The Collegian
Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Back-to-back: Women’s lacrosse wins second-straight A-10 championship

The Spiders celebrate their May 5 win against the University of Massachusetts. Courtesy of Richmond Athletics.
The Spiders celebrate their May 5 win against the University of Massachusetts. Courtesy of Richmond Athletics.

With 43 seconds remaining in the game, the Spiders regained possession. 

Senior midfielder Leah Kenny picked up a ground ball after first-year goalie Abby Francioli made what was arguably the biggest save of her career thus far with the University of Richmond women’s lacrosse team. 

The final buzzer sounded and UR had knocked off the University of Massachusetts 14-13 to claim the program’s seventh all-time Atlantic 10 Championship on May 5 at Rooney Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

The Spiders were crowned back-to-back conference champions and secured their second-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. 

“I’m so proud of our team,” UR Head Coach Anne Harrington said in a postgame interview on the ESPN+ broadcast. “I give it to UMass. They really came out and we knew they were gonna play us tight. And we just saw ‘em one week ago and knew they had similar ticks up their sleeve and they really played a great game and challenged us in every possible way.”

The Spiders lost a tight 13-12 game to UMass in the team’s regular season finale on April 27. UMass ended up with the one-seed and the A-10 regular season title. When push came to shove in the championship game, however, whatever regular season unfinished business did not matter. 

UR set the tone offensively, starting the game up 3-0 in the first quarter with goals from senior attacker Marymargaret Quinn, junior midfielder Grace Muldoon and sophomore attacker Alexis Morton. 

UMass did get on the board with 5:47 to go in the quarter, but the Spiders rattled off three more unanswered goals to surge ahead 6-1. Muldoon and Marymargaret Quinn each added another goal to their tallies, and junior attacker Colleen Quinn scored her first of the contest. 

Before the first quarter finished, the Minutewomen were able to get one more score past Francioli, but UR was in full control, leading 6-2 heading into the final 15 minutes of the first half. 

Unfortunately for the Spiders, UMass’ score in the final 24 seconds of the first quarter gave the Minutewomen a spark offensively that carried throughout virtually the rest of the game. Just when UR seemed to be in the driver’s seat from a scoring standpoint, UMass turned its offense up a notch. 

In the second quarter, the Minutewomen outscored the Spiders 4-1, scoring three unanswered goals to close out the first half having cut the deficit to just one goal. Colleen Quinn kept the Spiders afloat, scoring her second goal of the game in the quarter, but UMass had put its stamp on the scoreboard. 

The third quarter saw a similar fate for the Spiders, as UMass outscored UR 4-2 to start the first 15 minutes of the second half. Heading into the final quarter, the Minutewomen had eked out the slight nod on the scoreboard, leading 10-9. 

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The fourth quarter saw back-and-forth strikes from the Spiders and Minutewomen, making for a tightly contested contest down the stretch. After getting the first strike with 12:44 to go in the game, UMass held a two-goal lead. But, Kenny and Muldoon each scored a goal to tie things up, 11-11.

From there, the two teams traded knocks, with the Spiders eventually taking the lead, 13-12. After UMass tied things up, 13-13, the Spiders retook the lead with 3:15 to go in the game. Morton’s goal, coupled with Francioli’s big save, put a cap on UR’s championship efforts, stopping the top-seeded UMass in its tracks. 

On the day, Muldoon led the way with 4 goals and 2 assists. Morton and Colleen Quinn were right behind her, each completing a hat trick. 

“We are a very diverse and versatile offense,” Harrington said. “We can score a lot of different ways.” 

On the defensive side, Francioli tallied 8 saves throughout the contest, none bigger than the one that occurred with under a minute to play en route to the Spiders’ win. Junior midfielder Caroline Murphy also had a strong outing with 3 caused turnovers and 3 ground balls during the game. 

Francioli, Muldoon, Colleen Quinn and sophomore attacker Charlotte Edwards all made the All-Championship Team. Muldoon was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player

UR will take on the University of Pennsylvania in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at 7 p.m. on May 10. 

“We are definitely excited, have that attitude of ‘we’re not done yet,’” Harrington said. “Certainly very, very grateful to be here in this position winning the championship here for the A-10, but we want to compete in the tournament and we’ll be looking for another win next weekend.”

Contact sports editor Jimmy James at

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