RICHMOND, Va. -- Top-seeded Richmond survived a late rally against the four-seed Furman to earn the 8-7 victory in Thursday's opening game of the SoCon Men’s Lacrosse Championship at Robins Stadium, on the campus of Richmond. The Spiders (11-4) advanced to the inaugural SoCon Championship game on Saturday.
Richmond was led by J.P. Forester with three goals while Mickey Hofmeister and Alex Hatem added two goals each. Brendan Hynes had a strong game defensively, holding Furman’s leading scorer without a goal and tallying eight ground balls and two caused turnovers. The Spiders won 16 of 19 faceoffs in the game, thanks to faceoff specialist Peter Moran.
Furman (4-9) got a hat trick from Robbie Betchley in the loss with four other Paladins adding a single goal in the game. The Paladins’ goalie, Reilly McDermott, recorded a career-high 17 saves while allowing just eight goals. Furman held the Spiders to exactly eight goals in both games this season, both their lowest totals against a SoCon foe this season.
Furman, trailing 8-4 with 11:43 remaining in the game, scored the final three goals of the game to cut the lead to just one with 1:40 to go. The Paladins were able take three shots in the final 1:40 but Benny Pugh made saves on two of the three shots to clinch the win for the Spiders.
In the early going, Richmond got on the board quick with a goal by Forester just 18 seconds in to the game. Furman would not take long to answer, though, as Betchley netted a goal two minutes later in the first quarter.
Defenses would shine the rest of the first quarter with neither team scoring again in the opening period. The Spiders outshot the Paladins 16-11 in the first period with Furman making six saves against Richmond’s four.
Richmond would break the game’s scoring drought with a goal by Hatem at 11:13 mark of the second quarter. Betchley answered the goal again, scoring at the 10:32 mark to even up the game at 2-2. Eric Haehl put the Spiders back in front, scoring at the 9:41 mark to make it a 3-2 Richmond advantage.
The Spiders would extend the lead with a pair of late first-half goals. Mickey Hofmeister netted a goal with 36 seconds remaining in the half and Forester scored his second of the game with 27 seconds to go in the half to give them a 5-2 halftime lead.
Furman would close the gap in the third quarter with a 2-1 advantage in the period. Hofmeister scored at the 11:51 mark to put the Spiders in front 6-2. Betchley’s third goal of the game for Furman would come just 10 seconds later to cut the lead back to three.
The defenses would again hold for much of the quarter until Furman’s Matt Geran put a shot in the back of the net with 22 seconds to go in the frame, cutting the margin to two heading to the fourth quarter.
Richmond started to pull away in the final period, scoring two goals in the first five minutes of the quarter off the sticks of Hatem and Forester. Furman answered with two goals in the middle five minutes, cutting the lead to 8-6 with goals from Patrick DiMento and Patrick Reilly. Scott Primeau would score the final goal of the game to cut the lead to one for the Paladins but they were unable to get any closer.