ALBANY — It won’t make defeating Stony Brook any easier, but UAlbany women’s lacrosse head coach Katie Rowan Thomson said earlier this week that she doesn’t think the Great Danes’ losing streak against their top rival is “weighing” on them as they head into Saturday’s 5 p.m. game on Long Island.
“I really feel like we’re going in with really great confidence and belief in ourselves, and just excitement because it’s going to be a really tough challenge for us, but we’re up for it,” Rowan Thomson said. “Just really excited for hopefully a competitive game on Saturday.”
UAlbany has lost its last 14 games against Stony Brook, with seven of those defeats coming in the America East Conference championship game. The teams, though, haven’t played since the 2019 league championship game — a 21-7 win for Stony Brook — because last year’s in-progress season was canceled due to concerns related to the novel coronavirus pandemic before the squads were scheduled to meet.
That means two classes of players on UAlbany’s roster have never played Stony Brook, which is ranked No. 6 in this week’s media poll.
“We just keep preaching to come in with confidence,” UAlbany graduate student Madison Conway said of the team’s veteran players’ message to its freshmen and sophomores. “Play our game. Come in with confidence. Don’t worry about how big and huge this matchup is.”
UAlbany (2-0 America East, 5-2 overall) and Stony Brook (2-0, 5-2) possess matching records this season, but Stony Brook’s schedule has been a more challenging one. UAlbany’s losses this season are against an unranked UConn team and a Boston College squad that’s now ranked No. 5, while Stony Brook’s defeats have come against North Carolina and Syracuse, the nation’s top-ranked teams. UAlbany owns a win against a then-ranked Hofstra team, while Stony Brook defeated two teams that were ranked at the time they played.
“They’re really talented, top to bottom,” Rowan Thomson said of Stony Brook, which features a pair of players — Ally Kennedy and Taryn Ohlmiller — included on the Tewaaraton Award watch list.
UAlbany played multiple games in each of its first three weeks of play this season. The Great Danes, though, haven’t played since last Saturday’s 19-13 win against Binghamton ahead of this weekend’s matchup.
“So we’ve had this entire week to prepare and break down little things, and really put an emphasis on beating them — on playing them to our best abilities,” UAlbany graduate student Jordyn Marr said. “It’s been awesome to have this full week to break down smaller concepts that often you don’t have [time to do] when you’re having those back-to-back games.”
Both teams bring three-game winning streaks into the matchup.