LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Sophomore attack J.P. Forester assisted on the tying and go-ahead goals in the third quarter and sophomore goalie Benny Pugh stopped both attempts on goal in the second half as the Richmond Spiders remained unbeaten in Southern Conference play after an 11-6 road win at Bellarmine Saturday at O.B. Frazier Stadium.
The Spiders are 9-4 overall and a perfect 5-0 in the SoCon. The Knights slip to 4-7 overall, 2-3 in league play.
That sets up a de facto SoCon regular-season championship next Saturday at Robins Stadium when Richmond hosts 5-0 Mercer, with the winner claiming the top seed and host rights to the SoCon Championships the following weekend.
“We told the guys that we have never been as proud of them from an effort standpoint,” said Richmond head coach Dan Chemotti after the game. “A.J. Lapitino has a couple of effort plays, Dean Roseman had an unbelievable ground ball off a faceoff, Tom Monzo made a great dive in before a wind up on a shot and knocked the ball loose and Robbie Poirier had a great hustle play at the start of the third quarter. It was plays like those that helped win the game for us.”
The Knights used the emotions of senior day to take control of the first half. After a BU goal off the opening faceoff, sophomore Mitch Goldberg (Damascus, Maryland) tied it less than two minutes later and freshman Anthony Faraino (Vestavia Hills, Alabama) put the Spiders ahead with nine minutes to go in the opening quarter. After a pair of Knights goals, redshirt senior Mickey Hofmeister (Williamsburg, Virginia / Jamestown HS) scored a man-up goal before the end of the period to tie the game at three.
Bellarmine scored three of the four goals in the second quarter to take a 6-4 lead, but Richmond scored all seven goals in the second half.
“At halftime, we simply reminded them what our formula for success is and their focus came back,” added Chemotti.
Hofmeister scored the first goal of the second half to cut the lead to one before junior Cory Palmer (Altanta, Georgia) got the feed from Forester for the game-tying goal with 9:31 in the period and sophomore Dan Ginestro (Syracuse, New York) put the Spider up for good from Forester with 5:53 in the third.
Forester scored his second goal of the game and the final one of the contest, with 9:28 in the fourth.
Forester, Ginestro and Hofmeister all had two goals for the Spiders. Forester’s two assists gave him a game-high four points.
For the first time in program history, the Spiders shutout an opponent in the second half as part of the 7-0 run to close out the game. The shutout quarters were the 11th and 12th this season for the Spiders, eight of which came against SoCon opponents. The defense caused eight turnovers, with reigning USILA National Defensive Player of the Week, sophomore defenseman Brendan Hynes (Mahopac, New York), causing a game-high three. Hynes also collected a game-high eight ground balls, the third-straight week with eight or more from a defensive position.
Sophomore Benny Pugh (Powhatan, Virginia / Woodberry Forest School) made eight saves and collected three ground balls for his ninth win (9-4) of the season. He has all 15 goalie wins for Richmond in the program’s history.
“Benny made some very needed saves for us today. Early on, they had some really good looks at the cage and he was sliding from one side to the other or kicking his leg out… saves that you don’t expect any goalie to make. He made the saves he was supposed to make in the second half.”
Richmond and Mercer meet for the third time in the brief history of series. The Spiders will honor their first senior class at the game.
NOTES: With the win, the program got to .500 (15-15) faster than any other new program since new teams joining the ranks in 2009.