DURHAM, N.C. – Head Coach Dan Chemotti of the University of Richmond men’s lacrosse program summed it up perfectly in his postgame interview.
“Quite simply, this is the biggest win in our program’s history,” Chemotti said.
That came after his Spiders took down #9 Duke in Durham, 12-10, on Monday evening. It was the Blue Devils’ first loss to an unranked opponent in seven years. Richmond is now off to the best start in school history at 5-1.
“I think this speaks to the parity in our sport that when you work hard and stick to your game plan anybody can beat anybody on any given night. I’m really proud of our guys for their effort tonight against an opponent that has been to countless numbers of Final Fours and NCAA Tournaments. It’s a great win for us against a terrific Duke program,” he added.
Junior Mitch Goldberg followed up his hat trick in Saturday’s win with four goals and an assist to lead the offensive attack. Eight different players found the back of the net for Richmond, including four who scored their first goals of the season in the contest. Senior Alex Hatem was the other Spider with a multi-goal performance, scoring twice in the win.
Defensively, Benny Pugh was outstanding in goal, posting a season-high 12 saves, to stifle a Duke offense that came into the game as the third-highest scoring offense in the country. The Spiders forced the Blue Devils into 16 turnovers, four more than their average.
Duke’s All-America candidate Justin Guterding got the Blue Devils started early with two goals in the first three minutes of the game to give the home team a 2-0 cushion.
Brendan Hynes put the Spiders on the board with a great unassisted goal in the fifth minute to bring Richmond within one. Goldberg got on the board five minutes later to even the score at 2-2.
Duke got one back under two minutes later, but Hatem took a pass from Teddy Hatfield and found the back of the net with 17 seconds remaining in the first period to even the score at 3-3.
Once again, the Blue Devils answered with two early goals in the second period, but back-to-back scores from Goldberg and freshman Adrian Nash, the first of his young career, tied the game at 5-5 with under five minutes to play in the first half.
Hatem then found the back of the net with 3:27 to play in the first half to give Richmond its first lead of the game at 6-5. Duke responded with a goal of its own to send the game into halftime tied at 6-6.
The third period was much of the same with both teams trading goals over the first 10 minutes until Duke got back-to-back goals to take a 10-8 lead into the final minute of the period.
However, Goldberg pushed momentum back on the Spiders side with a last second goal off an assist from Cory Palmer.
Richmond dominated the final period, evening the score at 10-10 with a goal from Anthony Faraino with 12:03 to play. Hatfield would give the Spiders the lead for good with a beautiful pump fake goal with 8:39 remaining.
Palmer put the nail in Duke’s coffin with his third goal of the year with just over five minutes to play. The Spiders defense forced the Blue Devils into six turnovers in the final period and limited Duke to just five shots in the final 15.
Richmond now returns home to take on Jacksonville in a SoCon contest on Saturday, March 12. Game time at Robins Stadium is set for 1 p.m.