UAlbany secures spot in NCAA men’s lacrosse tourney

Team wins 4th conference championship in 5 years; 8th overall
UAlbany players celebrate winning the team's fourth America East title in five seasons.
UAlbany players celebrate winning the team's fourth America East title in five seasons.

ALBANY — A home NCAA Tournament game?

Yeah, UAlbany men’s lacrosse head coach Scott Marr has an opinion as to whether his team should get one of those.

“We,” Marr said, “deserve to be at home.”

The final line on UAlbany’s resume for a top-eight seed in the NCAA tournament carried with it an exclamation mark. The Great Danes rolled through the America East tournament, adding a 20-8 championship game win against Binghamton Saturday after Thursday’s 19-6 semifinal win against Stony Brook.

“That,” Marr said, “was as complete a weekend as we’ve ever had.”

The numbers back it up. UAlbany’s two-game scoring margin of plus-25 set a new tournament record, topping its own plus-22 showing in 2015. Meanwhile, junior attackman Connor Fields compiled 11 assists between the two games, breaking UAlbany legend Lyle Thompson’s tournament record of eight assists set in 2015. 

“We’re having a lot of fun,” said Marr, whose program won its fourth conference championship in five years, and eighth overall.

In Saturday’s championship at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium, seven Great Danes scored multiple goals. Junior attackman Justin Reh led with five goals, while Fields — who pushed past the 100-point mark for the season in Saturday’s win — collected three goals and six assists. Freshman attackman Mitch Laffin added three goals and two assists, as the nation’s top-scoring team found contributions from one player after another. 

“We’re balanced now,” Fields said. “We’re spreading the ball.”

“That’s really the bottom line for us right now,” Marr said. “We really do believe in each other.”

UAlbany (No. 1, 14-2) put Binghamton (No. 3, 11-5) away before halftime. The Great Danes led 12-4 after 30 minutes of action, scoring the bulk of their goals in electrifying bunches. 

“We weren’t looking ahead,” said UAlbany redshirt junior goalie JD Colarusso, who made seven saves.

UAlbany scored three goals in the first 1:53 of the game, three more in a span of 0:32 early in the second quarter, and five more in the final 3:33 of the half.

“They really outplayed us today on both ends of the field,” Binghamton head coach Kevin McKeown said.

Fields, who chipped in five goals to go with his 11 assists, was named the tournament’s top player and an all-tournament selection. Joining Fields from UAlbany on the all-tournament team were Colarusso, freshman faceoff specialist TD Ierlan and junior attackman Kyle McClancy.

After winning 22 of 23 on faceoffs Thursday, Ierlan was 21 of 29 against Binghamton. 

UAlbany entered its conference tournament likely needing to win it to secure its place in the national tournament. Now, the question for the Great Danes becomes whether they will play their first-round game next weekend at Casey Stadium or somewhere on the road. Reh said the Great Danes aren’t going to worry about that.

“Not really,” Reh said. “We’re just happy to have another game to play.”

UAlbany finds out Sunday during a 9 p.m. selection show where it will be seeded in the NCAA tournament. After Saturday’s win, the Great Danes were at No. 5 in the RPI.

Still, there’s a chance UAlbany could be sent on the road for the first round, likely to either Penn State or Johns Hopkins — the latter of which being the team Marr’s son Kyle, a Shenendehowa graduate, stars on as a sophomore.  

Like Reh, Marr said he’s not going to spend much time worrying where the Great Danes are seeded. His team is 7-1 on the road this season, has one of the nation’s best players in Fields, and seems to be peaking at the right time.

“I don’t think anybody wants to play us, to be honest with you,” Marr said.

Binghamton    1 3 4 0 — 8

UAlbany    4 8 4 4 — 20

Binghamton scoring: Griffin Konen 2-0, Tom Moore 3-0, Zach Barrett 1-0, Tim Mattiace 0-1, Thomas McAndrew 0-2, Stephen Petrelli 2-1, Joe Grossi 0-1. UAlbany scoring: Justin Reh 5-1, Connor Fields 3-6, Mitch Laffin 3-2, Adam Osika 2-0, Kyle McClancy 2-1, Bennett Drake 2-0, Troy Reh 0-1, John Glancy 1-1, Sean Eccles 2-0, Eli Lasda 0-2.

Goalies: Binghamton, Tanner Cosens, 6 saves. UAlbany, JD Colarusso, 7 saves.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Michael Kelly at 395-3109, [email protected] or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter. 

Categories: College Sports, Sports

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