RICHMOND, Va. – After this evening's field hockey match-up between VCU and Richmond, it's only fitting that the National Football League opens their season this weekend.
The annual showdown was as physical as ever with over 100 fouls called, three cards and several warnings dished out. For the fifth straight year, the contest was decided by one goal, this time it was the Spiders who would come out on top, 2-1.
"I actually thought we put together our best 70 minutes of hockey this year, but just weren't able to get the goals we needed," Head Coach Kelly McQuade said. "We really need to work on our sense of urgency in late game situations and some other little things that we'll tweak heading into Sunday's game against Davidson."
The game was back-and-forth with not many goal opportunities early. Confusion would lead to the first goal of the game when Richmond's Katelin Peterson flicked in a shot from outside the circle and into the back of the cage. However, it was decided that Peterson's teammate Jessica Hollis got a stick on it to deflect it, resulting in a 1-0 Spiders lead.
Less than a minute later, VCU would respond, fighting for a loose ball and freshman Kendall Combs would feed sophomore Emilie Soares down the left sideline. Soares would go to work, willing a diving shot into the far right corner of the cage to even the score at 1-1 in the 27th minute.
As the match got more physical, each team would get some chances, but neither were able to convert as the raucous crowd got louder and louder.
"I thought the crowd was great today, it really helps us as terms of energy when we have the type of crowd we did today," McQuade said. "It really says a lot about the family atmosphere we have at VCU when there were many of the other Rams squads here rooting us on."
Peterson, a two-time All-Atlantic 10 honoree, would make the difference as she flicked in a shot from Blair Kline in the 55th minute to give the Spiders a 2-1 cushion.
The Rams would make late pushes, but could not find the cage as they fell for the third straight contest.
VCU is back in action at Cary Street Field on Sunday afternoon, when the Wildcats of Davidson University come to Richmond for a 2:30 p.m. contest.