There’s no singular “superstar” on the UAlbany men’s lacrosse roster, no player the caliber of a past program great such as Connor Fields or Lyle Thompson, but head coach Scott Marr is confident about the team he’s bringing to Ithaca to play nationally ranked Cornell this weekend.
“I like the group. We play hard. We practice hard. They’re certainly enthusiastic and they’re having a lot of fun together,” Marr said Thursday ahead of his team’s season-opening game Saturday at 2 p.m. “So we’ve just got to put it together on Saturday. Obviously, playing a quality opponent in Cornell, and [we] just want to go in and compete hard, and see where the chips fall.”
Both teams are playing their first game of the season, and Cornell carries the No. 14 ranking in the coaches poll into the contest despite not having played in more than 700 days since the Big Red didn’t play at all last season due to restrictions related to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
While preparing for any season-opening game is tough for a coaching staff, Marr said it’s a unique challenge to ready to play a team with a new head coach and so many new players compared to when the club last played in 2020.
“So we don’t have a huge idea of who they are and what they are,” Marr said.
For Game 1, though, that’s OK for the Great Danes. Their focus is on themselves.
“It really is going to be more about us, to be honest with you,” Marr said. “We have to go in and we have to execute on both ends of the floor.”
UAlbany finished 8-5 last season and ended its 2021 campaign with a defeat in the America East Conference game against Vermont. The Great Danes suffered several significant personnel losses from last season, including leading scorer Jakob Patterson, but UAlbany counts among its returning players Corey Yunker and Graydon Hogg, the Great Danes’ Nos. 2 and 3 scorers in 2021.
A junior, Hogg said he’s enjoyed the Great Danes’ attitude as they’ve readied for the 2022 season.
“We just battle, man. It’s a great squad,” Hogg said. “We’ve got a lot of skill. But I think the big thing is that we work hard. Every practice, it’s go time. So this weekend’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Marr said “the chemistry of this team is coming along,” and expects there to be some growing pains for the Great Danes as they get going, especially since the team made a relatively recent shift away from using any two-way midfielders in favor of set offensive and defensive groups.
The team’s depth, though, is what Marr said made such a decision the right one.
“We have a lot of really good, quality players,” Marr said.
STOP THE DROUGHT
The Siena men’s lacrosse program will host Providence at noon Saturday, as the Saints seek their first win since Feb. 29, 2020.
Siena (0-1) has lost its last 11 games after starting its season with a 14-7 loss to LIU. The Saints were 0-8 last season and dropped its final two games of the 2020 campaign that was cut short due to restrictions related to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Providence (1-1) started its season with a 16-9 win against Holy Cross, then lost 19-7 against Bryant. Evan McGreen leads Providence with seven goals this season.
In Siena’s opener, Chris Watts scored a team-best three goals.
After nearly upsetting nationally ranked Stanford last weekend, the UAlbany women’s lacrosse team plays at Colgate this weekend.
UAlbany (0-1) outscored Stanford 6-2 in the first quarter and 6-1 in the fourth of its 15-14 loss. Stanford outscored the Great Danes 10-0 in the second period.
In that defeat, Hailey Carroll scored four goals to lead UAlbany, which also got three goals and three assists from Katie Pascale, and three scores from Sarah Falk.
Heading into Saturday’s 3 p.m. game in Hamilton, Colgate (0-2) has already lost to two America East programs. Colgate fell 17-8 to Vermont and 14-4 against Binghamton.