Now at the halfway point of the season, the University of Richmond men’s lacrosse players and coaches are optimistic about their success for the rest of the year. With an overall record of 6-3 and a conference record of 3-0, the Spiders are looking to keep improving and playing their best.
UR won its third conference game on March 23, beating the Bellarmine University Knights 16-9.
“We’ve had our normal ups and downs,” head coach Dan Chemotti said. “I think there’s probably been more positives than negatives this season for sure, and I like where we're at right now.”
Chemotti said the team had some inexperience in certain areas of play, such as face-offs, but that the team's depth had allowed for opportunities to practice in-game scenarios. He said there had been five starters on attack and four different starters on defense this year.
“We’ve played a lot of guys this year,” Chemotti said. “The lineup hasn’t been the same from game to game and that speaks more to the depth that we have as opposed to anything else, and I truly feel that way.”
He said it was tough to practice in-game scenarios, and that the best way for players to get that experience was just to play in real games.
“It's really tough to simulate games during practice and expect guys to get that experience that way,” Chemotti said. “So we had a learning curve, and I think those guys handled it very well and we were able to turn that into some nice wins.”
Chemotti then mentioned the team's wins against Bucknell University, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and, most notably, the University of Notre Dame.
However, Chemotti said the team had been careful not to let the name of their opponent change how they played. Instead, the Spiders were and will continue to be focused on playing their game the very best they can, Chemotti said.
The Notre Dame game, which UR won 9-8, also stuck out to one of the five captains on the team this year, junior Tate Gallagher.
“Every season has its ups and downs,” Gallagher said. “We’ve had a couple tough losses but we’ve also had a couple big wins. The one that sticks out the most in my mind is against Notre Dame. I think there are a lot of great lessons we’ve learned throughout the season so far in the games we’ve played, and we’ve learned some really important things going into conference play.”
Gallagher said bouncing back from a tough loss was something the team had been handling well this year. Although he acknowledged that a loss is tough to deal with, as it would be for any collegiate team, he said the team members had been careful not to let it affect their play.
“Guys are putting their all into every single game, so if you don’t get the results you want, it's definitely tough," Gallagher said. "But I think we’ve done a great job this year managing those losses and really moving past them quickly so we can focus on our next game.”
Senior Teddy Hatfield, another team captain, agreed that the team members had done a good job moving past losses and focusing on improving.
“I think we’ve seen really good strides from all positions on the field,” Hatfield said. “We’re getting better each day. Again, it’s a long season, we understand that. We’re not always going to be perfect, but you know, just working each day to get better and better so the next day is better than the last.”
UR will play five more regular-season games this season, including against the University of Virginia on March 29. The Southern Conference semifinals will take place on May 2, followed by the finals on May 4.
Contact contributor Andy Erickson at email@example.com.