The University of Richmond women’s lacrosse team defeated Keio University, a Japanese university, 21-11 in a scrimmage Tuesday morning.
The Spiders started the game off strong, scoring immediately within the first minute of the game. There was back-and-forth on the scoreboard at the beginning of the first half, but with great saves by goalie Megan Gianforte and an aggressive offense, the Spiders quickly took a lead and could not be stopped.
By the end of the second half, the Spiders had widened their lead to 13-3, ending a standard U.S. game of lacrosse.
After the two standard halves, the teams played two 15-minute segments following international rules, by which Keio generally plays. These rules included no verbal instructions by referees and the lack of a shot clock during play.
Although Keio was able to score a few more points during the international play compared to its three points during standard U.S. play, the Spiders still came out victorious with a final score of 21-11.
Midfield player Julia Schmuckler said the Keio players had adapted to the American rules well, and overall they had been great competition. She said she had enjoyed the chance to play an international team because she had been able to see how lacrosse has grown not only across the country but also across the globe.
“They were feisty, they were good,” Schmuckler said. “They were very athletic and very fast, so I was pretty impressed with them.”
Nevertheless, the switch from American standards of play to international created a noticeable shift in the play, Gianforte said.
“They were pretty hot for the first few minutes of that because we had to get used to playing with no free movement, couldn’t move through the crease, things like that,” Gianforte said.
Despite the different styles of play, the teams had great sportsmanship on and off the field, Schmuckler said.
“All the girls were so nice, and it’s fun to have a game where you have a guest visiting you and sportsmanship is really key and you’re hosting them,” Schmuckler said. “It’s just really sweet to just have a relationship like that with another team.”
After the game, the women on Keio’s team went to Heilman Dining Center with the Spiders student-athletes who did not have class, Gianforte said.
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Keio is traveling around the U.S. to play various college-level teams. The team contacted the Spiders lacrosse team in late spring 2019 to see if they would be interested in playing, UR women's lacrosse head coach Allison Kwolek said.
Kwolek said the opportunity to play had been a great chance to get all the players on the field and had given coaches and players an early look at the team's current skill level.
The Spiders’ overall athleticism, speed and competitiveness in games and practices were great to see in the scrimmage against Keio, Kwolek said. From here, the team will continue working on getting new players adjusted to the college level of play and continue working on defensive and offensive sets as the players’ time on the field together continues, she said.
Schmuckler said the class of first-year players this year had been particularly large – about one-third of the whole team.
“I’m pretty excited to see how the year is going to go with that, and I think they’ve done a good job and contributing a lot to our team so far,” Schmuckler said. “I think having so many new people, it’s going to be like a whole new team going into the championship, but it’ll be cool to see and I definitely think we’ll be strong.”
The Spiders have won the past two A-10 championships, and Gianforte said she was ready for another.
“My freshman year we lost in the championship and the last two years we’ve won, so I know what both feels like, and I’m really excited to go for the three-peat this year,” Gianforte said. “I think we have such a good team culture that we’ve built up over our years here that we’re so ready to do everything it takes.”
The team has already achieved a cohesive dynamic, Gianforte said.
“I think our school, our program, is so unique because we have a culture where everyone is just accepted so fast and we want to make the freshmen comfortable from day one,” Gianforte said. “That transfers to the field and how we play and win games.”
Contact news writer Cate Bonner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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