On Senior Day, senior forward Katelin Peterson notched a hat trick and added an assist, accounting for all of University of Richmond's goals in its victory over La Salle University, 4-1.
"Today, the team had an amazing victory," Peterson said. "The team was so thoughtful in making our Senior Day amazing. All the goals came from a team effort cause everybody contributed to these goals, and it felt really good to go out with a win in my last game on the home turf."
With the victory, the Spiders clinched the Atlantic 10 Conference regular-season championship, the program's seventh in the last 10 years.
That title means Richmond will be the top-seeded team in the A-10 Tournament which begins on Friday. The Spiders head into the tournament having won eight of their last nine game, and their first game will be a rematch with La Salle.
"We talk about being professional all the time," Richmond coach Gina Lucido said. "Every team wants to win as badly as the other program; there's no 'we want it more' kind of thing. It has to be that we're going to take care of all the little details to make sure that we can move ourselves into the semifinal game, and then eventually win the A-10 crown, which has been our goal all season and so I have great faith and belief in this program."
In the game, Richmond struck first, scoring the only first-half goal when junior Catherine Ostoich found Peterson open in front of the net.
The Explorers tied the game early in the second half off a goal from Mariel Papa, but didn't have long to celebrate, as Peterson scored just six seconds later off an assist from freshman Rebecca Barry.
"Katelin Peterson is just the epitome of a great leader," Lucido said. "We talked to the team about how today was very important that we came in and made a statement to show how strong of a team we are, and we didn't want to be opened up, and we were really going for a shutout, so I think when they scored, they took it really personally and Katelin just came right back and kinda put them right back on their heels."
The Spiders' four seniors--Peterson, Sierra Asplundh, Betsy Herr and Emily Straniero--were honored before the game.
"These four seniors by far have contributed so significantly to an outstanding program culture," Lucido said. "Their investment, their sacrifices, their character is the main reason that we are, at this point in my career, at the best record we've had in all my seasons.
"Leadership: you live and die by it. I say it all the time, and our team has thrived under this incredible leadership and made such a great statement on the field today, and I couldn't be more happy that that they're exactly where they wanna be, and I think dreamed of being in their senior year with all of the best in front of us."
Richmond finished with an overall record of 13-6 and was 5-1 within the A-10. Peterson attributed the team's successful regular season to unity.
"I think we're pretty confident in our team's ability when we play united to stay together and stay strong," she said. "Our theme this year is 'A rope of many strands can't be broken,' so we're hoping to continue to stay united in all that we do and keep our season going."
Game Notes: The hat trick was Peterson's third of her career, and she is now fourth in the program's history for points, goals and assists... Sophomore Christina Amorose scored Richmond's other goal... The Spiders outshot the Explorers, 7-6.
Contact staff writer David Weissman at email@example.com