Junior Bailey Zerr scored on a rebound with seven seconds left in the first half to give the women's lacrosse team a 7-6 lead in Robins Stadium Wednesday evening.
For the first time in four games against top-eight teams, the Spiders had the lead at halftime and held the momentum at the start of the second half.
Yet, as in its other three games this season, the Spiders allowed a string of goals it could not match. The Cavaliers scored all seven second-half goals for a 13-7 win.
"In the second half, we lost more draw controls and weren't prepared at the start of the half," sophomore goalie Emily Boyce said. "After we allowed a few goals, it became too much to come back."
Virginia's goalie, senior Kim Kolarik, made incredible saves in the second half on shots Richmond normally would have scored on, Spiders coach Allison Evans said. Kolarik made all but one of her nine saves in the first half. Her only first-half save was on senior Sam Stevenson's shot just outside the crease with 10 seconds left in the second half, but Zerr pounced on the rebound to Kolarik's left for the go-ahead goal.
"Bailey is known for getting those grub balls and as a sniper on our team, anticipating where the ball's going to go," Evans said.
But in the second half, the Cavaliers won six of eight draw controls and beat the Spiders to most loose balls, especially around each net.
Though Boyce allowed 13 goals, she had made many of her 13 saves on breakaways after a Cavalier had run around a Spider defender, and her nine first-half saves had put the Spiders in position to take the lead. Boyce had shown much improvement for one who had not played much last season and had made many saves Richmond could not capitalize on in its counterattack, Evans said.
Boyce gave credit for her play to her defenders for their strong play and good communication this season, though she said defense must improve in some areas.
"Defense has technical things to work on," she said, "but as a unit, we just need to keep communicating and knock cutters off their lines. We've face skilled opponents who have taught us we need to pick up and stay on cutters, send slides and force and hold out attackers. We'll continue to work in practice on double-teams, forcing turnovers, picking up loose balls and responding to whatever happens with strong play."
Stevenson, redshirt senior Caitlin Fifield and senior Jennifer Zoltoski each scored two goals for Richmond. Stevenson also led the team in draw controls, with four of Richmond's eight, out of 22 in the game.
Richmond will face unranked teams on the rest of its schedule, starting with American University at 4 p.m. Wednesday in Robins Stadium.
Contact reporter Zach Kerr at email@example.com