ALBANY, N.Y. – The University of Richmond men's lacrosse team competed in the NCAA tournament for just the second time in program history on Saturday night, this time stacking up against the No. 2 overall seed in the Albany Great Danes and battled to the bitter end before bowing out, 18-9, after putting a scare into one of the favorites in this tournament.
The Spiders had four players tally two goals, including redshirt senior Mitch Goldberg, who goes out with two goals and an assist. The last remaining founding father of the program graduates as the lone Spider to appear in both NCAA tournament games in program history while also becoming the all-time leader in goals scored (98) and finishing second all-time in points (134).
Teddy Hatfield scored twice to match his own single-season points record (59) and break his own single-season goals record (34). Freshman Ryan Lanchbury and Mitch Savoca closed out their stellar debut campaigns with two goals apiece, as well. Tyler Shoults was the only other Spider to find the back of the net in this one.
Albany got the scoring started when Connor Fields took a feed from Tehoka Nanticoke at the 13:18 mark, which set the tone for the early stages of this game. The Great Danes controlled faceoffs and kept the Spider offense out of the equation in the early going as they built a 4-0 lead by the 5:49 mark in the first. Savoca finally put the Spiders on the board with the first NCAA tournament goal of his young career, his 25th of the season to take the lid off the goal. Shoults followed with his 10th of the season to cut the lead in half with 33 seconds to play in the first.
Albany added one more with time about to expire in the frame to take a 5-2 lead.
The same goal-scorer that closed the first quarter opened up the second with another tally to give Albany another four-goal advantage as the back-and-forth ensued. Goldberg registered his first score of the game; Albany answered. Lanchbury got his first of two in the quarter at the 2:44 mark; Albany answered. Ryan Lee found Lanchbury on the break for his second tally of the game at the 1:33 mark; Albany answered, to send this one to halftime with the Spiders trailing, 9-5.
Coming out of the break, the Spiders needed to find some more consistency on the offensive end while keeping the Great Danes at bay on the other. Spider goalkeeper Blake Goodman did the best he could between the pipes in the first half. He made seven saves, three of which came back-to-back-to-back at point-blank range midway through the second quarter while the Spiders tried to keep pace.
The Spiders were first on the board in the third quarter when Savoca canned his second tally of the game, but the Great Danes responded with a pair of scores by the 11-minute mark to take their largest lead of the game to that point, 11-6.
However, after being bottled up the entire first half, Hatfield finally managed to shake his mark and make Albany pay for it with his first score, cutting the deficit to four once again. The Spiders then forced a turnover on the next Albany possession and this time Goldberg made good with a crafty score from the alley to get this one back to a three-goal game. UAlbany then did what it had done all game to that point; it answered, with two goals, to take a 13-8 lead into the fourth quarter.
Goodman did his best to keep the Spiders alive in the fourth but in the end the Great Danes just had too much firepower to combat down the stretch. By the 8:37 mark, UAlbany had built a 16-8 lead and wouldn't give an inch to the Spiders who never stopped fighting. Hatfield added one more score before the game came to a close but that would not be enough to spark a comeback for the Spiders, who ultimately fell, 18-9.