The Collegian
Saturday, May 30, 2020

Richmond men's lacrosse defeats defending national champions UNC

<p>Richmond defeated UNC 6-5 Monday night in heavy rain. Photo courtesy of Richmond Athletics.</p>

Richmond defeated UNC 6-5 Monday night in heavy rain. Photo courtesy of Richmond Athletics.

For the second year in a row the Spiders men's lacrosse team has taken down a top-10 ranked program, this time beating the defending national champions University of North Carolina Monday night.

Rain poured down on Navy Field in Chapel Hill as both sides took the field, and it did not let up as the two teams engaged in a defensive battle that saw Richmond emerge with a 6-5 victory.

Though Richmond notched the first two goals of the game, UNC quickly responded. The Tar Heels peppered Richmond goalie Benny Pugh with shots, finishing the first quarter with a 12-2 advantage in that category.

UNC scored the next four goals, controlling the play until Richmond senior Austin Cunningham brought the team to within one just minutes before the end of the first half.

The third quarter was a defensive stalemate with Richmond relying heavily on their trio of talented defenders. The group of senior line mates, including Ryan Dennis, Ryan Berning and Brendan Hynes, ended the game with six turnovers and eight ground balls, holding the Tar Heels to one goal in the third frame.

Trailing 5-3 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Spiders began to go on the attack. 

Richmond regained the lead for the first time since the first quarter with three quick goals before letting its defense retain their edge, squeezing the life out of the struggling UNC team, which only managed five shots in the last 15 minutes of play.

Goaltender Benny Pugh was the standout of the game, making 11 saves. Already considered one of the best in the nation, he continues to shine against strong competition.

With yesterday's win, Richmond improves to a 6-1 record, which matches the best start to a season in program history. Up next for the Richmond team is a conference game at Jacksonville on Saturday.

Contact sports editor Mike Cronin at michael.cronin@richmond.edu 

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