Even after Friday night's game ended with a loss for the men's soccer team, the crowd in Robins Stadium was still cheering in support.
About 50 men's soccer alumni joined the team on the field for the post game huddle. From the center of the field, the players and alumni started a "we are UR" chant amongst themselves, but after a few seconds, people in the stands joined in as well.
"This crowd shows that we're reaching people," said Houston Oldham, a senior on the team. "It shows that soccer has a place at this school."
The team lost to George Washington University, 2-1. Twelve minutes into the game, Oldham scored the first goal for Richmond of a penalty kick.
"This [crowd] is probably an entire season, plus some, worth of people," said junior Lucas Virnig, a fan who said he occasionally comes to women's and men's soccer games. He came Friday to support friends on the soccer and track teams.
"You could definitely tell at the beginning that the [soccer team] came out with a heightened sense of energy," he said.
George Washington scored just eight minutes after Oldham. Another goal for the Colonials early in the second half left Richmond fighting to tie the game.
With less than 30 seconds left, a foul by George Washington allowed junior Michael Forsyth a chance for to tie the game with a penalty kick, but it was saved by the goalkeeper.
In addition cheering for a win against George Washington, the crowd also displayed support for the recently cut men's soccer and men's track and field teams. Richmond men's soccer alumni distributed about 500 red t-shirts that read "carry the flag" before the game. The shirts were worn by students, alumni and families.
This is our rally call, said alumnus Jim Popp, Richmond College '92. The flags, banners and t-shirts handed out with the slogan, which represented both men's soccer and men's track and field, had been paid for by alumni who were redirecting the money they would have otherwise given to the university, he said.
Senior Conor Phelan, a track and cross country runner, said, "It's been really nice to work side by side with soccer.
"There are a lot of students [at the game,] which is impressive. Students have been very supportive of both track and soccer throughout the whole ordeal," he said.
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Ritt Carrano, RC '91, who came from Atlanta, GA to see the game, said that in his era of playing soccer at Richmond, the team would have crowds similar to Friday's crowd all the time. He said he thought the way the men's soccer program had been treated by the athletic department had had a negative impact on the program.
"I have no doubt that if the school put any effort into the sport, they'd be able to get fan support," he said.
Throughout the game, Richmond took 20 shots to George Washington's 11 and six corner kicks to the Colonials' two. Oldham took five shots and sophomore Timmy Albright [cq]took four.
Friday's loss was the first game of A-10 play for the Spiders, who are now 4-6-0.
The men's soccer team plays in Robins Stadium again at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 7 against Charlotte.
Contact reporter Chrissy Wengloski at email@example.com
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