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Men’s lacrosse doubles up Richmond, 14-7

Tucker, Coholan, Van Arsdale notch hat-tricks, Cavaliers dominate faceoff battle

<p>Senior attackman Owen Van Arsdale scored five goals in the victory. He also picked up four ground balls.</p>

Senior attackman Owen Van Arsdale scored five goals in the victory. He also picked up four ground balls.

Although Saturday afternoon at Klöckner Stadium was not senior day for the Virginia men’s lacrosse team, it sure felt like it.

In a dominating performance, the Cavalier captains netted all 14 of Virginia’s goals as the Cavaliers — for the second consecutive contest — controlled every aspect of the game against an in-state opponent.

Richmond (6-4, 2-0 SoCon) struggled to get anything going offensively and had no answer for No. 8 Virginia’s (8-2, 0-2 ACC) vaunted offense.

Senior attackman Owen Van Arsdale led all players with five goals. Senior midfielder Ryan Tucker and junior attackman Greg Coholan combined for seven for Virginia while sophomore attackman Ryan Lukacovic coordinated the offense, dishing out four assists.

“I thought this was our first complete game,” Van Arsdale said. “It shows that this team is really moving in the right direction.”

Senior midfielder Ryan Tucker struck first, beating his man from the top of the box and ripping a running shot past Richmond sophomore goalie Benny Pugh just under two minutes into the game.

Following a Richmond goal about three minutes later, Virginia began to prove its dominance, exploding to finish the half on an 8-1 run.

Tucker netted his second and third of the game, giving Virginia a 3-1 advantage with 5:37 remaining in the first quarter, while junior midfielder Greg Coholan went on to add his first goal of the afternoon to give Virginia a three-goal first quarter lead.

Richmond scored the first goal of the second quarter — its first tally in over 15 minutes — to cut the lead to two just over six minutes into the period on a man-up opportunity following a slashing penalty on sophomore long stick midfielder Michael Howard.

Tucker again was there to immediately respond with his fourth goal of the day. The Towson, Maryland native, who started the game a perfect 4-4 shooting in netting four of Virginia’s first five goals, credited increased repetitions in practice as the reason for his hot shooting start to the season.

“I’m just putting in a lot of extra work in practice,” Tucker said. “[Associate] head coach [Marc] Van Arsdale is just an unbelievable mentor shooting the ball. We shoot early every day and I’m just lucky enough to be in the right spot at the right time and can a couple shots.”

Senior midfielder Tyler German continued the onslaught by netting his first of two goals on the day 16 seconds after Tucker’s fourth to extend the Cavalier lead to 6-2. Coholan netted his second of the game just over two minutes later after beating his man from behind the net.

Van Arsdale netted the final two goals of the half, the first a behind-the-back shot on the crease and the second an underhanded roller with one second remaining in the half. Both were assisted by sophomore attackman Ryan Lukacovic.

Virginia entered halftime with a 9-2 lead. The Cavaliers fired off 15 shots, including 12 on goal, to Richmond’s 10 shots. Coach Dom Starsia felt it was important to jump ahead early and end any hope of an upset, which the Spiders nearly pulled off against Virginia a year ago.

“You don’t want Richmond to get a lot of confidence,” Starsia said. “You wanted us to be able to get into a rhythm quickly, so I think it was important in how the game played out that we did get off to a good start.”

The Cavaliers extended their lead to eight just 50 seconds into the third quarter after German beat his man to put a shot in the low corner of the net.

Richmond scored with 11:17 to go in the third quarter to cut Virginia’s lead to 10-3, but Coholan responded less than two minutes later, sneaking a shot between Pugh’s legs, giving him a hat trick. Van Arsdale completed his own hat trick on the next Virginia possession, putting Virginia ahead by nine goals.

Following a Richmond strike with 58 seconds left in the quarter, Van Arsdale ended the period with a goal for Virginia, this time coming on a low-angle high rip with nine seconds remaining to give the Cavaliers a 13-4 lead through three quarters.

Richmond scored the first goal of the fourth quarter — this time just 24 seconds in — but Virginia’s defense again tightened up.

Van Arsdale later scored his third consecutive goal for Virginia and his fifth of the day with 9:15 to play off a feed from Lukacovic.

With freshman goalie Will Railey in the cage, Richmond added two more goals to cut the Virginia lead to 14-7 with 1:19 to play, but the Spiders would get no closer.

Sophomore goalie Matt Barrett, who played the first 54:18, needed just nine saves in goal, largely due to Virginia’s ability to control possession, which started with the faceoffs. The Cavaliers won the faceoff battle 18-6, while also scooping up 14 more ground balls, 37-23, than the Spiders.

“I think it made a difference,” Starsia said. “Hopefully it’s something we can build on because we’ve got some young guys that needed a little bit of confidence. Hopefully they got some today.”

Virginia will next host ACC rival North Carolina Friday. Opening faceoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.