RICHMOND, Va. – Opportunities don't coming knocking every day and that's why it's important to capitalize on them.
The VCU Field Hockey team learned that lesson the hard way on a blustery Thursday night in a tough 2-1 loss at the hands of Longwood University.
"Tonight's really disappointing because I really feel we gave this one away," Head Coach Kelly McQuade said. "We had a lot of chances tonight and we just weren't able to finish, but that's something we'll continue to learn from and try to improve in preparation for Sunday."
After showing some flashes of solid play over the past week, the Rams came out firing from the start and had a several shots on net within the first two minutes thanks to aggressive play by junior forward Kelsey Scherrer.
However, it was Longwood who struck first. Rachel Akers and Sarah Bietsch set up a corner for Stacey de Grandhomme, who blasted a shot into the bottom left corner of the cage to give the Lancers a 1-0 less than six minutes into the contest.
VCU continued to dominate the pace of play and their aggressiveness finally paid off in the 27th minute when Scherrer dribbled into the left side of the circle and flicked a pass across the middle for classmate Arialle Hess, who evened the score at 1-1.
Heavy wind and rain would slow the pace of play at the end of the first half and into the second half, but the Rams would find their stride again.
Junior Meg Neylon gave the Black & Gold strong play in the middle and created several chances by forcing turnovers, including in the 36th minute when she picked up a steal and delivered a beautiful feed to classmate Haley McBee, but her shot went just wide.
After the Rams were unable to capitalize on several scoring chances in the second half, Grandhomme struck again in the 66th minute, when she gathered a loose ball on the right side of the circle and fired a shot into the back of the cage to deliver the game-winning goal.
The schedule doesn't get any easier for VCU as they head to James Madison on Sunday afternoon for a neutral site match against sixth-ranked Penn State. Game time is set for 1 p.m.