COLONIE — It’s an impressive enough beard that it gains attention.
“I do get a lot of compliments for it,” said University at Albany men’s lacrosse junior Pat Barrow, whose dark facial hair pours out of his helmet. “It’s a good conversation starter for me. The refs actually were asking me about it at the Syracuse game.”
While UAlbany struggled in that game, Barrow was one of the bright spots for the Great Danes coming out of it. His play garnered plenty of attention from his coaches and teammates, as the long-stick midfielder brought much-needed physicality for a group that head coach Scott Marr often described as “blue collar” in leading up to the season.
“Pat’s done a great job,” said Marr, whose team looks to even its record when it plays noon Saturday at 1-1 Drexel. “He’s earned the No. 1 pole spot because he’s hustled, really, from Day 1 since he got on campus. It’s his turn.”
Barrow rarely saw game action in his first two seasons at UAlbany because of the presence of veteran Great Danes. In his first real chance to play extended minutes, Barrow had a team-high three ground balls last weekend at the Carrier Dome to help lead the UAlbany defense.
“Pat’s a tremendous athlete. Physical. Just a really good player, overall,” UAlbany senior Matt Perla said after Wednesday's practice at Afrim's Sports. “He’s been stuck behind some really good players these last couple years, but that [he played well against Syracuse] was no surprise to us.”
“Pat’s a smart player,” Marr said. “He’s a strong kid and he plays hard.”
The 5-foot-11, 188-pound Barrow is ready to take on a challenge, too. With star faceoff specialist TD Ierlan gone to Yale, UAlbany plans occasionally to utilize a long-stick player on faceoffs to give sophomore Austin Jones a break. Against Syracuse, that player became Barrow.
“I’d never done that in an actual game before that,” said Barrow, who was high school teammates with Ierlan at Victor.
Barrow went 0 of 2 on faceoffs, but UAlbany’s goal is not to win the faceoffs Barrow contests, but to use those plays as opportunities to immediately apply defensive pressure to opponents.
“We’ll use it again this weekend,” Marr said.
After last weekend’s loss, UAlbany dropped out of the national rankings for the first time since 2014. Barrow said the Great Danes will approach their second game with added motivation.
“We’re hungry for every game,” Barrow said, “but there’s definitely a chip on our shoulder to make up for that loss.”