No. 16 Richmond favorite to defend A-10 title

By Matt Levine

Cade Belisle/Collegian

The 16th-ranked Richmond field hockey team has claimed the No. 1 seed in the Atlantic 10 tournament, which begins Friday at Garber Field, for the second straight season.

Last year, Richmond rolled through the A-10 tournament, pitching shutouts in both games against La Salle and Temple, respectively.

This year’s bracket consists of No. 19 Massachusetts as the second seed, while Temple  and Virginia Commonwealth  earned the third and fourth seeds, respectively.

In the last five seasons, the A-10 crown has been won by either the Minutewomen or the Spiders. UMass has won three of the last five tournaments, while Richmond won the other two.

Richmond  (15-4, 7-0 A-10) will take on VCU in its first round matchup Friday at 11 a.m. The Spiders are 4-1 against the Rams (13-5, 4-3 A-10) in the last five seasons, including a 3-1 victory on Oct. 12.

The Minutewomen (12-8, 6-1 A-10) and Temple (12-8, 5-2 A-10) will collide in a rematch of last year’s opening round  when the Owls defeated the UMass 4-0 at 2 p.m. The championship game will also take place at 2 p.m. Saturday at Garber Field.

The two teams last met on Oct. 26 when the Minutewomen downed Temple by a score of 4-1.

When the two teams met in the regular season last season, UMass defeated the Owls 2-1 in overtime on Temple’s senior day. The Minutewomen are 5-2 against Temple in the past five seasons.

The top eight points leaders in the A-10 are all members of the four teams in this year’s tournament.

The list is highlighted by Richmond’s Rebecca Barry, who was showcased on

ESPN’s “SportsCenter” “Top 10” list on Oct. 24 for a goal she scored earlier this season. The sophomore midfielder from Limerick, Ireland, was named First-Team All-Conference in her freshman year, as well as A-10 Rookie of the Year. Barry also led the conference in game-winning goals.

VCU redshirt junior goalkeeper Megan Botteri ranks third in the A-10 with 34 saves, third with two shutouts and second in goals against average with 1.59 . Botteri also boasts a .779 save percentage ranking her first in the A-10.

Behind Barry in goals is UMass senior forward Nicole Cordero with 12. In fact, the Minutewomen ranked second in the A-10 in goals scored with 57. Temple finished first with 60, Richmond ranked third with 56, and VCU was fourth with 43.

The Owls rank fifth in goals against average with a 2.72 average, while UMass ranks third behind the first-place Spiders with a 1.69 average.

Top-seeded Richmond have given up fewer goals than UMass in A-10 play, allowing five goals to the Minutewomen’s six.

Unlike most games at Garber Field, tickets will cost money, including for students.

For a single-day pass, tickets will cost $6 for adults and $4 for A-10 students with identification, children under 18 and senior citizens. It’s $3 for groups of 10 or more who order in advance.

For the two-day pass, tickets will cost $10  for adults and $7 for A-10 students with IDs, children under 18 and senior citizens.

Matt Levine can be reached at [email protected]