Through his first 38 games as the head coach of Richmond, Dan Chemotti had yet to pick up a signature win for his young Spider program.
Monday night against his alma mater, he and his team flipped the script and picked up a hallmark victory, making a statement on the road in Durham.
Richmond upset No. 9 Duke 12-10 at Koskinen Stadium behind a stellar defensive effort that shut out the Blue Devils in the fourth quarter and a four-goal outing from attackman Mitch Goldberg. Duke got a pair of hat tricks from senior Chad Cohan and sophomore Justin Guterding, but they were not nearly enough to overcome a gritty performance from the Spiders.
"This is a program-defining win for the University of Richmond. I’m extremely proud of our guys," Chemotti said. "Anybody can beat anybody. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past nor what it says on the front of your jersey. If a team plays better for the 60 minutes of game time, [they are going to win]."
A back-and-forth game—one in which the lead changed hands five times—was highlighted by a Richmond possession with the game tied at 10 in the fourth quarter that lasted for nearly three and a half minutes. The Spiders moved the ball efficiently through the offensive zone and peppered Blue Devil goalie Danny Fowler with three straight shots—all of which narrowly missed.
It was the fourth shot, though, from freshman Teddy Hatfield that finally found the back of the net and gave Richmond (5-1) an 11-10 lead it would not relinquish.
Duke head coach John Danowski was not made available to the media after the game.
“It was definitely a defining moment of the game. We’ve been struggling to find ourselves and find the right combinations," Chemotti said. "It was really just our normal motion set and sharing the ball. It was a very unselfish play and Teddy [Hatfield] was on the receiving end.”
On the positive end of things for Duke (4-3), Guterding—the Blue Devils' points leader this season—registered three more goals, bringing his career total to 101 points through just 25 games. The Garden City, N.Y., native became the fastest Duke player to pass the century mark, breaking the record of current Blue Devil assistant coach Matt Danowski—who accomplished the feat in his first 27 games more than a decade ago.
The sophomore's two goals in the first 2:22 of the game staked Duke to an early 2-0 lead. Even though the Spiders responded forcefully to knot the game at two apiece, a third goal from Guterding with less than two ticks left in the first period pulled the Blue Devils back in front, 4-3.
The second quarter saw a number of dazzling saves by Richmond goalie Benny Pugh—who finished with 12 on the night—that allowed the Spiders to turn defense into offense, making use of an efficient transition attack that scored three straight goals and gave Richmond its first lead of the night at 6-5.
"With only one day to prepare for a team like Duke, we didn’t want to complicate things too much," Chemotti said. "We wanted to stick to our normal defensive focuses and things that worked. The guys on the field were the ones making the plays, but it was a lot of help and support defense out there."
With the score tied at six heading into the halftime break, the second half brought more of the same see-saw action. A pair of late third-quarter goals from Cohan and junior Jack Bruckner brought life to the Blue Devils bench, but a quick answer from Goldberg gave Danowski's squad just a 10-9 lead heading into the final 15 minutes.
In his return to action following a lower-body injury that had kept him out of the last three games, junior Kyle Rowe dominated the faceoff X, winning the game's first five draws and finishing 18-for-24 on the evening.
Monday night's game was the second game—and second straight loss—in three days for Duke and its fourth contest in a 10-day span. The Blue Devils will have a chance to get back in the win column Saturday at No. 8 Loyola.
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A junior from just outside Philadelphia, Mitchell is probably reminding you how the Eagles won the Super Bowl this year and that the Phillies are definitely on the rebound. Outside of The Chronicle, he majors in Economics, minors in Statistics and is working toward the PJMS certificate, in addition to playing trombone in the Duke University Marching Band. And if you're getting him a sandwich with beef and cheese outside the state of Pennsylvania, you best not call it a "Philly cheesesteak."