Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend

Resurgent Spiders fended off in final

UR rallies from big hole, but three-peat shot comes to end

- BY JOHN O’CONNOR

Playing for the Southern Conference men’s lacrosse championsh­ip at home, the University of Richmond trailed High Point 7-1. The Spiders couldn’t win a faceoff, and their execution was a bit off when they had the ball in scoring positions. Richmond trailed 7-3 at halftime.

“We were really slow to start ... I feel like our senior class, it just kind of sunk in that this could be it,” said UR attack Ryan Lanchbury,

one of those seniors. “We did everything we could to chip away and claw back.”

Slowly, the game’s form changed, starting with improved Richmond defense. The Spiders then settled down on offense. They cut High Point’s lead to 7-6 by the end of the third quarter, and the Panthers were up 8-7 with 11:52 remaining after a Lanchbury goal.

The Richmond portion of the crowd (about 1,000) was highly involved and the Spiders seemed like they’d be in excellent shape, if they could just get a lead. That never happened.

Second-seeded High Point cut off Richmond’s resurrecti­on, beating topseeded UR 11-8.

“I think our run in the third quarter there was certainly valiant,” said UR coach Dan Chemotti. “I felt like we just dug ourselves too much of a hole to get out of.”

The Panthers (8-5) captured the SoCon’s title and automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The season ends for Richmond (7-6), which won the last two SoCon championsh­ips.

“It seemed like nothing was clicking today,” said Lanchbury, who scored twice. “That’s part on us. That’s part on High Point for playing a really good game.”

Chemotti spent an hour with his team in a postgame meeting.

“These are so tough. We have an incredible group, a truly incredible group,” said the coach. “To try to get them to understand that one day and one game, that does not define their season or their career, that was the message. It’s very tough for them to buy that today, because it just wasn’t our day.”

The Spiders reached the final of their conference tournament for the seventh consecutiv­e year.

From the beginning, the Spiders looked a bit tight on offense with uncharacte­ristic turnovers. Also, the Panthers won seven of the first eight face-offs, which set them up for offensive success.

And there was High Point senior attack Asher Nolting (two goals, one assist), the nation’s fifthleadi­ng scorer coming in (65 points). The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder from Colorado, the tournament’s most outstandin­g player, was clearly a focal point for UR’s defense, which left gaps elsewhere.

Early in Friday’s game, “We struggled to win our matchups defensivel­y. We struggled to win our matchups offensivel­y,” said Chemotti. “It took us a little while, and we figured it out ... but we had given them a lot of confidence along the way.

“They just stayed the course and made plays that needed to be made at the right times.”

UR defeated High Point 17-11 when the teams met at Robins Stadium on March 26. The Panthers learn their postseason opponent when the 16-team NCAA tournament field is revealed Sunday night at 9 p.m., on ESPNU.

The Spiders advanced to the NCAAs in 2014, 2018 and 2019.

 ?? SHABAN ATHUMAN/TIMES-DISPATCH ?? High Point midfielder Dalton Sulver (right) celebrates a goal during a victory over UR in the Southern Conference final at Robins Stadium.
SHABAN ATHUMAN/TIMES-DISPATCH High Point midfielder Dalton Sulver (right) celebrates a goal during a victory over UR in the Southern Conference final at Robins Stadium.
 ?? SHABAN ATHUMAN/TIMES-DISPATCH ?? Richmond attack Brett Randall (43) carries the ball past High Point midfielder Joel Scerbo at Robins Stadium. The Spiders were forced to rally after a 7-1 deficit.
SHABAN ATHUMAN/TIMES-DISPATCH Richmond attack Brett Randall (43) carries the ball past High Point midfielder Joel Scerbo at Robins Stadium. The Spiders were forced to rally after a 7-1 deficit.
 ?? SHABAN ATHUMAN/TIMES-DISPATCH ?? Goalies Devin Craven (32) and Jack Rusbuldt react to UR’s loss to High Point in the SoCon championsh­ip game. The Spiders fell short of their third consecutiv­e league title.
SHABAN ATHUMAN/TIMES-DISPATCH Goalies Devin Craven (32) and Jack Rusbuldt react to UR’s loss to High Point in the SoCon championsh­ip game. The Spiders fell short of their third consecutiv­e league title.

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