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Rivalry continues

If rivalries are built on competitive balance, then the Longwood-Richmond women’s soccer series has been as competitive a nonconference series as they come.

In Sunday afternoon’s rivalry renewal between the Central Virginia neighbors, Richmond (1-2-0) tipped the balance of the 16-year-old series in its favor by riding a second-half goal from Jessie Prillaman to a 1-0 win over the Lancers at President’s Field.

The win improved the Spiders’ record in the series to 6-4-3 and avenged a 4-0 Longwood win in the last official meeting, which took place on Aug. 19, 2018. The Spiders and Lancers (0-4-0) have now split the past four meetings, with Longwood taking the 2015 and 2018 contests and Richmond coming out on top in 2016 and Sunday.

“That game may be our most complete effort of the season so far,” Longwood head coach Todd Dyer said. “The disappointment in the result is far outweighed by the pride felt in how much we poured into the game physically, mentally and emotionally. We had a few really good chances to go up in the first half but just didn’t quite capitalize.”

In yet another defensive struggle between the teams, Prillaman’s goal snapped a scoreless deadlock in the 58th minute and gave the Spiders all the cushion they needed to outlast the Lancers on their home field. The game-winner was Prillaman’s team-leading second goal of the season and came off a throw-in deep in Longwood territory from Molly Morgan, which Prillaman corralled, spun to her left around her Lancer defender and finished off with a right-footed line drive into the upper left corner of the Longwood net.

Prillaman’s breakthrough goal came as part of a 16-shot onslaught from Richmond and marked the ninth time in the 13-game series the result was decided by one goal or a draw. Longwood goalkeeper Jordan Horacek, in her first career start and first full 90-minute effort, did her best to make Sunday’s game the latter with a career-high four saves, but Prillaman’s well-struck shot was just out of her reach.

“The goal that beat us in the end was pretty special, so credit to Richmond in that moment,” Dyer added. “We continue to grow, and I’m confident the results will come in due time.”

Longwood generated four shots on goal, but Richmond goalkeeper Claire Hinkle stopped every one en route to her third career shutout, including a pair of first-half attempts from the sophomore tandem of Kaley Unger and Alex Dinger. She also disrupted another breakaway attempt from Mikayla Schuetz late in the first half that was just off target.

Sunday’s game is the start of a six-game road swing for the Lancers who will next head to Southwestern Athletic Conference power Howard this Thursday, Sept. 2, in Washington, D.C. Trips to Western Carolina (Sept. 5), UMBC (Sept. 9), Liberty (Sept. 12) and Winthrop follow before Longwood finally returns home to host Radford on Sept. 22.