It’s the challenge the UAlbany women’s lacrosse program hasn’t been able to solve for years.
The Great Danes, though, don’t approach their latest matchup with Stony Brook, their top nemesis, with a sense of dread. It’s not easy to take on a program that’s defeated them in 16 consecutive matchups and the last seven America East Conference championship games, sure, but Saturday’s 1 p.m. league championship game at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on Long Island was inevitably where the Great Danes’ season was headed.
“It is tough when you haven’t beat a team when you’ve come face to face with them so many times,” UAlbany graduate student goalie Georgia Schneidereith said after Thursday’s semifinal win against Vermont, “but we have nothing to lose.”
Schneidereith added: “Honestly, we have nothing to lose out there.”
UAlbany (No. 2 seed, 11-6 overall) has lost twice this season to Stony Brook (No. 1, 13-2), which is ranked No. 6 in the country. The first game between the teams, an 18-11 decision for the Seawolves, wasn’t particularly competitive, but the second matchup — a 17-10 Stony Brook win on April 24 — saw the Great Danes build a 3-0 lead in the opening 10 minutes before Stony Brook roared back with 11 of the game’s next 13 goals.
Stony Brook had a slow start, too, in Thursday’s semifinals against UMBC and trailed 4-0 . . . but, then, produced a 25-13 win that saw the Seawolves set a new America East single-game postseason record for goals. Star duo Taryn Ohlmiller and Allie Kennedy dominated in that game, as the graduate students combined for a dozen goals and three assists as Stony Brook won its 53rd consecutive game against an America East foe.
Against Stony Brook and its high-scoring offense, Schneidereith said the Great Danes need to keep their focus on their game plan.
“With Stony Brook, what’s really important is just focusing on us. I think it’s really easy for teams to get focused on the opponent and you can’t control them,” Schneidereith said. “You can only control yourself and your teammates, and what you do out on that field.”
With the exception of its games against Stony Brook, UAlbany has mostly rolled through its games this season against conference foes. The Great Danes started their 17-8 semifinal win against Vermont with an 8-0 run, and the matchup served as the seventh game this season against a conference opponent that UAlbany won by at least six goals.
UAlbany head coach Katie Rowan Thomson has praised her team’s attitude and depth throughout the season, and said she expects both attributes to help her team in its latest matchup with Stony Brook.
“We’re not done yet. We’re not done with this group,” Rowan Thomson said. “We’re not done as a team. So we’re just excited to move forward.”
Even if that means heading into yet another postseason matchup with a foe the Great Danes have struggled so much with for years.
“We’re looking forward to another shot at it,” Rowan Thomson said.