No. 19 Richmond lacrosse tangles defending national champion Tar Heels, 6-5

No. 19 Spiders men's lacrosse celebrates upsetting the defending national champs, No. 9 North Carolina, 6-5 in Chapel Hill, NC on Monday, March 13th, 2017. (Screenshot courtesy of ESPN 3)

The following comes from a University of Richmond press release:

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Not even monsoon like conditions could slow down the University of Richmond men’s lacrosse stifling defense.

The Spiders entered Monday’s showdown with the reigning national champions UNC allowing the fewest goals per game in the country.

That suffocating defense was on display once again as Richmond used a fourth quarter surge to take down the Tar Heels, 6-5, in Chapel Hill. It marks the second straight season that the Spiders have taken down an top-10 ACC opponent on the road.

Senior netminder Benny Pugh continues to show why he’s one of the best in the country with 11 saves on the night, his fifth double-digit save performance of the season.  He also grabbed three critical ground balls on the night.

The senior defensive trio of Ryan Dennis, Ryan Berning and Brendan Hynes were once again outstanding, combining for six caused turnovers and eight groundballs.

Offensively, sophomore Ryan Lee kept his hot start going with two goals and an assist, while senior Austin Cunningham came up huge with two goals on the night.

“As a team, we couldn’t be happier, but we’re not surprised,” Pugh said. “We know that we work hard enough to compete with the top teams in the country. It shows on nights like tonight when we execute our game plan and focus for a full 60 minutes.

Much like they did against Duke, the Spiders jumped out to an early advantage with freshman Tyler Shoults getting on the board first, firing off a beautiful goal off a pass from Dean Roseman to give Richmond a 1-0 lead.

Three minutes later, Roseman found Lee who rifled home the Spiders’ second goal to push the lead to 2-0 nine minutes into the contest.

The Tar Heels responded with two goals in the final five minutes of the first quarter and two more in the second to grab a 4-2 lead.

With time winding down, Lee found a cutting Cunningham, who fired home his first goal of the day to send Richmond into halftime within a goal at 4-3.

Both defenses took center stage in the third with only one goal allowed, that coming five minutes into the second half from UNC to take a 5-3 advantage into the final quarter.

That’s when the Spiders’ rally began.

Teddy Hatfield made a great pass from behind the net to a cutting Dan Ginestro who got the Spiders within one a 5-4.

Less than three minutes later, J.P. Forester found Cunningham, who lasered a shot past the UNC goalie to even the score at 5-5 with 11:35 to play.

With the momentum clearly on Richmond’s side, Lee capitalized, firing home a shot into the top right corner of the net to give the Spiders a 6-5 lead.

The Spiders defense went to work, allowing UNC just three shots in the final five minutes of the contest and held off a last minute rally to defeat the Tar Heels.

Richmond returns to conference play this weekend when they travel to Jacksonville on Saturday for an 11 a.m. contest.