HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — The 2-seed UAlbany men’s lacrosse team will head to Championship Weekend for the first time in program history after defeating Denver 15-13 in the NCAA Quarterfinal Round.
UAlbany won the opening four faceoffs and scored on the first three shots, with a Sean Eccles low shot from Jakob Patterson, 15 seconds later passing around the fan to Tehoka Nanticoke for the bouncing shot and score, then a brother connection as Justin Reh found Troy Reh on a catch and shoot score on the doorstep for a 3-0 lead. UAlbany’s ride and defense held down Denver until the 4:32 mark in the 1st when Ethan Walker got inside his defender and scored close range to the cage. UAlbany got that goal back while man-up, as Patterson got the feed from Eccles for the laser and score. then Denver countered with a quick score. UAlbany led 4-2 after one quarter.
Denver started to win faceoffs, then rolled off the first three goals, all by different players with Ted Sullivan scoring one and assisting one, as the Pioneers led by one about a third of the way through the quarter. UAlbany took back the lead as Nanticoke bull dodged towards the cage and scored on a long shot to the right corner, then Connor Fields draw a double team to free up a rolling Eccles on the goal circle. As the clock was winding down, Nanticoke kept dodging through the Denver defense and scored close range at the buzzer, giving UAlbany the 7-5 advantage at the break.
Another quick faceoff win for UAlbany resulted in a quick UAlbany goal as Troy Reh passed off to Kyle McClancy, who dropped down to Justin Reh and the wind up and score. Trevor Baptiste got the goal back for Denver the other direction to get the team’s deficit to two, then added another minutes later on a man-up situation. Justin Reh scored on UAlbany’s next possession, rushing from behind the cage off a restart, getting in front of the circle and scoring on a bouncing shot. Again Denver pulled to a tie with a pair of close range goals. The tie was short lived as TD Ierlan won a faceoff and found a running McClancy for a high to low attempt, scoring lower left corner. UAlbany added another off a catch and shoot from Fields to Eccles after a ground ball scrum. UAlbany eventually took an 11-9 advantage into the fourth quarter.
UAlbany had a long offensive possession to open the fourth, and saw a shot saved. But as Denver tried to clear, Jakob Patterson intercepted a pass on the doorstep and scored on the shovel shot. Denver scored on its next possession, then added another to pull back within one. UAlbany held with a Matt Perla caused turnover on Denver’s next chance, then UAlbany had a long offensive possession, converting while man-up as Fields passed off to Patterson for the wave and score in the left corner. UAlbany added an insurance goal on the shot clock as McClancy got around the cage and scored next to the crease. He repeated his shot clock performance to add one more goal. Denver scored twice in the final minute, but UAlbany held on and took the 15-13 victory.
UAlbany will enter Championship Weekend for the first time and take on 3-seed Yale on Saturday, May 26th at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.