ALBANY — Some goals, you got to see to believe.
University at Albany men’s lacrosse junior defenseman Matt Perla — who never previously had taken a shot in a college game before Wednesday night — had one of those against Harvard in the Great Danes’ 14-6 win at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium.
So this happened tonight… MATT PERLA from @ualbanymlax with the absolute BOMB from 50 yards out! @notthefakeSVP how bout some #SCtop10 love for the Great Danes?!? ????? #GreatnessLivesHere #DaneTrain pic.twitter.com/EvwLoaaAjU
— UAlbany Sports (@UAlbanySports) March 29, 2018
With Harvard looking to force a turnover using a 10-man ride — a defensive tactic involving a team’s goalie leaving the goal to directly defend an attacking player — in the fourth quarter, Perla took aim from more than 50 yards out and delivered the game’s top highlight. His first college goal made for a sensational moment, as his long shot zipped past a diving Harvard goalie Robert Shaw’s attempt to race his way in front of the ball.
“I honestly just heard Coach say, ‘Shoot it,’ so I shot it,” said Perla, whose goal put UAlbany up 12-5 with 9:22 to go in the game. “It was a little bit lucky, but it went in — so, happy with that.”
“It was wide open and it was just awesome when it went it,” UAlbany head coach Scott Marr said.
UAlbany, ranked No. 1 in the nation and the last undefeated team this year in NCAA men’s lacrosse, practices both how to use and break a 10-man ride. Last year, Maryland actually scored on a similar play against UAlbany during the teams’ regular season game in Albany.
When the tactic is used against his team, Marr said he’s not afraid to see his players take a long shot at an empty net.
“Why not?” Marr said.
But Perla seemed as surprised as anyone that the shot actually found its mark.
“Happened to go in,” Perla said, “so that’s always good.”
The response from an announced attendance of 2,283 didn’t disappoint.
“The whole crowd went crazy,” said UAlbany redshirt senior goalie JD Colarusso, who was credited with the goal’s assist.
“For us on the field,” Marr said, “it [was] loud and it really does send a good jolt of energy through you.”
When asked after UAlbany improved to 9-0, Perla — who attended Orchard Park High School in Section VI — didn’t need long to remember when he had last scored a goal.
“Junior year of high school against Lockport,” Perla said. “It was a while ago.”
Before that? Well, there haven’t been too many scores for Perla.
“Yeah, I can count [my goals] on one hand,” Perla said. “It doesn’t happen much.”