Richmond Offense Improving, But 'Not Out of the Woods' Yet


Tate Gallagher scored 19 goals in 2019 and has scored once this season.

Richmond coach Dan Chemotti didn’t think there was much his team needed to change on offense coming off a 4-3 season in 2020. The Spiders had scored 13 against Maryland and 15 against Duke in overtime losses and reached double figures in all but one of their games.

Moreover, they returned their entire first midfield line, two-thirds of their second line, a complete starting attack and a fourth attackman.

So when Richmond scored 33 goals in its first four games — albeit with three of the games against Loyola, North Carolina and Duke — Chemotti was a bit flummoxed.

“We’re still finding ourself, to be honest,” Chemotti said. “That’s not uncommon. What’s more uncommon is we didn’t have a chance to find ourself when it didn’t count. You have success a year ago with certain things and your personnel doesn’t change a whole lot, if at all, and just those things aren’t as successful for one reason or another. Like any team aspiring to be good, you have to find ways to adjust.”

Those adjustments are happening on the fly for Richmond (3-3, 2-0 Southern Conference), which responded to its early struggles by scoring a combined 40 goals the last two weeks in routs of VMI and Bellarmine. That sets up the Spiders for a pivotal league game at home against High Point on Friday before next week’s visit to Virginia.

One tweak in recent weeks was the decision to bring sophomore attackman Richie Connell off the bench, with graduate student Kevin Todd taking his place in the lineup. It didn’t slow Connell down against Bellarmine; he had seven goals and two assists in the victory, with veteran Ryan Lanchbury collecting three goals and nine assists against the Knights.

“I was extremely proud of Richie this past weekend,” Chemotti said. “We had given the last two starts to another young man, a fifth-year senior who’s been around and been a security blanket for us, and Richie had to figure out how to come off the bench and be effective and how to embrace that role. To his complete credit, he did that.”

Chemotti credits offensive coordinator John Hogan for continuing to fine-tune an offense that, statistically anyway, looks fine at mid-season. The Spiders rank third in Division I in man-up offense (.667) and rank 24th in shooting percentage (.311), and while he’s impressed with the adjustments in recent weeks, Chemotti believes his offense still isn’t at the level it could be.

“We’re still not out of the woods,” Chemotti said. “We still have a lot of work to do. But the group has really taken it upon themselves to change what they do and how they do it.”

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