The University of Richmond women’s lacrosse spring 2021 season has been nothing short of memorable.
After 11 months of no competition, the Spiders opened up their season with a 19-10 win over Radford. The following week, they battled UVA and suffered a tough loss 16-10. Since losing to UVA, the team has been unstoppable, earning five straight wins.
“The athleticism of our team is a main strength that has the potential to set us apart from other teams,” Megan Gianforte, a graduate student goalie, wrote in an email sent by Public Relations Representative Bridgette Robles. “The resiliency of my teammates to fight through game situations on the field, as well as bounce back from Covid postponements is a main strength that I have never witnessed to this extent before.”
The season itself has not been perfect. The team had to postpone three games due to an outbreak of COVID-19.
“We are shifting our mindset to use this as an opportunity to prove ourselves," Brittney Wright, a senior defense player, wrote in an email sent Robles. “Many people and teams are looking over us because we haven’t played that many games, but this is our time to show that Richmond can still come out on top even with the Covid break we had.”
Head Coach Allison Kwolek wrote in an email sent by Robles that it had been a challenging season and something that everyone had to deal with for the first time.
Kwolek has held the role of head coach since 2013.
“Coming back from our Covid pause the team has been focused and working hard to prepare for VCU and [George] Mason this weekend,” Kwolek added.
As a consequence of the postponed games, the Spiders have shifted their mindset.
“The postponement put into clear perspective how our days left together are numbered and that we need to take advantage of every practice to continue to improve our game and bond together,” Gianforte wrote.
Instead of focusing on the postseason, the team remains present.
“We need to play well these next two weekends to put ourselves in a position to advance to postseason play,” Kwolek wrote. “For us to continue to see success, we need to work on fine-tuning different areas of our game.”
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Playing as a graduate student for the team has put this season into perspective for Gianforte.
“No practice or game is being taken for granted because every single game until the A-10 tournament matters for our qualification and then ultimate seeding,” Gianforte wrote. “Continuing into postseason play, I want to be a leader for my teammates into the trenches and give them the championship feeling of a ring on their finger that I know feels so good.”
Throughout the season, the Spiders have been in and out of the top 25 in the country. Currently, they are ranked 12th.
Lindsey Frank, a sophomore, leads the team with 34 goals and 11 assists, 50 draw controls and 16 ground balls. Gianforte has made 78 saves for a .453 save percentage this season and also collected her 600th career save.
Sam Geiersbach, a senior, was named to the 2021 Tewaaraton Watch List, which is college lacrosse's highest honor, and scored her 150th career goal this season. Arden Tierney, a sophomore attack, broke the single-game draw-control program record with 13 draw controls against Radford.
The Spiders headed into the end of the season with focus.
“The goal is to play as a team, win as a team, and not take anything for granted,” Wright wrote. “With seeing how easy our season and games can be taken away, we are attacking every opportunity.”
Contact sports writer Kayla O'Connell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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