COLONIE — That season-opening loss at Syracuse didn’t cause the Great Danes to panic, but the strength of the University at Albany men’s lacrosse team’s early schedule could pose issues for the reloading Great Danes.
UAlbany head coach Scott Marr, whose unranked team plays 3 p.m. Saturday at No. 3 Cornell, gets that. So a few days after his Great Danes evened its record at 1-1 with a 13-12 victory at Drexel, Marr was candid in his assessment of what that victory meant to his team.
“I thought [at Drexel] was a must-win game,” Marr said Wednesday after a practice at Afrim’s Sports. “I thought we needed to get in the win column and get some confidence.”
After UAlbany plays 2-0 Cornell, the Great Danes play at home Tuesday against UMass and the following Saturday against No. 2 Maryland before they open America East Conference play.
The top challenge for UAlbany at Cornell will be limiting junior Jeff Teat, one of the nation’s top players. Teat has 10 goals and four assists through Cornell’s first two games.
Marr said senior Erik Dluhy will serve as the Great Danes’ primary defender against Teat, a player Marr said the Great Danes need to keep from being a playmaker for his teammates.
“We’re OK if he has three goals, but let’s limit him to one assist,” Marr said.
After not playing much in UAlbany’s opener, junior Davis Diamond scored a career-high four goals against Drexel.
“Every goal was assisted,” Diamond said. “It was all team offense.”
Previously, Diamond’s career-high was two goals. Diamond led the UAlbany offense against Drexel along with junior Jakob Patterson who scored five goals and had an assist.
“Our intensity is building. Our chemistry is building,” Marr said. “We just have to keep moving forward.”
JONES SHOULD PLAY
Marr said he expects sophomore faceoff specialist Austin Jones (flu) to play Saturday at Cornell after missing last weekend’s game at Drexel.
“He’s been getting stronger,” Marr said.
Jones won 10 of 16 faceoffs in his debut as a starter at Syracuse. Without Jones last weekend, UAlbany won 8 of 27 faceoffs.
“But the kids battled and we caused some turnovers,” said Marr, who had long-stick midfielders take seven of the faceoffs for the team.
Last year, UAlbany pulled off a memorable comeback win against Cornell.
Playing its first-ever game ranked No. 1 in the nation, UAlbany won 11-9 after it scored four unanswered goals in the final 3:18.
Sean Eccles scored the first two goals in UAlbany’s game-ending 4-0 run, Justin Reh scored the go-ahead goal and Connor Fields added the final score.
In that game, Fields had three goals and two assists, while TD Ierlan won all 24 faceoffs.