Men’s Lacrosse crushes UMBC to finish regular season
By Andrew Hughes
April 28, 2015
The University at Albany men’s lacrosse team ended one of the most successful regular seasons in school history this past Saturday at Bob Ford Field with a 20-9 blowout win over America East conference rival UMBC.
Last week, UAlbany defeated Yale in front of a record setting crowd of 4,283 in the school’s first lacrosse game at Bob Ford Field. On Saturday, 2,514 fans packed Bob Ford Field to see the Great Danes earn their sixth win in a row.
Ranked seventh in the country, the Great Danes (13-2, 6-0 America East) never relinquished a lead that started just 27 seconds into the game off of a Seth Oakes score.
The Great Danes’ offense was clicking early and often in the first quarter as they scored 10 goals in the opening quarter, two more goals then UMBC (5-8, 1-5 America East) has given up on average for an entire game this season.
The Great Danes seemingly had the game wrapped up at halftime, as they held a 15-2 lead after two quarters. Connor Fields paced the Great Danes with five goals in the first half, and Seth Oakes, Lyle Thompson Tim Cox each had four points at the half.
Thompson, who continues to pad his record as NCAA Division I lacrosse’s all-time leading points scorer, had the crowd on its feet with several spectacular plays, including a highlight reel finish against three UMBC defenders.
The Retrievers were held scoreless the entire second quarter as UAlbany’s defense held strong, frequently forcing turnovers. Goalie Blaze Riorden had another strong game, one in which his dominance allowed UAlbany to give backup goalie JD Colarusso significant playing time, following Riorden’s game saving efforts against Yale just a week ago.
UMBC rallied in the fourth, scoring five goals in a row, primarily against UAlbany’s backups. But the deficit was too much to overcome. The Great Danes capped off a dominant effort in which his team converted on 21 of 33 shots and won two thirds of the faceoffs.
The Great Danes were led by five goals from Fields and three each by Thompson and Oakes. Coming off the bench, Tim Cox, Tom Nuckel, and Kyle McClancy each scored a pair of goals. Pat Young scored three goals to lead for the visiting Retrievers.
The Great Danes honored their 10 graduating seniors on Saturday. The seniors will finish their careers as part of a UAlbany program that has changed the way lacrosse is played nationally. The fast paced nature of the Great Danes is something coach Scott Marr recognized.
“They really have seen the evolution of our program from the time they were freshman to where we are now and the pace that we do play and how it has affected the rest of the game,” Marr said.
This team has made an impact nationally and Marr recognized the accomplishments of his departing seniors saying that other college teams try to emulate the way the Great Danes play.
“We talked everyday about playing our standard,” Marr said. “[Our seniors] saw the older guys holding that tradition, and we want to play at that same level and intensity.”
Marr’s squad has the nation’s most potent offensive attack, leading the nation with over 17 goals a game. The Great Danes goals per game average is three more than the second place Syracuse Orange. Seth Oakes and Connor Fields both rank in the national top 10 in goals per game average with over three each.
This year’s team stacks up well nationally on the offensive end, and that’s not even mentioning Lyle Thompson, who has the second highest assist total in NCAA Division I history to go along with the most points.
After wrapping up their third-straight perfect America East season and taking home the regular season championship, UAlbany will host the upcoming conference tournament.
The Great Danes’ next game will be this Thursday against Hartford at Bob Ford Field in the semi-finals of the America East tournament at 7 p.m.
If the Great Danes defeat Hartford, they will play in the America East Championship game on Saturday, May 2 at 10 a.m. against the winner of Thursday’s game between Vermont and Stony Brook.