ALBANY — So, can UMBC catch lightning in a bottle twice this year?
UMBC men’s lacrosse head coach Ryan Moran isn’t willing to bite on that one.
“We’re trying to not have the game get blown up like that,” Moran said with a laugh. “We’re just trying to keep our focus on practice every day.”
UMBC hosts No. 1 University at Albany in an America East matchup — currently scheduled for Saturday, but the game could move to Friday because of a forecasted snowstorm — just weeks after the UMBC’s men’s basketball team shocked Virginia to become the first-ever 16th seed to knock off a No. 1 seed in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Right after that historic win for the UMBC men’s basketball program, UAlbany men’s lacrosse head coach Scott Marr had considered using that upset as a reminder with his players not to take any foe lightly. In the end, Marr decided not to take that approach, since he doesn’t like to “bring negative into anything” with his team.
This week, too, Marr didn’t bring up his opposing school’s recent success against top-ranked teams . . . but for a different reason.
“Honestly,” Marr said, “I hadn’t thought about it this week. I forgot.”
Once reminded, Marr said he would stick to not bringing up that angle with his players.
“It’s two unrelated sports,” Marr said. “Totally different circumstances.”
After UMBC defeated Virginia 74-54 in the men’s basketball tournament, though, UAlbany was a part of the national conversation surrounding that stunning upset. That night, social media buzzed with references to the men’s basketball game this season in which UAlbany head coach Will Brown’s program had destroyed UMBC 83-79.
“Probably like the rest of America, I’m stunned,” Brown said the day after UMBC’s big win. “That’s not a knock against UMBC, but just how good Virginia is. They lose one ACC game all year, they win the conference tournament, they’re the No. 1 seed with the best defense. I thought Virginia would expose them with their size and on the glass.”
Moran said his 2-7 men’s lacrosse team is up against a similar challenge against the 10-0 Great Danes. Laughing, Moran said it has been “enjoyable week watching game film” because he likes the way UAlbany plays.
“But,” Moran said, “then you go back to the reality that you have to defend them.”
Moran said he hasn’t sought out any advice from UMBC men’s basketball head coach Ryan Odom about what it takes to knock off a top-ranked team.
“I think coach Odom is riding the recruiting trail right now,” Moran said, “so our paths haven’t crossed.”
Normally, though, they do. Moran and Odom were hired around the same time in 2016 at UMBC and are friendly with each other.
“Coach Odom came in a few months prior to me,” Moran said, “so we’re both fairly new around here.”