Saturday, 4,200 fans watched the inaugural game for University of Richmond’s men’s lacrosse team at Robins Stadium. The fans also nearly watched a huge upset, but the No. 8 University of Virginia Cavaliers came back in the second half and pulled out a 13-12 win.
Despite Virginia’s high ranking and impressive history, Richmond head coach Dan Chemotti said he was not surprised by how his team played.
“We don’t know to prepare [the players] to not win,” Chemotti said.
Virginia led 6-3 after the first quarter. Mark Cockerton capped off the Cavaliers’ scoring with a low-to-high snipe. Richmond freshman Dan Ginestro scored two of the Spiders’ three goals on man-up opportunities, including the first-ever goal for the program.
Richmond freshman Mitch Goldberg scored two of his three goals 20 seconds apart early in the second quarter, which got the crowd as loud as it had been at that point.
Richmond, which once trailed 6-2, capitalized on this momentum and took a 9-6 lead. Virginia scored two goals late in the quarter, but the Spiders took a 9-8 lead into the half.
“Our guys kept the game simple [in the second quarter],” Chemotti said. “They didn’t try to make it too complicated. They didn’t try to make individual super-human plays.”
Virginia took 20 shots in the first half, but freshman goalie Conor Shannon stopped nine of them. Virginia had success against Shannon on bounce shots, but Shannon handled the shots that did not change planes.
Despite Shannon’s excellent play, Chemotti switched to freshman Benny Pugh for the second half.
“We have two great goaltenders,” Chemotti said. “I don’t know who the starter is…They’re both even.”
Chemotti planned on splitting time between the two goalies, and expects to continue to do so, he said.
After trailing since the 5:27 mark in the second quarter, the Cavaliers regained the lead midway through the third on a James Pannell goal.
Richmond junior Alex Hatem tied the game at 11 early in the fourth quarter, but Virginia responded with a goal seconds later to regain the lead.
The Cavaliers extended their lead to 13-11 on a man-up opportunity with just under eight minutes to play. Richmond freshman Mike Burns scored 10 seconds later, but Richmond could not find another goal in the final seven minutes.