COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO -- Five different Spiders scored goals as the inaugural men's lacrosse season came to an end in the NCAA Tournament with a 13-5 loss at Air Force Wednesday night. Richmond finishes at 6-11 with an NCAA Tournament appearance to show for their efforts. Air Force improves to 11-5 and advances to face top-seeded Duke Sunday. Despite the overall record, Richmond ended the season with five wins in its last nine games and six wins in the last 12.
“We have to give a lot of credit to Air Force,” said Richmond head coach Dan Chemotti after the loss. “They made it really difficult to play the kind of game we wanted to play today. They’ve got some bigger, faster, stronger players who played inspired and with great intensity for a full 60 minutes.”
“We were not disappointed with our guys’ effort today, but we didn’t play our best brand of lacrosse. It was good for our guys to see the level we aspire to reach. Looking back, our players made our staff proud all season and one of our main goals was to set a foundation for the future and we think we have set a decent one here in year one.”
The defensive game plans for the two teams were in full force in the opening quarter, as it took Air Force nearly eight minutes to score first. The Spiders answered at the 3:29 mark when junior Chris Gifford (New Hope, Pennsylvania) tied the game with a goal, assisted by Dan Ginestro (Syracuse, New York) for a 1-1 score.
The Spiders then were held scoreless over the next 39:37 while the Falcons reeled off 10 straight goals to put the game away. It was the longest streak without scoring a goal in a game for the Spiders this season.
Richmond finally got back on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter, when sophomore Brad Burnam (Nedrow, New York) scored an unassisted goal with 8:52 remaining in regulation. He scored while being shove to the ground by a defender, triggering a one-minute penalty.
With no ensuing faceoff, the Spiders scored a man-up goal 25 seconds later when junior Nate Volpert (Radnor, Pennsylvania) scored on an assist from freshman Mitch Goldberg (Damascus, Maryland) to make it 11-3 Falcons.
Goldberg put in an unassisted goal at the 2:10 mark and then assisted on the game’s final goal by freshman J.P. Forester (Bloomfield Hills, Michigan) in the game’s final minute.
The Spiders won 10 of the 21 faceoffs. Faceoff specialist Peter Moran (Reston, Virginia / South Lakes HS) collected a game-high seven ground balls.
Spider freshman goalie Benny Pugh (Powhatan, Virginia / Woodberry Forest School) made nine saves in the loss, with his final record sitting at 6-9.
NOTES: While Gifford is the answer to the trivia question about the team’s first-ever postseason goal, Ginestro claims most of the team firsts… Ginestro had the team’s first goal (2/8), first man-up goal (2/8), first man-down goal (3/21) and the squad’s first postseason assist.