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Photos and Game Summary: Spiders Stampede Over the Cowboys

The University of Richmond extended their unbeaten streak to four with a win over McNeese State on Friday night.

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McNeese (2-5,0-0 Southland): 57
Richmond (4-0,0-0 Atlantic) 10: 87

Box Score

Official UR Recap

In their first three games of the season, the Richmond Spiders showed they can score, averaging more than 94 points per game. Friday night against McNeese, they showed they can defend. Richmond held McNeese to 57 points, 25 below its season average entering the game, and allowed the Cowboys to shoot just 38 percent from the field in a comfortable 87-57 victory. With the win, Richmond improved to 4-0 for the first time since 1985.

“We forced turnovers and contested threes well and rebounded,” said coach Chris Mooney. “So all the different levels of our defense were really solid tonight.”

McNeese jumped on the Spiders early, making five of its first seven shots from the floor and building a 12-4 lead just over three minutes into the game. But Richmond responded, hitting four three-pointers during a 19-4 run to to build its lead to seven. After a Cowboys spurt pulled them within two at 29-27, the Spiders scored the final 13 points of the half to take a 42-27 lead at intermission. Jacob Gilyard scored a game-high 12 points in the first half on just five shots, shooting 4-5 from the field with three three-pointers.

The Spiders gradually added to their lead throughout the second half, stretching it to 21 three-and-a-half minutes into the period and 25 with seven-and-a-half minutes to play before coasting to a 30-point win, their largest margin of victory since beating Coppin State 82-47 last December.

McNeese entered the game making 45 percent of its three-point attempts, the third-highest rate in the nation. But after making three three-pointers in the game’s first 12 minutes, the Spiders held McNeese without a three-pointer for more than 17 minutes and finished the game holding the Cowboys to 4-20 from three-point range. Richmond made 16 three-pointers of its own, the most by the Spiders in a game since making 16 in a win over Air Force in 2013.

“If you make 16 threes you’re probably going to win games,” said Mooney. “To me what’s more important is the ball movement, the good decision-making that leads to the open three. If a guy is hot and he’s just shooting that’s one thing, but over the course of time it’s going to even out. The best chance you have to shoot a good percentage from three is to make the right basketball decision and move the ball the right way consistently.”

Blake Francis led four Spiders in double figures with 20 points, the second time he’s scored at least 20 in the last three games. Nick Sherod added 17 for Richmond, including five three-pointers and five assists. Gilyard finished with 15 points and a team-high six assists and Grant Golden added 10 points and six rebounds as Richmond finished with a 35-26 advantage on the boards.

Up next for Richmond is a trip to the Roman Legends Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y. where the Spiders will play Wisconsin on Monday (7 PM on ESPN2) and either Auburn or New Mexico on Tuesday.

“These are great opportunities,” said Mooney. For our league, these are the best parts of the schedule because you get a chance to play [power conference] teams on a neutral floor.”

 

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Kickers

Kickers Preparations for Season in Full Swing

Two months until the start of a new USL League 1 season. We have a brief look at where the Kickers stand, pictures from this past weekend’s open tryouts, and news of match that can’t be missed.

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The first kickoff of the 2020 season for our Richmond Kickers is March 28th. (Full season schedule here.) As expected after the third season of missing the playoff changes have been fast and furious. The most obvious change took place right at the end of the season when it was announced that David Bulow wouldn’t be at the helm for 2020.

In November the team announced Darren Sawatzky as their new Sporting Director and Head Coach. Darren’s background is fairly typical for a coach, moving from a player into coaching and youth development. Most recently Sawatzky was coaching USL League One side FC Tucson, which is the affiliate of USL Championship side Phoenix Rising FC. Prior to joining Tucson, Sawatzky made a name for himself in the coaching ranks within the Seattle Sounders FC system and led the Seattle Sounders U-23 USL League Two squad along with directing the Development Academy. His playing career included stints with four MLS teams.

Due to League 1 being towards the bottom of the American soccer pyramid the offseason will often be one of significant roster change. Players will look to either move on up and play at a higher level or hang up the cleats. The Kickers are no exception.

The most recent and arguably the most exciting signing is Argentinian forward Emiliano Terzaghi. Emiliano previously played for San Martin De Burzaco in Argentina. Before joining San Martin, he has played a majority of his career with Club Atlético Banfield in the Argentine ‎Primera División, including scoring the game-tying goal against Boca Juniors in the final minute of the match.

The team roster currently:

Goalkeepers (2): Akira Fitzgerald, Lee Johnston
Defenders (7): Wahab Ackwei, Ian Antley, Devante Dubose, Ivan Magalhães, Conor Shanosky, Scott Thomsen, Kyle Venter
Midfielders (10): Amass Amankona, Greg Boehme, Jonathan Bolanos, Matt Bolduc, Gianluca Cuomo, David Diosa, Victor Falck, Ryley Kraft, Mutaya Mwape, Luke Pavone
Forwards (3): Stanley Alves, Charles Boateng, Emiliano Terzaghi

Those familiar with the Kickers will recognize a good number of returning players with the most dramatic turnover in the Forwards with only Charle Boateng returning.

The most recent signing Jonathan Bolanos follows an early trend with the Kickers of picking up young hungry players straight out of college. Other players members of the youth brigade include Victor Falck and Stanley Alves. The join the other young gun Ryley Kraft who was signed mid-season last year.

That doesn’t mean all the new signings are wet behind the ears. Far from it, there have been plenty of seasoned pros ready to sign on the dotted line. – Lee Johnston, Gianluca Cuomo, Ian Antley, Kyle Venter, David Diosa, and Devante Dubose.

The roster now sits at 22 signed players. USL League 1 allows for up to 30 players. It isn’t expected for the Kickers to reach that maximum. At most expect to see another 2-3 players signed between now and the start of the season.

Pre-season matches are expected to be announced later this week. There is however one match that is already much discussed among the Red Army (the Kickers’ supporter group) faithful. The Third Annual Red Army vs Front Office game will be taking place after an inter-squad scrimmage on March 14th. For those coming wanting to watch the Red Army destroy the front office, there is a 5 dollar suggested donation. All proceeds go to RVAccess and the Red Army will be hosting a raffle with a lineup of impressive items up for grabs.

This past weekend the Kickers hosted their second round of Open Tryouts. A chance for players that might have flown under the radar to get another chance to impress.

Below are our pictures from this weekend.

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Photos and Game Summary: UR Can’t Hold Back Dayton Charge in Second Half

The Spiders’ need to dust themselves off quickly as the next game is against local rival VCU.

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University of Richmond (15-5,5-2 Atlantic 10): 79
Dayton (18-2,7-0 Atlantic 10): 87

Box Score

Official Game Summary

Junior guard Jacob Gilyard (Kansas City, Mo.) scored a game-high 29 points but the Richmond Spiders were unable to keep pace with the #7 Dayton Flyers, falling 87-79 at the Robins Center Saturday evening in front of a sold-out crowd.

“I’m really proud of our effort,” said coach Chris Mooney. “We were going to have to make certain things go not quite perfectly but really well tonight and they didn’t but we still competed and scratched and clawed.”

The Flyers relied on National Player-of-the-Year candidate Obi Toppin, who finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds, and Jalen Crutcher, who scored 24 points and added seven assists.

Richmond (15-5, 5-2 in the Atlantic 10) was led by a season-high 29 points from Gilyard while Nick Sherod (Richmond, Va.) added 21 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Gilyard connected on 8-of-15 from the field and hit 5-of-8 from three-point land. Sherod added 4-of-7 from long range Saturday and scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half.

Dayton started strong, hitting its first three three-pointers and edging out to an early 11-2 lead. The Spiders clawed back as junior forward Nathan Cayo (Montreal, Quebec) scored four-straight in the paint to pull within one at 18-17.

Minutes later, the sold-out crowd — the first at the Robins Center this season — exploded when Gilyard hit consecutive three-pointers to give the Spiders a 28-24 lead with 6:57 left in the first half.

But Dayton responded with a 16-2 run to retake control before sophomore guard Jake Wojcik (San Jose, Calif.) closed out the half with a jumper that fell in at the buzzer to trim the deficit to 40-32.

The Spiders struck first in the second half as Gilyard found junior forward Grant Golden (Winchester, Va.) for a layup to make it a six-point game. Dayton again answered, running off 12 straight points to take a 52-34 lead with 14 minutes to play.

Sherod tried to bring the Spiders back, scoring 12 of Richmond’s next 18 points. Richmond was finally able to close the gap to single digits with a 9-0 sprint in less than a minute that made the score 71-63 with 3:48 to play. But Crutcher answerd the Spiders spurt with a three-pointer to extend the lead back to double digits and the Flyers were able to hang on for the 87-79 win.

Despite the loss, Richmond’s 15-5 record is its best through 20 games since the 2010-11 season, when the Spiders advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 and won a school-record 29 games.

The Spiders have a quick turnaround and will play Tuesday night against crosstown rival VCU in the Lumber Liquidators Capital City Classic. Game time at the Siegel Center is set for 7 p.m. and will be broadcast nationally on the CBS Sports Network.

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Northside

Former Braves star Andruw Jones coming to Richmond for Flying Squirrels’ opening night

The five-time NL All-Star and former Richmond Braves outfielder will help ring in 2020 season at The Diamond.

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Former MLB standout Andruw Jones will be the special guest for Opening Night as the Richmond Flying Squirrels begin their home schedule at The Diamond on April 16, the team announced on Wednesday. The five-time National League All-Star will throw out the ceremonial first pitch and sign autographs for fans.

Opening Night with the Flying Squirrels, presented by Virginia Birth Father Registry and Chick-fil-A, will include dueling fireworks to ring in the new season. The first pitch between the Flying Squirrels and Bowie Baysox is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. and the ballpark gates open at 5 p.m.

“Opening Night in Richmond at The Diamond is a very special thing with 10 straight sellouts and a long list of popular ceremonial first pitch participants, some with ties to the Braves’ history here in Richmond,” Flying Squirrels VP & COO Todd “Parney” Parnell said. “Andruw Jones is certainly one of them. Many remember him for his hitting prowess, but his 10 Gold Gloves in the outfield is a high standard. We look forward to welcoming him to Richmond as we pursue our 11thconsecutive Opening Night sellout at The Diamond on April 16.”

Jones played 17 seasons in the majors with the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees. A star in Atlanta for 12 seasons, Jones earned 10 consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1998-2007 and was later selected to the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame. In 2005, Jones won the Silver Slugger Award and the Hank Aaron Award while leading the majors with 51 homers and pacing the National League with 128 RBIs.

Prior to his major league stardom, Jones suited up for the Richmond Braves in 1996. His stop in Richmond lasted 12 games, during which he hit .378 with five homers and 12 RBIs before earning a call to the majors in mid-August at just 19 years old.

The Willemstad, Curacao native hit .254 in his 2,196 career MLB games, adding 434 home runs over 17 years from 1996-2012.

The Flying Squirrels’ first 10 home openers have all sold out, including franchise-record crowds of 9,845 fans in each of the last two years. Since the franchise’s first season in 2010, the Flying Squirrels have welcomed a special guest to help open the home schedule at The Diamond. Jones joins the list of sports stars and dignitaries to celebrate the start of the new baseball season in Richmond.

Previous guests include:

  • 2019 – Ryan Klesko
  • 2018 – Fred McGriff & Gov. Ralph Northam (caught by Mayor Levar Stoney)
  • 2017 – David Justice (caught by Mayor Levar Stoney)
  • 2016 – Jerome Bettis
  • 2015 – Will Wade (caught by Gov. Terry McAuliffe)
  • 2014 – Michael Robinson
  • 2013 – Javy Lopez & Ryan Kerrigan
  • 2012 – Dale Murphy
  • 2011 – James Farrior, Brandon Rozzell & Chris Mooney
  • 2010 – Gov. Bob McDonnell

Information on group packages for the Flying Squirrels’ home opener on April 16 are available here or by contacting the front office at 804-359-FUNN (3866).

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