals from Mary Shea at the 20th minute of the first half and Cher King with just less than 23 minutes remaining in the game. The victory gave UMass its second-consecutive A-10 championship.
Richmond had scoring chances but was unable to convert.
"It was unfortunate that UMass was able to capitalize on their opportunities and we didn't," coach Gina Lucido said. "UMass proved that they were the better team on that day."
The Spiders (10-11) finished the season by winning seven of their last nine games. Eight of the Spiders' 11 losses came against ranked opponents.
The tough schedule helped show the players that they could compete with stronger opponents, Lucido said.
Junior forward Megan Thompson said: "We were able to see how quick they are, how fast they move the ball. We took that play into the A-10 and we were able to use it against teams that were more at our level."
The difficult schedule helped make the team tougher, Lucido said.
Thompson said the team had grown a lot since last year, and that each player had matured.
The Spiders were the No. 2 seed in the A-10 tournament. Sarah Blythe-Wood's overtime goal during the semifinal games against Temple sent Richmond to the championship game.
"She just saw the opportunity and took it," freshman forward Katelin Peterson said. "It was just a beautiful shot from the right and it ended up sliding right in the goal."
The team is 53-5 against A-10 opponents since 2002 with four of those losses coming against UMass, according to the athletics department's Web site.
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The team must improve its penalty corner unit to be able to compete in the postseason, Lucido said.
"I believe that we are right there with [UMass]," she said. "If we can make penalty corners our weapon, I really know that we have a really solid chance of winning that A-10 trophy and going further on to NCAA tournament play."
The Spiders will return nine of 11 starters for 2009. Peterson tied for the lead in the Atlantic 10 in points with 29. Peterson and Thompson tied for second in the A-10 with 12 goals.
Peterson's quick success was not a surprise, Lucido said.
"Katelin is one of the most significant impact freshmen I have been privileged to coach," she said. Peterson's hard work and commitment to be the best is a credit to her, she said.
Expectations are high for next season, Lucido said.
An NCAA tournament is attainable, Thompson said.
"We definitely want to come back strong and I think that we are going to," she said.
Contact reporter Stephen Utz at firstname.lastname@example.org
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