ALBANY — There are still details to iron out, but the UAlbany men’s lacrosse 2021 schedule is beginning to take shape and will kick off on the road against Drexel on Feb. 27.
The Great Danes will begin full practice on Monday and will have four weeks to prepare for a 12-game regular season that includes non-conference games against Drexel, UMass and Syracuse.
One of the few games that is completely nailed down with a date and starting time is UAlbany’s home opener at 3 p.m. Tuesday, March 9, against UMass, three days after the Great Danes’ America East opener at Hartford. To fill out nine league games in the eight-team America East, UAlbany will play Hartford and Vermont twice.
“We had a Zoom meeting this morning, and everybody’s excited to get rolling on Monday morning with practice,” head coach Scott Marr said. “Probably 95% of the team will be ready to practice on Monday, which is a good thing. We just have a couple guys still getting through physicals.”
The Syracuse game originally was supposed to have been played at UAlbany’s Casey Stadium, but has been moved to the Carrier Dome because the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the prospect of putting a big crowd at Casey.
Marr said they’re waiting to hear from Syracuse to determine whether the game will be the night of Thursday, April 8, or Friday, April 9.
He expects to see a rusty team on Monday, typical for players coming off a semester break.
“We’ve got to get in shape,” Marr said. “Guys have been running at home, but it’s different than running with the team. It’ll be a lot of stuff we normally do, get our sticks dialed in and do everything we do conditioning-wise to get our legs and our wind going. There will be some rust, but it’s like riding a bike and they’ll get back into it pretty quickly.”
As usual, the top four teams in the America East standings will make the semifinals of the conference tournament, and as of now, the higher seeds will host.
The UAlbany coaching staff has implemented a variety of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including seating charts, staggered times for weightlifting sessions and locker room usage.
Wednesdays in April have been reserved as make-up dates for America East teams that lose games because of pandemic pauses.
“We can only control what we can control,” Marr said. “Our effort, our attitude every day, doing the right things, wearing our masks, staying out of large groups … basically just putting our heads down right now and doing lacrosse and school.
“The social piece of college right now is not the same. So, for us, take that out of it, bear down and get good grades and be ready to play. Hold each other accountable so we can minimize the time that we’re off. That’s what we’ve been preaching to them.”
On Thursday, Great Danes senior attack Tehoka Nanticoke was named honorable mention on the USILA Preseason All-American teams.
“It’s nice to be recognized,” Marr said. “I think Jakob [Patterson] deserved that honor as well. He didn’t get it, so hopefully that motivates him a little bit more. I think he and Jakob were both on a good track last year. Tehoka was top 10 in scoring goals, and I think Jakob was 11th in the country in assists. I thought they were both playing well, and hopefully they can pick it back up and go in that direction again.
“I really like our team. I like our depth. In this time frame, with what we’re dealing with with the COVID, I think having depth is really important. If we were to miss some guys, we feel really comfortable with the roster as it goes down the lineup.”
UMBC goalie Tommy Lingner (honorable mention) was the only other America East player to make the USILA preseason teams.
Former Great Dane TD Ierlan of Yale was named first-team face-off specialist.