The Collegian
Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Men’s Lacrosse comes up short in A-10 Championship

In a contest where UR was looking for its sixth all-time and third-straight NCAA Tournament berth, the Spiders lost a 17-13 heartbreaker in Amherst, Massachusetts. Courtesy of Richmond Athletics.
In a contest where UR was looking for its sixth all-time and third-straight NCAA Tournament berth, the Spiders lost a 17-13 heartbreaker in Amherst, Massachusetts. Courtesy of Richmond Athletics.

It was slated to be a bloodbath of a matchup from the first face-off. 

The University of Richmond men’s lacrosse team had just faced off against Saint Joseph’s University in the regular season finale a week earlier to decide the Atlantic 10 Conference regular season title.

In that go around on April 27, the Spiders fell short by one goal, meaning they would have to come out with a vengeance against the Hawks on May 4 with an A-10 Championship and trip to the NCAA Tournament on the line.

“This conference is emerging itself as one of the best conferences in the country and knowing that if we want to be on top at the end of the day on Saturday, it’s gonna take everything we got,” graduate attacker Dalton Young said in a press conference on May 1 before the tournament. 

And for most of the game, that feat appeared within reach of the Spiders’ grasp. However, an offensive burst from Saint Joseph’s in the final minutes of the fourth quarter proved otherwise. In a contest where UR was looking for its sixth all-time and third-straight NCAA Tournament berth, the Spiders lost a 17-13 heartbreaker in Amherst, Massachusetts.

SJU tallied the first goal of the game, establishing things as hotly contested from the jump. The defending champion Spiders got on the scoreboard just over a minute later with a score from junior attacker Lukas Olsson to tie things up, 1-1. From there, it was back-and-forth, with the Spiders and Hawks trading goals. 

UR scored three unanswered goals to close out the first quarter, which gave the Spiders a 5-2 advantage after the first 15 minutes of gameplay. Unfortunately for the Spiders, that lead would not last, as the second quarter belonged to SJU. 

The Hawks scored five unanswered goals to give SJU a 7-5 lead with under seven minutes to go in the second quarter. Olsson’s second score of the game saw the Spiders add one more knock to their score, but SJU’s strong second quarter gave the Hawks a one-goal lead heading into halftime. 

While the tides had shifted in the first half, UR was able to find its momentum again in the third quarter. 

With 8:30 to go in the period, the Spiders found themselves down 9-8, but in a span of 1:22, the Spiders scored on three separate occasions. Olsson scored the first goal, which marked his third of the contest. The next goal came after SJU’s goalie fumbled the ball, leading Young to a scoop and score. Then, just eight seconds later, junior faceoff Jared Chenoy secured the ground ball and quickly scored to give the Spiders an 11-9 lead. 

By the end of the third quarter, the Hawks had tied things up, 11-11, leaving the final 15 minutes of the game up for grabs for either program. It would prove to be a down-to-the-wire finish in the second ever championship game for the conference. 

With 8:43 to go in the game, redshirt junior long stick midfielder/defender Braden McClure scored to bring the Spiders’ deficit to one, 13-12, and it appeared UR still had time left to turn the scoreboard in its favor. 

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However, the Hawks rattled off four straight goals during the rest of the fourth quarter, rendering the Spiders’ last score with 47 seconds to go too little, too late. Unfortunately for UR, the program could not punch its ticket to a third-straight NCAA Tournament, losing 17-13. 

Despite the loss, it was still a strong season for the Spiders, finishing second in the conference and picking up some regular season awards within the A-10. 

Young garnered A-10 Offensive Player of the Year honors, senior midfielder Lance Madonna garnered Midfielder of the Year honors and redshirt junior goalie Zach Vigue, who had 10 saves in the game, won Co-Goalie of the Year

Young, Madonna and Vigue, as well as graduate long stick midfielder/defender Jake Kapp and sophomore defender Hunter Smith all made the First Team All-A-10. Redshirt senior defender Jack Fabean made the Second Team All-A-10 and first-year attacker Gavin Creo and first-year midfielder Charlie Packard made the A-10 All-Rookie Team

When all set and done, Madonna, Young, Olsson and sophomore defender Hunter Smith also all made the All-Championship Team

Only time will tell what’s next for the Spiders come the 2025 campaign, but next season will undoubtedly see the program try to win another A-10 Championship and make its sixth appearance in the NCAA Tournament, two feats UR fell short of this go around. 

Contact sports editor Jimmy James at jimmy.james@richmond.edu

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