UAlbany men’s lacrosse loses to Maryland, but feels good about its performance

Lacrosse coach and player on sideline

UAlbany head coach Scott Marr during a college lacrosse game against UMass at UAlbany in Albany on Tuesday.

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ALBANY — Except for a few runs it couldn’t answer, the UAlbany men’s lacrosse team hung with the defending national champion on Saturday.

In the end, fourth-ranked Maryland showed who it is in a 16-9 victory before a crowd of 1,778 at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium. 

“Final score 16-9, it wasn’t that kind of ball game, it was close the whole way,” UAlbany coach Scott Marr said.

It was especially close in the first half. UAlbany (1-4) took leads of 1-0 and 2-1 on goals by Jack Pucci and Declan Palandjian. But Maryland (4-2) went on a 5-0 run from there to lead 6-2 with 9:31 left in the second quarter. 

The Great Danes answered with two of their own from Alex Pfeiffer and Graydon Hogg, and managed to enter halftime just down 7-5. 

One of the keys to UAlbany being close at that point was the fact it was winning the ground ball battle, 22-16. Maryland flipped that script in the second half, finishing with 42 to UAlbany’s 41.

Once again, the teams traded goals through the first 8 1/2 minutes of the third, with Albany getting to within 9-7 on a low hummer from Pucci.

The Terrapins, though, closed the quarter on a 3-0 run, and that was largely the difference.

Still, the overall performance left the Great Danes feeling pretty good, especially considering their 24-6 loss at Maryland last year.

“I think we feel good,” said Pucci, who led UAlbany with three goals. “I think we feel unsatisfied. This is the second top-five team we played really well for the vast majority of the game. It feels like we left a little something out there.

“I think we’re really proud of the strides we made since Tuesday [a 9-6 loss to UMass] … and I think we’re going to stride in the right direction,” Pucci added. 

“I’m very, very proud of our effort,” Marr said. “We talked all week about playing the full 60 minutes and not worrying about the score. We fell short, that’s the way the game goes. Credit to [Maryland]. They’re obviously a very good team, but we’re definitely showing signs of being a very good team ourselves.”

“We felt like it was going to be a boxing match,” Maryland coach John Tillman said. “We threw a couple of punches, and they’d punch right back. Hopefully, you can respond back to it.”

Breaking the game down individually, UAlbany got good performances from defenseman Elijah Gash, faceoff man Reagan Endres, who won 16 of 29, and goalie Jack VanValkenburgh, who finished with 10 saves, many of which were challenging.

Conversely, Maryland goalie Brian Ruppel made 13 saves and robbed the Great Danes of a couple great looks.

“I give Reagan, their faceoff guy, a lot of credit,” Tillman said. “This was a game where Luke [Wierman] had been doing so well most games, we knew there would be a game where something would happen where we couldn’t rely on Luke having statistically such a strong game, and I felt like this was one of them.”

“He was fantastic,” Marr said of Endres. “You can’t ask for any better than that.”

So, the Great Danes are 1-4 as they enter play in the America East, starting next Saturday at home against UMass Lowell. But they don’t feel like their record.

“I think it’s very misleading,” Pucci said. “On paper, yes, it’s 1 and 4. But watch our practice, watch our game today, Drexel, Cornell, even glimmers against Syracuse, we’re not a 1 and 4 team.”

“One and four is what we are, that’s our record, but I do think we’re better than a 1-4 team,” Marr said. “I think the schedule is a tough road. Two teams that played in the national championship game last year and a resurgent Syracuse team. Again, I think we kind of gave one away to UMass on Tuesday. … I think we’re making really positive strides. I’m excited to get into conference play next Saturday.”

Maryland 3 4 5 4 — 16

UAlbany 2 3 2 2 — 9

Maryland scoring: Erksa 4-0, Maltz 4-0, Koras 3-1, Kelly 1-2, Long 1-2, Whittier 1-2, Trader 1-0, Murphy 1-0, Brennan 0-3, Spanos 0-1. UAlbany scoring: Pucci 3-0, Hogg 2-0, Palandjian 2-0, Sheehan 1-1, Pfeiffer 1-0, Decker 0-1. Goalies: Maryland, Ruppel, 13 saves. UAlbany, VanValkenburgh, 10 saves.

Contact Will Springstead at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @WLSpringstead.

Categories: College Sports, Sports, UAlbany

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