Patterson playing key role for loaded UAlbany lacrosse team

Position changed from last season, he delivered 4 goals in opening win
UAlbany's Tehoka Nanticoke (1) and Jakob Patterson (17) walk off the field together Wednesday.
UAlbany's Tehoka Nanticoke (1) and Jakob Patterson (17) walk off the field together Wednesday.

ALBANY — How loaded is University at Albany men’s lacrosse this season?

Here’s one example: Sophomore Jakob Patterson was a starting attackman for most of last season and produced 23 goals, tied for fifth-best on the Great Danes — and he has had to change positions this year to stay on the field.

Here’s a second: Patterson has had no problem with that because, well, he gets it.

“Knowing Tehoka was coming in,” Patterson said Wednesday, “we knew a couple things were going to change.”

“Tehoka” is Tehoka Nanticoke, UAlbany’s prized freshman who debuted with five goals last weekend in the Great Danes’ 15-3 pummeling of Syracuse, a win that led to UAlbany moving to No. 2 in both national polls. UAlbany head coach Scott Marr plugged Nanticoke into his starting attack — along with seniors Connor Fields and Justin Reh — without hesitation, an easy move made easier by Patterson’s acceptance of his role change. Even when things were going well last year for him, Patterson said he understood he’d likely shift to become an offensive midfielder this season when Nanticoke arrived.

“On-the-field-wise, I think playing a different position, I’m a little more of a dodger this year than I was last year,” Patterson said. “I was more of a crease guy [last year]. That’s better for me, to start dodging more.”

Hard to argue with Patterson’s take, too, after he debuted at his new position with four goals on eight shots against Syracuse.

“He’s as slick as they come,” Marr said. “He’s got tremendous IQ for the game. Tremendous finisher, but can also move the ball.”

That’s with the pass and with his feet. Against Syracuse, Patterson often found himself matched up with a short-stick defender rather than one with a long pole. That’s likely to continue, as opposing defenses likely need to focus their long-stick defenders on Fields, Nanticoke, Reh and senior midfielder Kyle McClancy.

“We get him against a short stick a lot of times now — not against that [long] pole,” Marr said of Patterson. “That really gives him a lot of freedom to create a lot of offense for us.”

When such a matchup occurs, Nanticoke said Patterson is a top option for the Great Danes.

“That’s a positive for us,” Nanticoke said of those situations. “That’s a ‘green,’ I think we’d call it.”

UAlbany’s home opener is Saturday against Drexel. Patterson said the Great Danes’ offense can be even better than it was against Syracuse.

“We did start off a little slow,” said Patterson, whose team only scored four goals in the first half.

Clash of styles

Against Drexel, Marr expects his team’s free-wheeling attack to run into rugged opposition.

That’s how he remembers the playing style of Drexel head coach Brian Voelker when the two played together at Johns Hopkins.

“Their head coach and I were teammates in college. Brian was a defenseman and he was a very vicious defenseman,” Marr said. “He played in the box league for a long time for the Philadelphia Wings. So they kind of take on his personality, as well. As much fun as we have — and I have fun — they’re a really tough team. So they’re going to come at us.”

UAlbany (1-0) vs. Drexel (0-1) at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium starts Saturday at noon.

Reach Michael Kelly at [email protected] or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.

Categories: College Sports, Sports

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