The UAlbany women’s lacrosse team has one of its more important America East Conference games Saturday, and it just happens to be its first one this season.
The Great Danes host Vermont at noon in a rematch of last year’s league tournament championship game, which Vermont won 12-11.
UAlbany is 4-5, with statistics to back that middle-of-the-road record – albeit against very tough competition including three teams ranked in the top 20. It averages a healthy 13.67 goals per game, tied for second in the league, but allows 16.3 per game, last of the seven teams in the league. Its shot percentage of .484 is the league’s best, but its save percentage of .326 is last by a fair amount. Its 16.7 draw controls is a close second in the league, but its 13.8 ground balls per game is last in the league.
Vermont is 1-0 in the league and 4-4 overall. The Catamounts are riding a three-game win streak with victories over Harvard, Siena and Bryant. The teams have one common opponent so far, with UAlbany having beaten Fairfield 17-13, and Vermont having lost to the Stags 14-8.
UAlbany junior Katie Pascale, who leads the team with 42 points, knows the game will be a balancing of emotions between remembering last year’s championship and this year.
“Those feelings are still there, but we’re a new team,” Pascale said. “We have new girls on it. We’re ready to attack them with this new group.”
Pascale said the team needs to ride its momentum waves better to reduce the difference between goals for and goals against.
“Try to punch a lot in,” Pascale said, “but also realize when they score a goal and we really need to bounce back and lock down with our defense, just being connected all over the field will really help us. And when we do get those goalie saves and stops, to try to turn them into possessions.”
AND ON THE MEN’S SIDE…
UAlbany (1-0, 2-4) travels to play two-time defending league champion Vermont (1-0, 3-4) Saturday. It’s a juicy matchup for the second week of conference play, but Great Danes coach Scott Marr isn’t putting too much emphasis on it.
“Really play kind of within ourselves,” Marr said. “Some of the playoff games we lost to them, we tried to do too much. A lot of those games have been one-goal, two-goal [losses], so we’re right there.”
UAlbany got some good news in that Shaker graduate Will Pepe, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound defenseman who played all 15 games and made eight starts last year, practiced this week.
“It’s good to get his size and athleticism back in the lineup,” Marr said. “We’ll see how it goes this weekend. I’m not sure he’s ready to play a game yet, but he did practice full-speed Wednesday.
Marr said that he envisions the league being more wide open than it’s been the last couple of years, specifically mentioning Bryant and UMBC. Also, Binghamton is 1-0 in the conference and 5-2 overall.
The Union men host St. Lawrence at 2 p.m. Saturday, and it’s a pretty important game for the Dutchmen. For starters, it’s the first weekend of Liberty League action. Then there is the fact that No. 5 Union is coming off a 15-9 loss to No. 11/12 Middlebury on Tuesday. St. Lawrence, meanwhile, is 6-0, ranked seventh in both polls, and coming off two impressive wins at the Mustang Classic over Bates and Western New England.
A win would help the Dutchmen right their ship before hosting, Tuesday, a red-hot No. 1/2 Tufts team that’s averaging 24.2 goals per game and surely has revenge on its mind from last year’s 17-12 Union win.
It will be the 69th game between the teams, ranking as Union’s third-longest rivalry, trailing Williams (77) and RPI (83).
Sophomore attack Lauren Pendergast’s seven goals in Saint Rose’s 20-15 loss to Southern New Hampshire on Tuesday set a single-game record. In seven games, the Shenendehowa graduate has a team-high 21 goals.
Siena junior attack Rebecca Gilhooley and senior goalkeeper Sabrina Krasner swept the top MAAC honors last week. Gilhooley was the league’s Offensive Player of the Week, while Krasner snagged Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Gilhooley had seven goals and two assists in a win and a loss for the Saints. She has 16 goals for the season, more than quintupling her total from her first two seasons. Krasner faced 71 shots, made 20 saves and scooped eight ground balls. She already has career highs in saves (94), shots (272), wins (5) and minutes (534:24). She ranks first in the MAAC in saves per game with 10.44,
Russell Sage attackmen Bailey Martin, a graduate student, was selected the Empire 8’s Co-Player of the Week. Martin, the program’s all-time leading scorer, totaled 12 goals and four assists in three games last week. He set a program record with nine goals in a win over Saint Joseph’s-Long Island.
Contact Will Springstead at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @WLSpringstead.
GAZETTE COVERAGEEnsure access to everything we do, today and every day, check out our subscribe page at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe
More from The Daily Gazette:
Categories: College Sports, Siena College, Sports, UAlbany, Union College