VIRGINIA CAVALIERS (1-0) at RICHMOND SPIDERS
This is the first ever meeting between the soon-to-be in-state rivals.
Cavaliers: Dom Starsia’s squad enters Saturday’s contest two days after an epic tilt with Loyola. Despite holding a 12-4 lead entering the fourth quarter, the Greyhounds pulled off a ferocious comeback, scoring nine straight goals, including the go-ahead tally with 18 seconds remaining. But Virginia’s Ryan Tucker scored with a tenth of a second remaining to force overtime. After winning the face off, it would be James Pannell’s fourth goal of the game 2:16 into the extra session that gave Virginia the win at Klöckner Stadium.
Pannell led all scorers with four goals and five points, while Mark Cockerton added three of his own. Ryan Tucker, Rob Emery, and Tyler German each had a pair of goals. Mick Parks was 15-27 at the face-off circle, but he was clutch in the end winning the ensuing draw after Loyola went ahead 13-12 only a few seconds remaining, as well as the opening draw in overtime to give his team possession for the eventual game-winner. Freshman goaltender Matt Barrett made his collegiate debut, making eight saves, including three in the fourth quarter despite the Greyhounds barrage.
Having two days of rest, especially off a draining finish, could have an effect on the Wahoos. Given the high emotions of Thursday’s contest, the Cavs could be caught off-guard if the physical/mental exhaustion lingers.
Spiders: It is anchors away for Dom Chemotti and his first year program. Saturday will mark its inaugural game at Robins Stadium against a national power and potential rival in the Virginia Cavaliers. The team features 36 players: 22 of them are freshman while the others are transfers and holdovers from the school’s club team. Richmond will be a part of the brand new Atlantic Sun conference along with VMI, High Point, Furman, Jacksonville and Mercer. The Southern Conference will take over operational control of the league next year. The head coach admitted there will be struggles, but believes his squad has what it takes to play competitive lacrosse.
“We are definitely going to have some growing pains,” Chemotti told the TimesDispatch website. “But what’s going to make that easier is I feel really confident about the guys we have on our team, their character, their work ethic, how serious they are about putting this program on the map.”
Difference Makers: Cockerton is one of the best pure goal-scorers in the nation. He led the nation in goals per game (3.5) last year. With the emergence of the shifty Pannell, both players could form a dominant combination down low… Longpole midfielder Brendan Hynes will play a big-role between the lines for the Spiders. He can scoop up groundballs and quickly turn them into transition opportunities. Chemotti sees him playing similar to his former player Scott Ratcliff. Attackman Mitchell Goldberg (6’4″, 180 lbs) is a big lefty that can create his own shot and was a standout in the fall and pre-season.