ALBANY — Tehoka Nanticoke won’t be there.
For the first time since Feb. 29 of last year, fans will be, albeit a small number of them.
The UAlbany men’s lacrosse team will play host to UMass Lowell at 3 p.m. at Fallon Field on Saturday, which will be the first game since their star attack was kicked off the team, and also the first game that fans will be allowed through the gates.
Head coach Scott Marr announced on Wednesday that Nanticoke, the Great Danes’ leading scorer, had been dismissed from the program “based on internal team issues.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday that smaller college sports venues would be permitted two designated spectators per player for any given game, with a maximum of 200, so there will be some fans at Fallon Field, a welcome development for a team that has a strong public following.
“We had fans at Stony Brook last week, and it was awesome,” Marr said Friday morning. “It’s just noise, there’s people there. It was much better than having nobody. I got heckled a few times, which is always fun. I said to the people that were heckling me and giving me a hard time, ‘This is great, I love it.'”
Nanticoke’s rollercoaster senior season included missing the opener against Colgate because of COVID-19 protocols and a victory over UMass on March 23 because of a one-game suspension by the America East for a fight during the Binghamton game on March 20.
The Great Danes are coming off a 16-10 loss at Stony Brook in which UAlbany fell behind 6-1.
Marr has declined to expand on the Nanticoke dismissal.
Perhaps it’s a coincidence, but he pointed at the Colgate and UMass games as examples of the team playing with cohesiveness, while making general observations during his weekly Wednesday Zoom conference.
“I don’t think we played very smart against Stony Brook,” Marr said. “They played a much cleaner game than we did. We’ve got to get off to a better start. But I feel like our energy is good.
“You look at the UMass game and the Colgate game, we had really good energy throughout the whole game. The more we play as one unit all over the field, the better off we’ll be.”
One theme for the Great Danes (2-2 AE, 4-2 overall) this week is to not look past UMass Lowell (1-3, 1-4).
The much-anticipated game at Syracuse is next Thursday.
“We can’t overlook any team going forward, especially every team in our conference, which has gotten increasingly better over the years,” senior Alex Burgmaster said.
“We’re in no position to take anybody lightly,” Marr said. “We’ve got to get to 3-2 and then look forward to the next one, against UMBC. We know we need to come out and play well. And for a lot of the teams in the conference, it’s still a big win to beat an Albany team.”