UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va. – Teddy Hatfield is a huge Star Wards fan.
It was no surprise that on “May the Fourth”, he used the force and helped power his University of Richmond men's lacrosse team into a fourth straight conference championship game with a 13-6 defeat of Furman on a rainy Thursday night at Robins Stadium.
With the win, the Spiders set a new program record for wins in a season with 12. The 34 victories over the past three years is tied for the seventh-most in the country over that span.
“I'm proud of the way our guys battled tonight,” Head Coach Dan Chemotti said. “Furman's an extremely talented team and our guys really did a nice job sticking to our game plan and executing what we had been working on.”
Hatfield led a powerful offense attack with a single-game record-tying performance of eight points (which he's already done twice this season) with five goals and three assists. With his outing, the Summit, N.J. native set a new single-season record for points in a season (57), a new single-season assists record (25) and tied the single-season goals record (32).
“Honestly, it may sound cliché, but the credit really goes to my teammates,” Hatfield said. “I thought we really did a nice job playing as a team offensively tonight. When I was able to find a hole, my teammates finished and when I found a hole, they delivered the pass, so it really was team offensive performance tonight.”
In addition to Hatfield, junior Layne Collins had a career-night with his first career hat trick and tied a career-high with six points in the victory. Senior J.P. Forester added two goals and an assist for the Spiders.
Defensively, Richmond held it's 23rd straight opponent to single digits, while senior Benny Pugh finished with eight saves on the night. Classmate Brendan Hynes was all over the place, finishing with two caused turnovers and nine groundballs.
Senior Peter Moran was outstanding at the X, winning 16 of the 20 faceoffs in the contest.
“I knew I needed to set the tone and bring the energy for my team tonight,” Moran said. “As seniors, we're focused on one goal and that's to bring home a championship. That's all we're locked in on. That's what we've worked so hard for. We knew in order to do that, we had to play our game tonight and we were able to do that.”
The Paladins got on the board first, scoring in the first 90 seconds, but Richmond would answer right back when Eric Haehl cut throw the Furman defense and fired home the equalizer.
Hatfield found Ginestro to give the Spiders a 2-1 lead, but Furman answered with 47 seconds left in the quarter.
As they've done several times this season, the Spiders finished the quarter in a flourish with two goals in the final 16 seconds to grab a 4-2 lead.
Furman got one back, but Hatfield scored twice and Forester scored with three seconds left in the first half to send Richmond into the break with a 7-3 advantage.
The Spider onslaught continued into the second half with Forester and Hatfield each finding the back of the net in the first five minutes and pushing the lead to 9-3.
Once again, Furman wouldn't go away scoring three of the game's next four goals, but Collins tallied all three of his goals in the final 8:08 of the contest to wrap up the 13-6 semifinal victory.
For the second straight season, Richmond will take on top-seeded Air Force in the SoCon Championship Game on Saturday, May 6. Game time is set for 12 p.m. at Robins Stadium.