The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

Virginia lacrosse preps for challenge at Richmond

Cavaliers face Spiders Saturday for third-straight season

Coming off a dominant 19-4 win over the Virginia Military Institute, the Virginia lacrosse team faces another challenge with an in-state foe as it travels to Richmond Saturday afternoon. The Cavaliers (5-5, 0-2 ACC) face the Spiders (7- 2, 3-0 Southern) for the third-straight season in a matchup between the two budding rivals.

“I think we can definitely start to see a bit of a rivalry there,” senior attacker James Pannell said. “We’re going to travel there and battle them.”

Pannell scored his 100th career point Tuesday night in a game that saw a dynamic offense for Virginia, with 16 different Cavaliers earning points. However, the Keydets are a struggling team, with just one win on record all season.

This year’s Richmond lacrosse team boasts a very different record, as the team has gotten off to its best start in program history. With an unbeaten conference record and an impressive out of conference resume to boot, the Spiders have played a couple of Virginia’s past and future opponents.

Richmond beat conference rival High Point, a team who beat the Cavaliers at Klöckner Stadium earlier this season by a convincing score of 7-3 earlier this week. The Spiders also got a win over Virginia’s last opponent, VMI, earlier this season, as they traveled to Lexington to earn an 11-6 victory.

“We know that they are not a team to be taken very lightly,” Pannell said. “We know that Richmond is a very good team, and they’re going to be ready to go.”

One of Richmond’s two losses came at the hands of a future opponent for the Cavaliers, as the Spiders picked up a 15-6 loss, their worst of the season, in Chapel Hill when they traveled to play No. 17 North Carolina.

Richmond’s most impressive win of the season, however, came when they traveled to then-No. 9 ranked Duke. The Spiders beat the Blue Devils 12-10 in Durham early March to earn their only win against an ACC opponent this season. Much of the success comes from the Spiders defense, which is limiting opponents to an average of just 7.56 goals per game. Richmond is led by junior attackman Mitch Goldberg, who has tallied 19 goals and six assists on the season

“I remember sitting there and watching them beat Duke,” coach Dom Starsia said. “I don’t have to work too hard to convince the kids that [Richmond] is good. There is no real reason for us to not be ready to play.”

Until last week’s win against No. 9 Johns Hopkins, the Cavaliers were on the short end of the stick with closely played games, losing three games in the early part of the season by just one point. One of those one-point losses came at the hands of Richmond’s Southern Conference counterpart, High Point. Since then, Virginia is hoping to have picked up a bit of momentum.

“It’s who we are,” Starsia said. “Frankly, we’re not that pretty, but we grind it out. We look good on the ground, and I think we’ve come to accept that. We understand that’s who we have to be.”

Tuesday’s win over VMI hopefully gave the Cavaliers the assurance they needed as a top-level team. If anything, the contest showed that several of the fresh faces on the Virginia team are capable of stepping up and making an impact.

One of those players was freshman midfielder Ryan Lamb, who earned a total of four points on the night with two goals and two assists. The win over the Keydets pushed the Cavaliers to a .500 record and a chance to earn a winning record this Saturday.

“We know the talent we have in the locker room,” Lamb said. “To get to a .500 record gives us more confidence going into the rest of the season.”

However, Virginia is well aware that earning another win over this year’s Richmond team will be no easy task.

“It’s going to be imperative that we come out there with high energy and really take it to them,” Lamb said. “We’ve learned real quick this season that every game is a big game, and we just need to come out for all of them.”

The opening faceoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.