ALBANY — The University at Albany Great Danes men’s lacrosse team has had another phenomenal year that once again which ended in an America East conference title and an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament.
With their fifth straight conference title under their belts, the UAlbany lacrosse team is preparing for their first round match against the Richmond Spiders. This will be the last home game for the Danes no matter what as if they win they will move onto James M. Shuart Stadium on the campus of Hofstra University for the quarterfinals.
The Southern Conference champion Spiders are coming into this game with a record of 11-5 and are on a six-game winning streak. Road games have not been to kind to the Spiders however, as they are 2-5 away from Robins Stadium which might give UAlbany the upper hand who have not lost at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium this season.
A couple of the players, which included senior defender Troy Reh, came and spoke on what it means to play at Casey Stadium and have a packed house cheering them on. “It’s awesome, just looking back at the crowd walking down that ramp [how they enter the field before every home game] and seeing the packed house and the energy that they bring…they roar and we feed off that,” Reh told the media after practice concluded Wednesday afternoon.
“With all the fans and the support around the community of the Capital Region they’ve done a great job and I know they’ll be out here this weekend,” junior midfielder Jack Burgmaster said praising the fans that come out every home game.
With the Danes fully confident that they are capable of handling Richmond this coming Saturday, the team is completely focused and are working to get better and be ready for whatever the Spiders will throw at them. “We want to approach this game like we approach any other game. It doesn’t matter if we’re playing the best team in the country or the worst team in the country…we’re preparing for them like they want to kick our butts and we’ll be ready,” freshman midfielder Kyle Casey said after Wednesday’s practice.
[Troy] Reh also chimed in on how the team is continuing to stay focused. “Everyone in this tournament is here for a reason and Richmond is a very good team so we just have to come out and do what we’ve been doing all week and prepare and be ready to play on Saturday.”
UAlbany did scrimmage Richmond back in the fall of 2017 but only got a taste of what Richmond was all about. “Fall ball is kind of like a warm-up, you usually get one or two offensive pieces in…if you look at their film they’ve gotten a lot better and they’ve beaten quality teams and all the games they’ve lost have been very close,” sophomore faceoff specialist TD Ierlan said on how Richmond has changed since they last played them.
Senior Connor Fields, who was on pace to break former standout Lyle Thompson’s all time NCAA scoring record, has been sidelined and has not been at full strength after injuring his knee earlier in the season. “He’s doing fine,” head coach Scott Marr stated after practice, “He hasn’t done any running so at this point we’re not planning on him playing but if he plays and he can move and is capable of playing at a level that will help the team then he’ll certainly play.”
UAlbany will look to reach the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament for the second straight year as a win over Richmond will see a match-up between the winner of the Notre Dame/Denver game which will be played this coming Sunday, May 13.