ALBANY — Behind an early onslaught of goals, UAlbany carried that momentum the rest of the way and rode it to their fifth America East conference championship in six years as they beat Vermont at Casey Stadium on Saturday afternoon, 14-4.
The Danes hit the board just 15 seconds into the game courtesy of Troy Reh, and they were already up by three goals before the first six minutes of the contest had been played off shots from Kyle McClancy and Jakob Patterson.
By the time the first quarter had ended, the Danes already owned a 7-0 lead.
“You feel pretty comfortable. It gives you definitely a lot of confidence,” said UAlbany coach Scott Marr. “It took (Vermont’s) energy away early. We never gave them any life.”
After the Great Danes went up 8-0 they went into a funk, allowing Vermont to score three straight goals to make the game 8-3, only scoring one goal in the second quarter and not scoring again until less than three minutes left in the third. When Vermont went on their run they played in a zone defense which UAlbany struggled with for the middle parts of the game. After they figured it out, they fired off six goals in a row, including four in the first 4:11 of the fourth quarter that ended up putting the game away.
“Once it started clicking then all of the sudden we ran off six goals in a row. It just took the energy out of us, it took the energy out of the crowd, slowed the game down, all of the sudden it got quiet. They really did take the momentum away by going into the zone,” Marr said.
The Danes played without Connor Fields, the best player on the team due to a knee injury he aggravated in Thursday’s semifinal game against UMass-Lowell. His replacement, Jakob Patterson, subbed in nicely, scoring three goals and tacking on an assist. It is believed that Fields will be ready to go for next weekend’s NCAA tournament game.
“It definitely hard watching, especially your senior year. To come out of this game was really tough, it was a tough decision for me and the coaching staff and the training staff, we thought it was best for us moving forward but super excited we got the win. We knew we could do it,” Fields said.
The victory marks the fifth time in six years that UAlbany has won the America East conference championship, a true mark of a consistent program that is a proven winner in the college lacrosse world where the Danes have seen themselves become a national powerhouse in that timeframe.
“We just keep reminding guys that they’re fortunate to be where they are and the fact they’re in college and have an opportunity to play lacrosse,” Marr said.
The Danes are now 14-2 on the season, sitting at #5 in the country based on the USILA Coaches Poll. They will have to wait until Sunday night to find their assignment for the NCAA lacrosse tournament, that begins next weekend. It is assumed that they will have a home game in the first round, but it is unknown who they will play. It will be their sixth straight tournament appearance and 10th in program history.
Jakob Patterson: 3 goals, 1 assist
Sean Eccles: 2 goals, 1 assist
Tehoka Nanticoke: 2 goals, 1 assist
Kyle McClancy: 2 goals, 1 assist
Davis Diamond: 1 goal, 2 assists
Justin Reh: 3 assists
Troy Reh: 1 goal
Jack Burgmaster: 1 goal
Alex Burgmaster: 1 goal
Josh Egan: 1 goal
Zach Wolfe: 1 assist
Noah Taylor: 1 assist
Dawes Milchling: 1 goal, 1 assist
Liam Limoges: 1 goal, 1 assist
Braiden Davis: 1 goal
Ian MacKay: 1 goal
JD Colarusso (UAlbany): 4 goals allowed, 12 saves
Nick Washuta (Vermont): 14 goals allowed, 13 saves