NCAA First Round: Cormier’s Big Day Helps Virginia Past Richmond

(Photo Courtesy of Virginia Athletics)

A 30-minute weather delay interrupted the contest between the first and second quarters. It did not, however, slow down the home Virginia Cavaliers.

Virginia topped Richmond 17-8 to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Payton Cormier led the Cavaliers with six goals on the day while Connor Shellenberger had six points off two goals and four assists.

Petey LaSalla went 18-for-27 (66%) at the faceoff dot and Matthew Nunes made nine saves with a 56% save percentage in between the pipes.

Xander Dickson split to his left, blew past the short stick defender, and turned the corner for his first score of the day and 57th on the year. The score gave the Cavaliers and early 2-0 lead and chiseled Dickson’s name high in the Virginia record books as he now holds the record for most goals in a single season.

Richmond answered quickly with Luke Grayum getting the Spiders on the board less than a minute after Virginia took the 2-0 lead. A similar sequence followed later in the frame with Dickson’s second goal of the day being answered by a Richmond strike via Derrek Madonna. Those two instances saw Richmond make it a one-goal (2-1, 3-2) game. Things, however, would never be that close for the remainder of the game.

A pair of scores from Evan Zinn and Will Cory to cap transition sequences pulled Virginia ahead 5-2 at the end of the first quarter of play. That opening frame was followed by a 30-minute weather delay that left Klockner Stadium looking more like a natural slip-n-slide than a lacrosse field.

Coming back from that extended break and with rain coming down all around, Derrek Madonna got Richmond on the board first. Connor Shellenberger answered for Virginia before Dalton Young struck minutes later to make it a two-goal game (6-4) once more. Young’s tally would be Richmond’s last for nearly 15 minutes of gameplay.

Payton Cormier pulled out a swim move before rolling back towards the middle of the field and sticking home his first of the day to make it a 7-4 game. Cormier’s score sparked a four-goal run to end the half for Virginia and pull them ahead 10-4. Thomas McConvey added one early in the third to extend to the run to five goals and make it an 11-4 contest.

During that game-changing run, Richmond was held to just six shots and committed four turnovers. Virginia also forced a Richmond failed clear during that time, which helped lead to a Griffin Schutz score to close out the first half. Petey LaSalla went 3-for-5 at the dot string those 14 minutes and change.

Leading by seven early in the third quarter, Virginia was able to run through the final buzzer to claim the nine-goal victory. Payton Cormier had five of his six goals during that second half of play, which included three consecutive strikes from late in the third through early in the fourth. Freshman Truitt Sunderland also added a score during those final two frames to help the Cavaliers outscore the Spiders 7-4 during those final two frames of play.

Dalton Madonna had a hat trick for Richmond while Dalton Young had four points off two goals and two assists.

With the victory, Virginia advances to the NCAA Quarterfinals where they will play the winner of Georgetown-Yale.


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