University of Richmond's men’s lacrosse team defeated conference rival High Point University 7-3 at home on a rainy Easter Sunday to improve to 7-2 for the season and 3-0 in Southern Conference play.
Both teams were led by outstanding play from their goaltenders in a defensive skirmish. Henry Buonagurio, a redshirt junior who made his first career start in goal for the injured Benny Pugh, was impressive in his debut for the Spiders, saving 11 shots. High Point freshman Tim Troutner Jr. also made an impressive 12 saves.
Jean-Luc Chetner scored the game's first goal for Richmond, one of his four points in the contest, when he knocked down a pass from the opposing goalie during a clear attempt and shot into an empty net with 11:04 left in the first quarter.
The Spiders pushed the lead to 2-0 less than a minute later after Austin Brown cannoned a side-arm shot into the bottom-right corner of the net with 10:01 left in the first quarter.
Richmond and High Point then traded two goals each to make the score 4-2 at halftime in favor of the Spiders.
Both defenses and their goalies dominated the third quarter, and no goals were scored. Buonagurio collected two standout saves in the quarter, thwarting High Point’s low-angle close-range shots.
“The defense forced a lot of low-angle shots that made my life easy, made me able to make some high-percentage saves,” Buonagurio said.
The Richmond defense held High Point scoreless from 8:46 left in the second quarter to 8:15 left in the fourth quarter.
Richmond’s defense was swarming constantly, checking the High Point hands, pestering its opponent's ball carriers and not allowing them a moment to relax with possession. Austin Cates led the defense with three caused turnovers and was efficient in clearing the ball to Richmond’s offensive zone.
Richmond quickly scored three goals in the fourth quarter to put a stranglehold on the game. Senior Alex Hatem scored two of the fourth-quarter goals, including a left-handed dart into the top-left, stick-side, high-corner of the goal that widened Richmond’s lead to 7-2 with 8:42 left to play.
High Point's Michael Leclair quickly answered Hatem’s unassisted effort with a low-angle shot that found the back of the net less than 30 seconds later to bring it back to 7-3, but High Point could not gather any momentum from the quick strike and were held scoreless for the remainder of the game.
The fourth quarter was most notable for its six combined penalties, five committed by High Point and one by Richmond, highlighting the intensity of the rivalry that the two programs share. High Point's coach even got a bench foul after repeated audible obscenities.
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Each program has one conference tournament championship and an NCAA tournament to its name, which they earned by defeating each other in the conference title game, Richmond over High Point in 2014 and vice versa in 2015.
Richmond’s next game is at 1 p.m. on April 2 in Robins Stadium against perennial lacrosse-powerhouse University of Virginia. This will be Virginia’s first visit to Robins Stadium since it defeated the Spiders in Richmond’s first game in program history, 13-12.
Contact sports writer Elliot Dennis at firstname.lastname@example.org
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