ALBANY — It’s a talented team, one filled with reliable veteran stars that head coach Katie Rowan Thomson knows she can lean on throughout the UAlbany women’s lacrosse program’s 2021 season.
What’s so encouraging, though, about the team’s first games is how the Great Danes have received such strong contributions from program newcomers.
“They bring a lot of great energy to the field,” Rowan Thomson said earlier this week ahead of her team’s America East Conference home game Saturday at noon against Binghamton.
In particular, freshmen Bryar Hogg and Katie Pascale have added an extra jolt to UAlbany’s offensive attack. Pascale is tied for third on the team’s scoring leaderboard with 11 goals and seven assists, while Hogg has six goals and an assist.
Three of Hogg’s goals were scored in last weekend’s conference opener against New Hampshire, a 13-12 overtime win for the Great Danes. The last of Hogg’s goals was the game-winning score.
“I know I’m a freshman, but I want to contribute every way I can,” Hogg said. “I just want to work as hard as I can to possibly earn a spot on the playing field because I know each and every game is not granted. I just want to continue to work hard and just prove myself.”
Bryar Hogg’s older brother, Graydon Hogg, is a sophomore on the men’s lacrosse team at UAlbany. While his freshman season was cut short when concerns related to the novel coronavirus pandemic canceled the majority of the campaign, he has registered 13 goals and four assists in six career games.
Bryar Hogg committed to UAlbany a few years after her brother, who was an early commit for Scott Marr’s Great Danes.
“They’re really close. They’re really tight, and we were fortunate to grab Bryar, as well,” Rowan Thomson said. “She’s an incredible player, and we love having her here.”
UAlbany’s leading scorer on the season is senior Kyla Zapolski. The Great Danes’ roster includes 13 players who are either seniors or fifth-year seniors, but Zapolski said the emergence of players such as Hogg and Pascale has helped push the team to its strong start.
“I think when freshmen are really stepping up and playing a big role on our team, everyone’s getting better,” said Zapolski, who has produced 19 goals and three assists.
UAlbany (1-0 America East, 4-2 overall) hosts Binghamton (1-0, 1-0) this weekend. The Great Danes are coming off a dominant performance against Hofstra, an 18-7 win against a team ranked No. 20 in this week’s Inside Lacrosse media poll.
“We’re just trying to build momentum from [that win] and keep that going, and keep playing at a high level in all aspects of the game,” Rowan Thomson said.
After an abbreviated preseason because of restrictions related to the pandemic, Hogg said the Great Danes “finally hit our rhythm” in the last few games.
“And we’re just going to continue to get better each and every day,” Hogg said.