The University of Richmond women's field hockey team has started out the season with a 4-5 record, and hopes to use what it learned from its early losses to play better as it gets closer to the Atlantic 10 Championship.
The team played back-to-back home games this weekend, starting with a 7-0 win on Saturday against Monmouth University. It then fell to Miami University 5-1 on Sunday, despite being the first to score.
Megan Thompson, a senior on the team, said the experience they had gained from both the losses and wins was going toward their ultimate goal: an increased level of play when conference play begins.
Hannah Hess, a junior on the team, said: "When we're doing our running tests, even just out at practice, it's not rare to hear one or more of our teammates say, 'This is for that A-10 ring, ladies.' It's one thing that's really motivating us to work hard and give 100 percent all the time."
The Spiders have had immense success with the championship in the past. They won their fifth-straight A-10 Championship in 2006, and have gone far in the following years, but without taking home the title.
This year, the team is trying to take a holistic approach to success on the field. Hess said that as a team, they chose "uncommon" as their keyword to help remind them of what they are striving to be.
"Our coach is constantly encouraging us to be excellent women in all that we do," Hess said. "We are striving to be uncommon on the field hockey field and off - uncommon meaning that we support our teammates, are selfless, work to our best ability at all times, and bring intensity to every practice, so that we will reach the goals that we have set forth as a team. It's a mentality that we are continuing to strive for."
The Spiders still have several home games approaching, with only one of the seven coming games on the road. Many players said they thought this would be to their advantage. Dani Pycroft, a junior from Harare, Zimbabwe, said the atmosphere of home games always gave the team an indescribable energy boost.
"While traveling is fun, the energy you get from playing in front of family and friends is different," she said. "I am an international student and so many would argue that a home and away game is much the same for me, but we have a special team, that is different to a lot of the other teams in our conference. We all get along really well and their parents are my family here."
Seniors on the team who remember winning the A-10 Championship in 2006, under previous coach Ange Bradley, said they hoped to share the past success with younger members of the team.
"Me, along with the rest of the seniors, are really putting our hearts into this season since it is our last," said Adrian Pickar. "It's such an awesome dynamic for our team because we are such a large group and we are the only class to have previously met the above goals, and we want the underclassmen to achieve this same success."
The Spiders beat The College of William & Mary 3-1 on Wednesday in Williamsburg, Va., and will come home to Richmond to face the University of Virginia on Sept. 30.
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