The Collegian
Wednesday, May 25, 2022

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Conference champions aim to reach season goals

After two weeks of preseason, the Richmond field hockey team, defending Atlantic 10 champion, is positioned to transfer their practice into gameday tenacity.

"We've worked really hard this preseason, so we're looking to show other teams how hard we've worked," senior captain Michelle Weaver said.

During the last practice before the season opener against American University, head coach Gina Lucido stood in the middle of Crenshaw Field shouting players' names to get them excited for the game.

"Coach has been firing us up with nicknames to light the fire we've got from preseason," junior center back Emily Straniero said.

Despite a 5-1 loss to No. 15 ranked American, the Spiders rallied to beat Towson University 2-1 on Saturday.

The team's status as defending A-10 champion cannot be taken for granted. Lucido said she was focused on putting in hard work to see results, while not assuming anything.

"I don't think that defending the title is the focus," Lucido said. "You have to prove yourself all over again. Other teams are hungry for the title."

But after losing six seniors, the structure of the team has changed.

Senior captain Dani Pycroft, who scored the game-winning goal against Towson, said she thought that the team will transition seamlessly.

"We've got a lot of young players, but we're looking to play as a team," she said. "There are no individuals. We will lean on all 23 players."

Giving younger players the opportunity to step up will be important to defend the title, Lucido said. Freshman Christina Amorose has already scored two goals in as many games.

Also returning is junior forward Katelin Peterson, a first team all-conference selection.

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"The thing I'm looking forward to the most is that the team is taking on a new personality," Lucido said. "My hope this year is to go beyond our accomplishments."

The Spiders were picked to finish second in their conference this year, so they will need to prove themselves again. Although the University of Massachusetts may be their biggest rival, seeded at No. 1 in a preseason poll, Lucido stressed the importance of not taking any team for granted.

"We will show them," Pycroft said about the buzz surrounding preseason rankings.

With the first home game scheduled for Sept. 8 against cross-town rival Virginia Commonwealth University, and games scheduled against conference powerhouses Massachusetts and Temple University later this season, the Spiders' 19-game season will prove challenging.

"We are excited to get back out there and defend the A-10 championship, but we have a lot of hard work ahead of us," Weaver said.

The Spiders, as well as Lucido, are ready to get into the routine of the season.

"The potential lies ahead," Lucido said. "Everything is there for our team to succeed."

The Spiders will travel to New Jersey on Sept. 4 for games against Monmouth University and Rutgers University.

Contact reporter Julia Crandell at julia.crandell@richmond.edu

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