Lacrosse players Derrek and Lance Madonna


Brothers on and off the field

The Madonna brothers — Derrek (No. 8) and Lance (No. 2) — are at the core of Richmond’s offense as the Spiders compete to become the Atlantic 10’s first-ever champions in men’s lacrosse.

During the 2022 season, Lance Madonna, ’24, gave defenses headaches with his 25 goals and 12 assists. This season, opposing teams have twice the Madonnas to worry about.

Lance is joined on the 2023 team by his older brother Derrek, who transferred to the team as a graduate student. With four years of experience playing for Hobart College, Derrek helps bolster the offense of the Spiders as they move from the Southern Conference — whose championship they won last year — to the Atlantic 10, which added men’s lacrosse this year.

The league begins small with just six teams. Four of them already play other sports in the A-10: UMass, St. Bonaventure, and St. Joseph’s, plus Richmond. High Point University and Hobart will play as affiliates. Yes, that Hobart, where Derrek led the team in scoring his senior year with 33 goals, including a hat trick against nationally ranked Syracuse. The Spiders play Hobart in an away game April 22, which, Derrek acknowledged, will be a little odd for him.

“I’ve never entered the stadium at Hobart on the opposing side, so that’s definitely going to be the weirdest part, I think,” he said. “I’ve got a ton of lifelong friends on that team, so it’ll be a good time.”

Derrek’s arrival at Richmond reunites the two brothers, who’ve been playing together since they were kids in their backyard. They overlapped for two seasons in high school, but when Lance came to Richmond while Derrek was at Hobart, it looked like their days playing competitive games together were over. Then the pandemic hit, the 2020 season was largely canceled, and the NCAA gave affected athletes an extra season of eligibility.

“We joked about him coming to Richmond for his fifth year,” Lance said. “When he made it happen, it was pretty cool. Our parents will be able to watch us again.”

The team ranked as high as No. 19 in preseason polls and figures to have a potent offense. In addition to the Madonna brothers, the team also returns last season’s second-leading scorer, senior Dalton Young.

Putting up points is what each brother says the other does best. Lance describes Derrek as a scorer who shoots really well from the outside and is probably faster than opposing teams realize. Derrek says Lance is a true all-around attacker who can shoot, pass, and dodge — or fake out opponents with quick moves — with the best of them. “You can take away one part of [Lance’s] game, but he’s always going to be able to make an impact,” Derrek says.

Derrek’s arrival in Richmond puts him in position for the one accomplishment that eluded him in his four years with his previous program — a championship. For Lance and the other returners, it’s a chance to earn back-to-back championships while making a statement to the rest of the A-10 that Richmond is the team to beat in the conference’s newest sport.

“I came down here to have fun and win games,” Derrek said. “I believe in this team, and I believe in the coaches. I really want a championship more than anything, and I think this team definitely has the capabilities to do that.”