University at Albany and Union College, a pair of nationally ranked men’s lacrosse powers, will compete in NCAA tournament competition this afternoon.
The Great Danes, ranked 15th in the USILA Coaches Poll and 14th in the Warrior DI Media Poll, travel to Baltimore to take on the third-seeded Loyola Greyhounds in the opening round of the Division I tournament, while Union, ranked ninth in NCAA Division III, hosts 12th-ranked Amherst at 1 p.m. at Frank Bailey Field.
UAlbany (11-5), the highest-scoring team in the country, is the America East Conference champion and features the most prolific scoring duo in all of Division I men’s lacrosse in brothers Lyle and Miles Thompson. Both are among the five finalists for the Tewaaraton Award as the national player of the year.
Lyle Thompson, a junior, leads the nation in points (114) and assists (69). His first point today will give him the NCAA record for most points in a single season.
Miles Thompson has 74 goals and 34 assists. He needs eight goals to snap the NCAA record for most goals in a season.
Their cousin, Ty Thompson, adds 36 goals and 12 assists.
On the defensive side, All-America East first-team goalkeeper Blaze Riorden has a .545 save percentage.
Loyola, the 2012 national champion, is ranked No. 1 in both major polls. The 15-1 Greyhounds have won 15 straight games. Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year Justin Ward tops the team with 53 assists and 16 goals, while junior attack Nikko Portrello has 50 goals.
Tewaaraton finalist senior Joe Fletcher, the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, has 76 ground balls and 28 caused turnovers.
Union (14-3) is participating in the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament after coming off a 24-4 victory over New England College.
Union’s three losses have been by a combined four goals to the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked teams in the country — all on the road.
The Dutchmen are paced by junior goalie Stefan Basile, the Liberty League Defensive Player of the Year, and senior attack Rob Santangelo, who leads active Dutchmen in career scoring with 80 goals and 80 assists.
This is Union’s third NCAA tournament appearance. The Dutchmen also participated in 2011 and 2012.