After leading by five goals in the second half on Saturday, Richmond couldn’t withstand No. 4 Maryland’s comeback and lost in sudden-death double overtime.
Maryland’s bench stormed the field to celebrate its winning shot from junior attackman Anthony DeMaio, and Richmond players soon headed to the locker room for a long post-game meeting.
Junior midfielder Mitch Sacova started hot with two goals that gave Richmond an early lead. First-year attackman Richie Connell joined in early too with three first-half goals and a breakout performance that earned him a starting spot in the second half.
Richmond’s defense gave Maryland fits through the first three quarters, switching between a man-to-man scheme and a zone defense, staying with the latter in the second half and overtime. The zone forced turnovers and a few 80-second shot clock violations, helping Richmond to an 11-7 lead to start the fourth quarter.
“We did a very good job of staying composed for the first three quarters,” Sacova said. “Unfortunately, we began to shy away from the things we practiced and things that we did for the first three quarters.”
In last year’s match-up, Richmond struggled to catch up late with five straight fourth quarter goals, but fell one goal short of forcing overtime. On Saturday, Richmond played with a lead for most of the afternoon, but was outscored 7-2 in the fourth quarter and overtime periods.
Junior Ryan Lanchbury, who set Richmond’s single-season scoring record last season, was neutralized as a scoring threat with only one goal on the day. But the offense often still ran through him, and he ended the game with three assists.
“He didn’t have a ton of goals today, but he contributes so much to the team,” Sacova said. “He’s kind of the guy we all move through, and listen to.”
Head coach Dan Chemotti said the team still has a lot to learn about winning these kinds of gritty games against top teams.
“I thought we really hindered ourselves at times, and at times beat ourselves,” Chemotti said. “That to me was frustrating because of our leadership and our experience that we have. It’s not the first time we’ve been in a competitive game like that before, so to make some of those mistakes that we made was really unfortunate.”
Richmond came into the game unranked and proved throughout the afternoon that it could give other top teams trouble later this season. Richmond has a tough out of conference schedule that includes road games against Duke, Notre Dame and Virginia. All three of those teams are currently ranked in the top ten in the NCAA rankings. But Sacova said this team doesn’t pay attention to rankings.
“We don’t look at it as much by the rankings and whatnot,” he said. “But playing [Maryland] to a close game is really cool for us, and it’s gonna build a lot of confidence for the younger kids and the rising seniors and juniors as well.”
Richmond found some hope at the faceoff X as well against Maryland. Last year the team’s primary faceoff takers were sophomore Andrew Hamilton, who won 37% of his faceoffs, and sophomore Jacob Griffin, who won 25%. Maryland still had the edge for stretches Saturday, but the stocky 5-foot 6-inch Hamilton redeemed himself with a goal directly off of one faceoff in the first quarter and two crucial overtime faceoff wins.
On Feb. 14, Richmond will play Marist, who boast one of the best faceoff specialists in the country, Chemotti said.
Until then, Chemotti said the team would take time to reflect on the loss today.
“I like our leadership,” he said. “I like our depth. I feel bad for these guys that we didn’t get it done today, and we’re going to reflect on that and hopefully get better.”
Contact contributor Conner Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org