UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va. – No matter the sport, no matter the league, every conference game is a battle.
Look no further than Saturday at Robins Stadium for evidence as the University of Richmond men’s lacrosse team used a big third quarter to grind out a 12-9 victory over the Bears of Mercer University to stay perfect in Southern Conference play.
“Conference games require an extra level of focus and effort and we didn’t come out with that focus that we needed. Mercer made us play and give them credit for coming out and executing their game plan,” Head Coach Dan Chemotti said. “I’m proud of our guys and seniors for gathering ourselves and getting the job done in the second half.”
Senior All-American candidate Brendan Hynes was outstanding for the Spiders with his second multi-goal game of his career, as well as his third game this year with five or more caused turnovers. He also chipped in a team-high seven ground balls on the afternoon.
Freshman Tyler Shoults notched his first career hat trick, while junior Layne Collins added two goals and one assist in his first start for Richmond. Senior J.P. Forester was the fourth Spider with a multi-goal game with two on the afternoon, while sophomore Teddy Hatfield added two assists.
Senior Benny Pugh had double-digits saves yet again for the Spiders with 14 on the day.
“We didn’t come out and play the way we know how to play, we weren’t playing Spider Lacrosse, but we made the adjustments we needed to at half and were able to pull out the win,” Hynes said.
Richmond went to work early when Eric Haehl made a cut and found the back of the cage less than two minutes into the contest to grab the 1-0 lead.
However, Mercer wouldn’t back down, scoring four of the game’s next five goals to take a 4-2 lead with 12 minutes left in the first half.
Shoults wouldn’t let that stand, scoring two goals in less than two minute to even things up at 4-4.
16 seconds after Shoults second goal, Hynes picked up the groundball off the faceoff and fired it home to give Richmond a 5-4 lead.
The Bears would respond again with three of the final four goals of the first half to take a 7-6 advantage into the break.
Less than five minutes into the second half, Forester took a feed from classmate Austin Cunningham and rifled one home to even the score at 7-7. Under a minute later, Adrian Nash made a great cut and fired one home to give Richmond the lead for good at 8-7.
Forester and Nash started a string of five unanswered for the Spiders to take a 11-7 lead into the final 10 minutes of the contest.
Mercer got two back to make it a two-score game, but Collins put the nail in the coffin with his second goal of the day with just over three minutes to play to seal the win.