The University of Richmond lacrosse team capped its out-of-conference schedule with a with a season-high 18 goals in its victory over The College of William & Mary Wednesday night at Robins Stadium.
Before the start of the game, the chances that the game would be able to be played appeared slim. Just before the scheduled start time, each teams were sent back to its locker room because of an impending thunderstorm.
Both the Spiders and Tribe were forced to wait out the approximately hour-long delay during which it did not rain, but lightning was seen. The teams emerged from their locker rooms with thunder and lightning still around Robins Stadium, but the ruling was that it was too far away to pose a threat to the safety of the players.
Richmond coach Stephy Samaras-Mantziaras said she had tried to keep the atmosphere loose in the locker room during the delay, and it had appeared to pay dividends.
When play finally got underway, it did not take long for Richmond to flash its offensive potential. Junior Jennifer Zoltoski got the Spiders off to a fast start with a goal a little more than two minutes into the game, and that was followed a minute later by a goal from senior Caitlin Fifield to give the Spiders a 2-0 lead.
By the time the game was seven minutes old, Richmond already had a 4-0 lead and was showing no ill effects from the delayed start time.
"We knew we had to start out hot," Richmond junior Kara Moschetti said. "We had a lot of trouble our last couple of games, but we were really just pushing to go to goal and finish our shots."
There was no trouble with finishing shots Wednesday with Richmond connecting on 18 of its 38 shots. After Richmond's 17th goal of the night, Tribe keeper Lucy Ferguson buried her face in the goal net while play was being reset.
When the Richmond offense is clicking and getting all seven offensive players involved, it can have that demoralizing effect on its opponents, Samaras-Mantziaras said.
That type of distribution was on display with six Spiders scoring multiple goals and seven players scoring in total. They were led by Moschetti with four goals, and Sam Stevenson and Fifield scored three each.
"We were moving, we were talking, we were communicating, working with each other," Moschetti said. "So it really flowed."
The Spiders will need that cohesion with their attention now turning to Atlantic 10 Conference play. It ended its out-of-conference play with a 4-5 record against some of the nation's top teams.
Among the five losses are Atlantic Coast Conference teams Duke, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland, as well as a loss to nationally-ranked Towson. It did pick up a win against nationally-ranked James Madison.
Though it was a daunting schedule -- something that happens annually for the team -- resulting in a below-.500 record, it does give the team some benefits heading into conference action.
"It's going to really prepare us when it comes down to crunch time in the A-10 games, and we need to come away with the win," Samaras-Mantziaras said. "We know we have the ability to know we've been in a game like that before and, hopefully, it will help us come away with a win."
A-10 play starts with one of those big games at 11 a.m. on March 30 at Robins Stadium against University of Massachusetts. The Spiders have been eliminated in the conference tournament the past two seasons by UMass.
Contact reporter Andrew Prezioso at firstname.lastname@example.org