ALBANY — At the last minute, the University at Albany men’s lacrosse team is headed to take part in the Deyhontsigwa’ehs The Creator’s Game, Lacrosse Weekend in Syracuse.
Several Great Danes, though, were going to be there, anyway … playing for the Iroquois Nationals, one of the three teams UAlbany will scrimmage Sunday.
Four current Great Danes — sophomore Ron John, redshirt sophomore Colyn Lyons, freshman Tehoka Nanticoke and senior Dalton Roundpoint — will compete today for the Iroquois Nationals, which is using Sunday’s scrimmages as part of their tryout process. That means those current Great Danes will scrimmage against UAlbany Sunday at the Carrier Dome, while likely teaming with some former Great Danes such as program greats Lyle Thompson and Miles Thompson.
“This was kind of a shock, at first,” said Nanticoke, who is projected as the nation’s top freshman. “I was going to be there, anyway, and then I found out this week that Albany’s going, too. This is cool.”
UAlbany will also scrimmage Team Israel inside the Carrier Dome, as the Great Danes serve as a fill-in for Syracuse, which had to pull out of the event earlier this week because of a health situation on its campus involving confirmed cases of mumps. It’s been reported that at least one Syracuse player has been diagnosed with the illness.
“So they’re basically quarantined for a couple weeks until they figure it out,” UAlbany head coach Scott Marr said Friday. “We were the preferred choice [to fill in] for them if we could make it work because of our proximity, but also how we play and who we have on our team. It worked out well for us, and our administration was all for it, which was great.”
In addition to its scrimmages inside the Carrier Dome, UAlbany will also scrimmage The Hill Academy Sunday in the Syracuse area.
Marr, whose program has never previously played a men’s national team, said his players competing for the Iroquois Nationals will also spend some time playing Sunday with UAlbany.
“So they’ll play for us, but they’ll mainly play for the Iroquois Nationals,” Marr said.
Lyons said he’s excited for Sunday’s action, but that playing against his UAlbany teammates will be different in Sunday’s setting than during a practice.
“It’s a tryout period,” Lyons said. “So I still need to have mindset of trying to make a team — but I have to play my [college] team to do that, which is weird.”
Lyons was one of several current UAlbany players to represent the Iroquois Nationals during the U19 World Field Lacrosse Championships in 2016. Nanticoke was named that tournament’s top attackman, as the Iroquois Nationals finished in third place.
Sophomore Mitch Laffin was also on that U19 team, but will only play for the Great Danes Sunday in scrimmages that cap a four-day lacrosse event.
“It’s a big weekend, a lot of people coming together,” Laffin said. “It should be a lot of fun.”