DURHAM, N.C. – The University of Richmond men’s lacrosse team needed just one more minute or one more possession to pull off the upset as the 18th-ranked Spiders saw their frantic rally fall short against fifth-ranked and second-seeded Duke 12-11 at Koskinen Stadium on Sunday evening in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Richmond scored the final four goals of the game and kept the Blue Devils off the scoreboard in the fourth quarter but ran out of time searching for the game-tying goal.
This year marked the third time in the Spiders’ six-year program existence that Richmond has appeared in the NCAA tournament and the second straight season. The Spiders’ one-goal defeat improved on their tournament showing last year when they fell to second-seeded Albany on the road by a 18-9 margin.
Redshirt sophomore Tate Gallagher led the Spiders in the loss with a career-high four goals, while junior Tyler Shoults posted a career-high five assists. The five helpers are tied for the Richmond single-game record, matching the feat accomplished three other times, the last coming by Teddy Hatfield earlier this year against UMBC.
Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Jack Rusbuldt continued his strong showing to close out the year. Rusbuldt, the 2019 Southern Conference Championship Most Outstanding Player, recorded 12 saves against the Blue Devils. It marked his third straight game with 12 or more saves to close out the year.
Hatfield finished the game with two assists, recording the helpers on the Spiders’ final two goals of the game as Richmond made its final push for the upset. Hatfield finishes his historic Richmond career as an all-time great, leading the program and SoCon in career points (225), goals (123) and assists (102) while also playing and starting in a program-record 66 games in his career.
Duke (12-4) ran off a string of five straight goals over the last 8:36 of the third quarter, taking a 12-7 lead into the fourth. Richmond showed its mettle, though, as the Spiders never backed down and started to chip away at the deficit in the final quarter. Sophomore Mitch Savoca scored his second of the game just 1:07 into the fourth quarter to make it a 12-8 game before Shoults added his first goal of the game and sixth point at the 12:14 mark.
Gallagher recorded his fourth goal with 56 seconds remaining, taking a Hatfield feed to pull within two. Senior Nick D’Amaro won the ensuing faceoff and the Spiders were able to find the back of the net again. Hatfield found classmate Ryan Lee in close with 26.5 seconds remaining to make it a 12-11 contest. Duke was able to win the final faceoff the game and ran out the closing seconds as Richmond looked to force a desperation turnover.
The Spiders started off strong against the Blue Devils, scoring the first two goals of the game and limiting Duke to just one goal in the opening 15 minutes. Sophomore attack Ryan Lanchbury kept his record-setting season going, scoring the first two goals of the game and raising his program-record season total to 52 goals. Shoults would add the assists on those two goals to force an early timeout by Duke.
Gallagher answered two Duke goals with his first of the game for a 3-2 lead at the 13:36 mark off an assist from Shoults. The teams again traded goals with Savoca giving the Spiders a 4-3 lead at the 10:53 mark.
Duke settled in and ran off four straight goals in a span of 1:29, taking a 7-4 lead with 3:25 left in the first half. The Blue Devils controlled the play by winning in the faceoff circle as the Spiders could not gain possession. CJ Carpenter and Joey Manown each added a pair of goals in the spurt.
Gallagher gave Richmond some momentum heading into the halftime break, scoring his second of the game in the final 10 seconds. Shoults picked up his fourth assist of the half, setting a new career high and surpassing his previous mark (three) which he accomplished twice (at Maryland 2019, vs. Mercer 2017).
The Spiders finished the 2019 season with a 10-7 record on the year. Richmond has posted five straight seasons of 10 or more wins with its only season in single digits coming in the inaugural season of 2014. Head coach Dan Chemotti has been at the helm of the program from the start, amassing a 61-38 record in his career, including a 55-29 mark over the past five years.