UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va. – In the fall of 2013, 14 student-athletes strolled onto the campus at the University of Richmond to lay the foundation for the Spiders men's lacrosse program.
After piling up 40 wins (34 in the past three years), four conference championship game appearances, an Atlantic Sun title and an NCAA Tournament berth, those 14 student-athletes saw their careers come to a close on Saturday as an incredible comeback attempt came up just short in the SoCon Championship, falling 9-6 to Air Force.
“One game doesn't define a career. The legacy these guys leave behind is impossible to put into words,” Head Coach Dan Chemotti said. “We'll never be able to properly thank these seniors for what they have done for this university, this athletic department, this lacrosse program, this community and the entire Richmond lacrosse community.”
Junior Layne Collins posted his second straight hat trick to pace the offensive attack for the Spiders, while sophomore Teddy Hatfield scored a goal and an assist on the afternoon. Hatfield finishes the year with single-season records in points (59), goals (33) and assists (26).
Defensively, senior Brendan Hynes posted his fourth game of the year with five or more caused turnovers (6) and finishes second all-time in NCAA history with 153 during his career. Classmate Benny Pugh tallied double-digit saves for the 12th time, finishing with 10 saves on the day and concludes his final season as the nation's leader in goals against average and save percentage.
“Give Air Force credit for making the plays,” Chemotti said. “Our guys fought their hearts out, laid it all out on the line and that's all we could ask for. Unfortunately, we just came up a little short today.”
Air Force jump out of the gates with two goals in the first two minutes of the contest to take a 2-0 lead.
Richmond would respond when Hatfield found J.P. Forester, who fired home a man-up goal to make it 2-1. With less than a minute left in the first quarter, the Spiders caused a turnover, Austin Cates picked up the ground ball, cut through the Air Force midfield and found Collins in front of the net for a transition goal and tied the score up at 2-2.
The Falcons regained the lead in the second with two goals to take a 4-2 advantage into the break.
Air Force continued its momentum in the third quarter, scoring four goals in the first five minutes of the second half to push its lead to 8-2.
That's when the Spiders started their comeback.
Collins made a cut from behind the net and flipped home a goal with 5:21 to play in the third. Less than two minutes later, Adrian Nash slipped through the Air Force defense and found Hatfield, who made it 8-4.
With less than a minute to play in the third, Collins again got loose and found the back of the net to make it 8-5 with just one quarter left.
Less than a minute into the fourth quarter, freshman Tyler Shoults slipped in front of the net and rifled a shot home to make it a two-goal game at 8-6.
However, the Falcons defense clamped down, halting the Richmond rally for the rest of the contest to secure the SoCon title with the 9-6 victory.
Senior Peter Moran, along with Collins and Hatfield, were named to the SoCon All-Tournament team.