ALBANY — Scott Marr had a lot to say Monday regarding why sophomore Tehoka Nanticoke had not played in the Great Danes’ game last weekend.
The University at Albany men’s lacrosse head coach had little to say Saturday regarding why Nanticoke didn’t play in another weekend game against a powerful opponent.
“My decision not to play him,” Marr said after his team’s 14-9 loss to No. 7 Maryland Saturday at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium.
Did Nanticoke, UAlbany’s most-talented player, not play for disciplinary reasons?
“Team thing,” Marr said. “Nothing for the public to know.”
Was Nanticoke, who scored three goals in Tuesday’s loss against UMass, healthy enough to play?
“Nothing for the public to know,” Marr said. “It’s in-house.”
Could UAlbany have used Nanticoke’s scoring ability against the Terrapins?
“Sure,” Marr said.
Will Nanticoke play next weekend when they start conference play against UMass Lowell?
“We’ll see,” Marr said. “We’ll see how the week goes.”
This last week was a wild one for Marr’s program, even before Nanticoke didn’t play against Maryland. The previous Saturday, Nanticoke sat because he was ruled ineligible after making a social-media post that appeared to promote a business. Marr spent a chunk of his Monday blasting the NCAA before Nanticoke was reinstated, part of what became a back-and-forth featuring the coach and the national organization that reached a point that UAlbany athletic director Mark Benson issued a statement Wednesday to “publicly repudiate” Marr’s “unacceptable” remarks.
Then, less than a week after Marr expressed his displeasure regarding not being able to use Nanticoke in a one-goal loss at Cornell, the coach said he made the decision himself to bench his top star against Maryland. Nanticoke warmed up and was in uniform for the game.
“There’s plenty of guys on the bench other than him that are working their way toward trying to play also,” Marr said. “So it’s just a personnel decision made by me, and we’re just going to keep moving forward. At some point, if he earns his way into the lineup that way, then we’ll play him.”
UAlbany (1-4) briefly led in Saturday’s game against Maryland (6-1), but mostly tried to play catch-up throughout the afternoon. Down 7-2 at halftime, UAlbany rallied to within 11-9 of Maryland midway through the fourth quarter, but the Terrapins answered with a game-ending 3-0 run.
Junior Mitch Laffin provided a spark with three goals, all in the second half, for UAlbany. Laffin was originally slated to start this season for the Great Danes, but had been limited since suffering an ankle/foot injury the practice before UAlbany’s first game. Before Saturday’s game, Laffin had made only two appearances this season and hadn’t attempted a shot.
“It wasn’t really me doing anything individually,” Laffin said of his three-goal game. “I just kind of got into the right spots at the right times, and my teammates found me.”
Maryland junior Jared Bernhardt scored three goals and registered five assists to lead the Terrapins.
Despite not playing in two games, Nanticoke is UAlbany’s third-leading scorer in goals with six and total points with eight.
Marr said Nanticoke remains in UAlbany’s plans going forward.
“Obviously, yeah,” Marr said. “He will be. At some point.”
After making it to last year’s national semifinals, UAlbany has already lost more games this season than it did in 2018. Marr said the Great Danes “played with a lot of passion and a lot of positive energy” against Maryland, and that his group remains “absolutely positive” its season can get turned around.
“I think if we can just continue to grow as a team and continue to support each other, and be positive with one another, we’re going to end this thing the right way in May,” Marr said.
Maryland 2 5 1 6 — 14
UAlbany 1 1 4 3 — 9
Maryland scoring: Bernhardt 3-5, Wisnauskas 2-2, Dubick 3-0, Fairman 2-1, Snider 1-0, DeMaio 2-2, Long 1-1.
UAlbany scoring: Casey 0-2, Patterson 2-0, John 1-0, S. Eccles 1-1, Laffin 3-0, Goldsmith 0-1, Taylor 1-0, Ramirez 1-0, Barrow 0-1.
Goalies: Maryland, Dolan, 9 saves. UAlbany, Siekierski, 9 saves.
Reach Michael Kelly at [email protected] or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.