UAlbany lacrosse falls to instate rival Syracuse Sunday
By Celia Balf
In-state lacrosse rivals Syracuse University and University at Albany met Sunday in the Carrier Dome for their annual game, Syracuse won 16-7. The two teams have been playing every year since 2004, Syracuse leads the series 13-1. The last and only time UAlbany beat Syracuse was in 2013 in a double overtime victory 16-15.
Last year UAlbany had their most successful season going 16-3 overall and standing as the best offense in division 1 history with 325 goals. Syracuse remains a New York powerhouse every year and opened up last week with an 18-5 win over Siena. The Syracuse-Albany game has been a longstanding rivalry for players and fans alike, this year the Great Danes are Thompson-less, who will step up?
In the first half it became apparent that Syracuse wasn’t going to go down easy; it’s their Dome, it’s the programs 100th anniversary, and they couldn’t lose to Albany, especially without the Thompson Trio.
Ben Williams is known as the face-off master for Syracuse and freshman Zach Ornstein for UAlbany was tested early going against a player whose team ranks third overall with winning face-offs, 66.2%. Williams won the first half with 11 face-offs to Ornstein’s 2.
UAlbany fell behind early to goals by junior Jordan Evans for Syracuse and senior Tim Barber. Bennett Drake for UAlbany responded with an unassisted goal to put UAlbany on the board.
Syracuse responded and tallied three more goals off of Derek Dejoe, Matt Lane and Nick Mariano.
With the score at 5-1 Drake tallies another one for UAlbany. The spark from Drake got sophomores Reh and Fields into the game; the duo combined for two goals and two assists.
At the half Syracuse led 7-4 with senior captain Blaze Riorden saving 10 to Syracuse’s Warren Hill with one.
In the second half Albany fell behind in the third period 6-12, however John Maloney and Eli Lasda each added a goal for the Great Danes.
The fourth quarter caused some scoring problems for UAlbany, and Seth Oakes was the only Great Dane able to get one in the net. Syracuse converted four more to win the game 16-7.
Sophomore attack Connor Fields said, “We really have to follow our system more.” By system he means their offense and how they move the ball.
“Today we weren’t moving the ball how we usually do,” Fields said.
Coach Marr agreed that it wasn’t their best game. “It was a tough day for us on the defensive end,” Marr said. “I don think we played well.”
Fortunately, UAlbany’s season has just begun and they have a handful of games to look forward to in the next few months.
The Great Danes look to bounce back next weekend Feb.27 for their home opener against Drexel at John Fallon Field.
Bennett Drake contributes a player perspective column for the University at Albany men’s lacrosse team.
When we left Sunday morning to travel to Syracuse we had no idea what the result would be. We hadn’t beat this team since 2013, when our seniors now were freshman. Perhaps this would be the day it all came full circle.
The result was not what we would have hoped for, or thought would happen when we packed our bags onto the Brown Bus to leave from Albany. As a team, losing to Syracuse in the Carrier Dome was a tough one to swallow.
Throughout the week I felt as a team we were prepared for this game and thought it was going to be a battle, but a fun one regardless. The loss came from numerous factors, maybe first game jitters, playing in the Dome, or just overexcitement lead to us squeezing our sticks on offense. I feel like we did a lot of good things at times from an offensive perspective, but in the end only scoring seven goals isn’t going to get the job done. Our defense played outstanding, although it may not appear that way from the score, tons of guys were causing turnovers and really selling out for the team.
Adam Osika made an incredible play that went unnoticed late in the third quarter diving back to his man and got a check on him to disrupt his shot. All the fans watching might have just thought we got outplayed by a far superior team, but really we just had an off day in the areas that we usually excel in. Our face-off position has been a work in progress for us for years now, and today it became apparent just how good Ben Williams for Syracuse was at that position. We had a freshman, Zach matched up against him. As a team we should have found ways to help out Zack get a few more of those possessions. However after a long film session this morning we still feel good moving forward with this season. We play Drexel this upcoming weekend and look to get that first win against a scrappy and tough team.