ALBANY — For Jordyn Marr, there “really wasn’t much of a decision” to be made.
She was allowed to come back for an extra year with the UAlbany women’s lacrosse program — so that meant she’d be back for a fifth year with the Great Danes.
“I didn’t even consider not doing it,” said Jordyn Marr, a Shenendehowa graduate and daughter of the school’s men’s lacrosse coach Scott Marr.
The UAlbany women’s lacrosse program played five games last year before concerns related to the novel coronavirus pandemic eliminated the remainder of its season. Jordyn Marr was one of 12 seniors on that team, and four of them — Mara Bureau, Madison Conway, Marr and Georgia Schneidereith — are utilizing the extra year of playing eligibility with the Great Danes they were granted from the NCAA because of the early end of last season.
Head coach Katie Rowan Thomson said the invitation was extended to all 12 of those UAlbany seniors to come back for this year’s season. By the time last season ended, though, a number of those players had jobs lined up or graduate school plans taking them elsewhere. Marr acknowledged it “would’ve been awesome” for the Great Danes to have that dozen players back for this 2021 season, but optimism remains high for a team picked to finish second behind Stony Brook in the America East Conference’s preseason poll for the ninth consecutive season.
“We’re really, really excited about the team that we have in place,” Rowan Thomson said during a Wednesday teleconference with reporters. “We feel like we have a lot of depth at every position.”
They know they have a ton of energy and enthusiasm, too. Senior Kendra Harbinger — another Shenendehowa graduate playing for the Great Danes — said she had “no expectations” regarding her team having a season, until the squad’s 16-game schedule that starts with a Feb. 20 game at Boston College was released.
“It’s a great feeling to be able to play in less than two weeks,” said Harbinger, whose team started practicing on Feb. 1. “The energy has been there from the Day 1 of practicing, so I think we are very grateful for every day we’re on the field and really excited to just get that game experience again.”
Fellow senior Kyla Zapolski said it was a “really cool moment” when the team’s schedule was released. For her, though, the goal throughout the offseason was simply to make it back on a practice field with her teammates this year given the uncertainty around all sports seasons in the last year.
“Honestly, I wasn’t too sure. I was trying to be positive. I was trying to be hopeful,” Zapolski said. “But I was honestly just hoping to be able to get back and practice as a full team.”
Rowan Thomson said her program members are being tested multiple times each week for COVID-19 as they work toward the season. It will certainly be an unusual one, and one likely to include cancellations and postponements related to the pandemic.
Still, it’s a college lacrosse season — and Marr said the Great Danes know how special it is that they get to have one.
“The energy is so high. We’re so excited to get back,” Marr said. “After having that feeling of your season being ripped away, you now appreciate your sport in a completely different way that you never had before.”