For the second week in a row, the UAlbany men’s lacrosse team got off to a slow start.
One twist not in the Great Danes’ favor this time was that Jakob Patterson wasn’t in uniform.
And they were playing Vermont, a team against which you’re going to need every resource at your disposal.
The Catamounts took a 10-4 lead at halftime, and a UAlbany comeback fell short, as the Great Danes fell to 2-1 with a 14-12 loss to their America East rival.
UAlbany trailed by six midway through the third quarter, then got within 12-11 with 8:50 left in the game on a goal by Tehoka Nanticoke, but Vermont regained control on goals by Griffin Fenech and Amos Gilbert, who each were able to win one-on-one battles to create scoring chances close to the cage.
“First loss of the season, it really was a shot to the mouth that … we’re going to bounce back, come out hard next week,” senior Kyle Casey said.
“We just didn’t compete hard enough,” head coach Scott Marr said. “We did in the second half, but you’ve got to play a full game. They took advantage of it. Disappointing, because I think we can play a lot better than we did.
“I think we played about 20 minutes out of the whole second half, that was about it. The rest of it was kind of … garbage.”
Marr said it was game-time decision not to play Patterson, who is “just banged up.”
“Just trying to rest him, get him healthy for the future,” Marr said with a sigh. Patterson, a post-grad attack, missed the season opener due to COVID-19 protocols, but had four goals and four assists in a 16-6 win at Hartford last week.
Vermont (2-2) got the upper hand in the first half by scoring five goals in each of the first and second quarters, the last of which was an underhanded backhand by Gilbert as he was getting hit with six-tenths of a second left.
In the second half, UAlbany strung together two goals by Ron John and one each from Corey Yunker, Casey and Nanticoke during a 5-0 run to cut it to 12-11.
Fenech’s goal came with 4:40 left, and Gilbert made it 14-11 just over a minute later.
“They outworked us, out-groundballed us, outhustled us and they went and got the win,” Casey said. “We just didn’t fight back hard enough. We’ll get back after it Monday and show them next time we play them.”
“I think everyone was kind of out of it at the start,” sophomore Graydon Hogg said. “We need to get more into it on the bench, on the field, communicate, all those things. We just didn’t have the juice we needed. We pushed back, but in order to to beat teams like Vermont, we have to have a full game.”
UAlbany plays at Binghamton next week, but will also keep an eye on a return engagement with Vermont, in Burlington on April 12.
“I wish I was playing them next week,” Hogg said. “Obviously, we’ve got some games before that to build and improve, and then we’ll get ’em back.”
Vermont 5 5 2 2 — 14
UAlbany 3 1 4 4 — 12
Vermont scoring: Levandowski 1-1, Closterman 1-0, Fenech 1-1, McConvey 2-0, Limoges 4-3, McCormack 2-2, Haley 0-1, Hunter 1-1, Gilbert 2-0. UAlbany scoring: Nanticoke 2-0, Casey 2-2, Yunker 1-0, C. Hay 0-1, John 2-0, Hogg 2-1, Kunz 1-0, McComber 1-0, Burgmaster 1-0. Goalies: Vermont, Cornell, 14 saves. UAlbany, Donnelly, 14 saves.