Stringing Sticks: Pascale helps UAlbany women’s lacrosse post good numbers

UAlbany’s Katie Pascale with the ball against Syracuse’s Sarah Cooper during a women’s lacrosse game at UAlbany in Albany on April 13, 2021.

UAlbany’s Katie Pascale with the ball against Syracuse’s Sarah Cooper during a women’s lacrosse game at UAlbany in Albany on April 13, 2021.

A look at the offensive numbers for the UAlbany women’s lacrosse team reveals that they are not typical of a 3-6 squad.

The Great Danes have outscored opponents 128-126, and 14.2 goals per game isn’t too shabby.

“We’re sharing the ball really well, we have a lot of assisted goals, we have a lot of movement and we’re playing together,” UAlbany coach Katie Thomson said. “Overall, we have played pretty well considering we did lose a lot of our top scorers from last year’s team. But we’re excited for the younger players to step up into bigger roles.”

A big contributor to UAlbany’s offensive success is sophomore midfielder Katie Pascale. The America East Rookie of the Year last season, she also was named a second-team all-conference player and also was selected to the IWLCA All-Northeast Second Team.

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This season she has 25 goals and 19 assists in the nine games, which gives her career totals of 59 goals and 48 assists. Assuming she stays healthy, she has at least six more games this season, and that could have her name in pencil on several of the school’s career records. She will most likely already be in the top 10 for career assists when the season ends. And she’s already in the top 10 for draw controls, which she humbly said she’s still figuring out, noting that she hadn’t done them since her junior year of high school at Charles W. Baker in Baldwinsville.

Going to the circle for draw controls can transition to offense, so it’s playing into Pascale’s hands.

“I kind of like having the ball in my stick, so using that fast break is a big thing for us going forward,” Pascale said. “I know we can push the ball even more. I feel like in the Cornell game we started to figure it out and do that more. I think that can be a bigger part of our game.”

The fact that Pascale could end up with her name all over UAlbany’s record book isn’t a surprise to Thomson.

“Katie is a competitor,” Thomson said. “She puts her all into every single play. She’s tough and she’s a leader on and off the field, and will do anything for the team.

She puts the ball on net, she feeds, she’s limited her turnovers this season. Then at the midfield she’s on draw controls, and she’s a tough defender too.”

Pascale said she’s never thought about ending up in UAlbany’s record books, saying it would be “really cool,” but admits to being star struck when former players attend Alumni Day. Instead, she’s excited at the multi-faceted offense.

“I really think we’re so dynamic this year because we’ve got goal-scorers all over the place,” Pascale said. “Even if you shut down one of us, another person will step up. And we have freshmen who are figuring out their tweaks to become a bigger part of the offense.”

Two parts of that 3-6 overall record, however, include a 1-0 record in America East and a slew of strong non-conference teams, including Stanford, Yale, Drexel and UConn.

“We can really improve on things from those games so that when we do play America East games, we can get things polished by then.”

The top four teams qualify for the America East Tournament, and semifinals are May 5, with the championship on May 7.

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STILL ROLLING

The Union College men’s team, ranked seventh in both the Inside Lacrosse and USILA Division III polls, moved to 8-0 for the first time in the program’s history on Tuesday night with a 17-12 win over Tufts, ranked third in both polls.

The Dutchmen’s win came on the road in freezing temperatures, and the former is more impressive when it comes to the Jumbos. It was Tufts’ first non-league loss since 2016. It also was Tufts’ worst home loss since 2008.

Union’s defense rose to the occasion, as Tufts entered the game averaging a Division III-best 22.2 goals per game. Sophomore goalie Dan Donahue once again turned in a notable performance. In the second quarter, he made 11 saves on Tufts’ 12 on-target shots, helping the Dutchmen keep the lead. He finished with a career-high 16 saves. Also, the defense forced Tufts into 31 turnovers.

Offensively, Peter Burnes finished with a career-high five goals to go along with an assist. Hayden Frey added four goals and an assist, while Brian Davis, Keaton McCann and Kieran McGovern each scored twice.

Union hosts Clarkson on Saturday in Liberty League action.

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BRICK WALL

There are no moral victories, but Saint Rose’s 7-4 loss to No. 3-ranked Adelphi on Tuesday marked the closest the Golden Knights have ever come to the perennial Division II power.

Saint Rose was able to stay close because of the spectacular game turned in by junior goalie Ryan Fleming (Saratoga Springs), who made 18 saves for an impressive .720 save percentage. For the season, Fleming has started seven games, played in eight and recorded a 9.34 goals against average and .613 save percentage.

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AWARDS

It was quite a week for Siena senior Mary Soures. After being named MAAC Player of the Week, USA Lacrosse recognized Soures as its Division I Women’s Lacrosse Player of the Week. She became the first Siena player to earn that award. Soures had 13 goals over two games, including a school-record nine in the Saints’ 21-20 win over Iona. She is just one of three players nationally to have scored nine goals in a game this season.

Union’s Donahue was named the Liberty League Defensive Player of the Week on Tuesday for the fourth time this season. Donahue helped lead Union to victories over Middlebury and St. Lawrence. He had 15 saves in the win over Middlebury and another 13 in a victory over St. Lawrence. Prior to the Tufts game, he was 6-0 with a 7.33 goals against average and .642 save percentage. He is believed to be the first player in program history to earn four conference Defensive Player of the Week awards in the same season.

SUNY Cobleskill freshman goalie John Williams was named the North Atlantic Conference’s Men’s Lacrosse Rookie of the Week. Williams made 28 saves and picked up four ground balls in the Fighting Tigers’ 12-10 win over Husson. The victory gave the team its first win since April 13, 2019. Williams has a .627 save percentage and a 16.10 goals against average.

Russell Sage College sophomore and Guilderland High School graduate Grace Hines was selected the Empire 8 Conference Women’s Lacrosse Player of the Week. She registered 10 points on nine goals and an assist in three games. Her highlight was a five-goal outing in a win over SUNY Polytechnic. She also had six draw controls and four ground balls in a 2-1 week for the Gators.

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