The University of Richmond women’s soccer team lost 3-2 against the University of North Carolina at Charlotte on President’s Field in a back-and-forth game on Sept. 10.
It was senior day for the Spiders, and spirits were high. The announcers at President’s Field held a brief ceremony for the seniors as Hannah Antonick, Taylor Montague, Caitlin Sutton, Lauren Waniel, Elyse Kimball, Molly Wierman, Casey Merz, Logan Anderson and Gena Pike walked out with their respective family members.
The 49ers started maintaining and playing through the Spiders’ high press. UR got the ball through intercepting passes and launched quick counterattacks. Shots flew toward the 49ers’ goal, but the ball could not find the back of the net.
It wasn’t long until Charlotte’s patient, possession-based game caught the Spiders under challenging areas and UR was forced to concede a corner. An incredible cross turned into a shot as the 49ers curled the ball into the back of the net. The Spiders were down 1-0 in the 24th minute.
UR pressed to find an equalizer but still could not score. The Spiders’ first goal came with some help from the opponents as the 49ers gave away a penalty in the 42nd minute. Midfielder Antonick converted the penalty and the Spiders went into half-time tied with the 49ers 1-1.
The Spiders looked reenergized at the start of the second half and connected passes to create chances. In the 53rd minute, Forward Wierman fired a shot into the upper corner of the goal and sent the home fans into a frenzy. The Spiders pushed on to extend their lead but were thwarted by the Charlotte goalkeeper time and time again.
The shots saved gave the 49ers momentum as they gained control of the game. Charlotte played pass after pass until they won another corner. The 49ers crossed the ball in which graduate and goalkeeper Pike made a necessary save to keep the score 2-1 in the Spiders’ favor. Charlotte kept pressing and eventually found a breakthrough. The score was 2-2 with 12 minutes left.
UR attempted to use their outside players to score a quick goal from kickoff, but were unsuccessful and found themselves rushing back to defend a throw-in. The 49ers took advantage of UR’s disorganization and crossed the ball in to score a goal in the 83rd minute. The Spiders ran at the opposition till the final whistle, but it was not enough to score again.
Despite the disappointing loss, UR Head Coach Adam Denton was encouraged that the team had scored four goals in the last two games.
“In the last three or four games, we have started to create a lot more opportunities,” Denton said. “Today we didn’t manage the game as well as we wanted to and gave away some sloppy goals.”
The Spiders look forward to their first conference match against local rival Virginia Commonwealth University on Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. at VCU.
“We have to take the conference one game at a time,” Denton said. “Opening up at a local rival at their place, there’s emotion in this game. But we will have the mentality that we take each game as it comes, and the goal is to win each game that we play.”
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