In front of 4,241 fans at Robins Stadium in Richmond, Virginia men’s lacrosse was defeated by Richmond for the first time in series history, 17-13. Although the Cavaliers (7-2, 3-0 ACC) got off to a fast start Saturday, taking a 7-3 lead in the first quarter, the Spiders (6-3, 1-0 SoCon) were able to crawl back and take control of the game as they became more comfortable creating offense while shutting down Virginia’s offensive weapons.
The Cavaliers opened the scoring less than one minute into the game as sophomore attackman Connor Shellenberger found junior attackman Payton Cormier for Cormier’s 26th goal of the season. The Cavaliers were able to control the early part of the game in large part to senior faceoff specialist Petey LaSalla who was nine for 10 at the faceoff X before exiting the game with an injury.
Junior midfielder Peter Garno, playing in his first game since the season opener Feb. 5 against Air Force, was able to assert himself in his return as he scored a goal late in the first quarter increasing Virginia’s lead to 7-3.
In the beginning of the second quarter, senior attackman Matt Moore scored his 16th goal of the season. However, he limped off the field later in the game and did not return, which possibly contributed to Virginia’s offensive woes. Without LaSalla or Moore, the Cavaliers struggled to control possessions and generate offense in the second half.
The second quarter was dominated by Richmond as they scored seven unanswered goals from the 10:00 mark of the second quarter into the second half. Star graduate student attackman Ryan Lanchbury and junior attackman Dalton Young spearheaded this offensive explosion. Lanchbury finished the game with four goals and an assist while Young finished with four goals and three assists. Virginia was unable to possess the ball without Lasalla at the faceoff X which allowed Richmond to take a 10-9 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, Lanchbury and senior attackman Ryan Dunn expanded Richmond’s lead to 12-9 before Cormier responded for the Cavaliers to cut Richmond’s lead to two — the smallest deficit Virginia would face the rest of the game. Later in the third quarter, graduate student midfielder Evan Zinn found junior attackman Xander Dickson at the top of the box, who found the top corner of the goal to make the score 14-12. Yet, the Cavaliers turned the ball over 16 times, allowing the Spiders to dominate the second half.
With momentum on the Spiders’ side in the fourth quarter, Virginia was unable to formulate a comeback. Lanchbury, Dunn and Young continued to beat freshman goalie Matthew Nunes, expanding Richmond’s lead to an insurmountable amount. Cormier scored Virginia’s only goal late in the fourth quarter which was not enough to give Richmond pressure. The Spiders did a good job of holding the ball with the lead, not allowing Virginia opportunities to score.
Richmond’s 17-13 victory is undoubtedly one of its biggest wins in program history. Their program started in 2014, and their win Saturday broke Virginia’s 73-game in-state winning streak while cementing the Spiders as a threat in the SoCon.
Virginia takes on No. 9 North Carolina Saturday at Klöckner Stadium, who they beat 15-11 March 10. Faceoff is scheduled at 4 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPNU.