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Atlantic Sun Lacrosse Tournament: Richmond Beats High Point, 8-7

The Spiders did in their first season what many teams haven't done in their long histories.

Jamie Squire

Richmond has never lost a conference tournament game and the Spiders have never not made the NCAA Tournament. These are facts -- ridiculous ones -- that are beyond truth following Richmond's somewhat surprising 8-7 defeat of High Point in the Atlantic Sun Tournament championship.

The Spiders entered the weekend as the postseason's four-seed, shellacking Mercer in the semifinals to earn a berth in the league's championship game. Facing the Panthers, a team that handed Richmond a four-goal defeat in mid-April, the Spiders showed poise in a spot that exceeded the program's 16-game existence. Mitchell Goldberg deposited the game-winning goal for Richmond with 3:21 remaining in regulation, but it was the build to Goldberg's tally that is especially interesting -- the Spiders never trailed High Point and impressively rebounded from a late surge from the Panthers.

Holding a three-goal lead early in the third period, Dan Lomas pulled High Point within two with 7:32 remaining in the penultimate quarter. Richmond quickly responded with a tally from Brad Burnam on a Jean-Luc Chetner -- that name should come with a wine cellar -- helper, giving the Spiders a 6-3 lead. The Panthers punched back, though, stringing together three consecutive goals over the final 1:50 of the third period and first 3:50 of the final quarter -- an explosion in just 5:40 of play -- that knotted the scoreboard at six. High Point was asserting itself at the apex of the game, and yet Richmond was able to play a huge trump card that changed the momentum of the contest: Goldberg, driving from behind the cage with a mark draped on him, whipped an amazing behind-the-back pass toward the crease where Dan Ginestro finished with a pure diving goal. The tally came with fewer than four minutes gone from Lomas' game-tying, signaling that Richmond would refuse to kiss anyone's ring (other than their own).

The Spiders weren't content to merely bleed the clock to triple zeros, though. Goldberg -- who finished with two goals and an assist on the day -- dropped a hammer on the Panthers with less than four minutes on the clock, burying a ball past Austin Geisler to give Richmond a decisive two-goal advantage. Matt Thistle would answer Goldberg's bucket less than a minute later, but it would not be enough for the Panthers to change destiny: A series of traded possessions eventually ended with back-and-forth 60-yard heaves that did not impact Richmond's one-goal margin in bright white lights.

It wasn't easy for Richmond, both in the game and over the course of their 2014 campaign, but the Spiders earned a May adventure through grit, guile, and probably magic powers.

TRUNCATED ADVANCED BOX SCORE

TRUNCATED ADVANCED BOX SCORE: RICHMOND v. HIGH POINT
METRIC RICHMOND HIGH POINT
Possession Margin 0 0
Raw Offensive Efficiency 22.86 20.00
Raw Offensive Shooting Rate 22.86% 33.33%
Shots per Offensive Opportunity 1.00 0.60
Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities 42.86 57.14
Run-of-Play Groundballs per 100 Possessions 31.43 27.14
Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities 40.00 37.14
Team Save Percentage 66.67% 61.90%