The University at Albany-Siena College lacrosse rivalry doesn’t carry the same weight as the basketball rivalry, but it’s getting a little closer.
“I’ve got the Capital Cup, the trophy for winning this game, somewhere in my office,” said UAlbany head coach Scott Marr. “The nuts and bolts are a little loose.”
The Great Danes retained possession of that tattered trophy with a 13-6 victory over the Saints Wednesday night before a crowd of 879 at windy and cold John Fallon Field. Albany has won all six games in the series at the Division I level.
Corey Small connected for four goals, and Nate Sullivan added three for the 3-5 Great Danes, who have won three straight games after beginning the season 0-5. Four of those five losses were by one goal, and four of the Great Danes’ first five opponents were ranked among the nation’s top 20.
“It’s a great rivalry, and this series is great for area lacrosse,” said Marr. “The kids who came to watch this game saw some high-level Division I
Marr was asked the difference between the two Capital Region lacrosse programs at this stage of their development.
“I think we’re probably a little more athletic right now,” he said. “We’re bigger and stronger. We’ve got Jordan Levine, and he’s an outstanding athlete who is an All-American at midfield. Then, we’ve got size up front. We’ve just got more big, skilled and athletic kids.”
Siena head coach Brian Brecht gave the Great Danes credit, but he said his team is not that far away.
“They [the Great Danes] are very talented guys. They were one goal away from going to the final four last year,” he said. “We’re coming off a tough four-overtime loss [to Providence]. I think they are a very athletic team that moves the ball well. Once we got behind, we didn’t have the luxury of waiting for the best shots. We had our opportunities.
“They are a fully funded program, but we’ve beaten two top-20 teams this year ourselves. I think Albany is a little deeper and a little more athletic than we are, but we are getting deeper. We had our chances, but we didn’t stick them tonight.”
Siena scored the first goal of the game when junior midfielder Mike Lashomb tallied 6:17 into the game, but the Danes quickly took control with the next five goals to grab a 5-1 lead with 13:18 left in the opening half.
Albany broke the game open with five goals in the third period before the Saints (6-4) made a run by scoring three consecutive goals to start the fourth period.
“Every year, Siena is getting better. We expected them to be a tough team,” said Small. “I think we kind of relaxed a little in the fourth quarter, but then we came back.”
“I think Siena is a great program, and I know a few of their guys,” said Steve Ammann, who registered a pair of goals to go along with three assists.
“I’d like to think we’re on a roll right now.”
“We’re playing well right now,” said Marr. “The 13 goals we scored mean a lot. Our defense has been there all year, but it’s taken a while to get our offense going.”
Matt Girsh and Matt Leithead scored two goals apiece for
Siena. Albany’s next game will be an America East Conference matchup at Hartford on Saturday.
Siena 1 1 1 3 – 6
Albany 4 3 5 1 – 13
Siena scoring: Matt Girsh 2-0, Matt Leithead 2-0, Bryan Hale 1-0, Mike Lashomb 1-0, Ryan Duggan 0-1, Chris Zarins 0-1. Albany scoring: Corey Small 4-0, Nate Sullivan 3-0, Steve Ammann 2-3, Brian Caufield 1-2, John Alpizar 1-2, Kyle Crotty 1-0, Derek Kreuzer
1-0, Jordan Levine 0-1.
Goalkeepers: Siena, Brent Herbst, 13 saves, Tom Morr, 1 save; Albany, Brett Queener, 10 saves, Dan McKeon, 3 saves.