LOUDONVILLE — Sam Tortora isn’t one for keeping a close eye on her statistics, but the UAlbany women’s lacrosse senior midfielder does treasure one part of her game above all others.
“I prefer an assist over a goal any day,” Tortora said.
Already UAlbany’s career leader in assists, Tortora hit another milestone during Wednesday’s 20-10 win over Siena at Hickey Field as she became the first player in program history to record 100 career assists. Tortora had five helpers in Wednesday’s win, giving her 101 for her career.
Not that Tortora had that on her mind.
“When I broke the [career assists] record last year, I had no idea,” Tortora said. “I didn’t even know I was close. I don’t care. I really don’t. Whatever I can do to help the team — if it’s scoring, if it’s a draw, if it’s a ground ball — I don’t care. As long as I’m helping the team and we got the win.”
“That shows how unselfish she is,” UAlbany (3-2) coach Katie Rowan Thomson said. “Just a true team player who would do anything for her team.”
Tortora added a goal to go along with her five assists, while junior Ally Alliegro had a career-best eight-point performance with four goals and four assists. Freshman Sarah Falk added five goals to aid an impressive UAlbany surge to close the game.
Wednesday’s game was the final athletic event to be played in front of spectators at Siena before the college’s restriction on allowing fans to attend home contests was put into effect Thursday as part of measures to prevent the potential spread of coronavirus. While Siena will continue to host athletic events at home, no fans will be allowed through March 29. Fans were encouraged not to attend Wednesday’s game, which had an official listed attendance of 89.
The Great Danes trailed 5-4 with less than two minutes left in the first half, but three goals in the final 1:41 of the half sent UAlbany to halftime with plenty of momentum. That continued after halftime, where UAlbany outscored Siena 13-5 — including a 11-3 run over the game’s final 24:32.
“We really communicated a lot. We just really worked together,” Alliegro said. “We knew all along we could pull away. We knew we had this. We just really had to work together to pull out the win.”
Rowan Thomson said that UAlbany’s depth — the Great Danes have 40 players on their roster, compared to 28 for Siena (3-3) — prevailed as the game wore on.
“We began to wear them down a little,” Rowan Thomson said. “We have a lot of depth on our team, fresh legs, and we just picked up the energy and really got some great ball movement going.”
Kyla Zapolski added a hat trick for UAlbany on an afternoon where it seemed like everybody got involved.
Nine different UAlbany players scored a goal, with 12 different players posting either a goal or an assist.
“We’re really starting to mesh and click,” Zapolski said. “We’ve got a lot of players coming in on the field, and we’re not just keeping our starters out there. I think it’s really good to have a solid group of people that can play, and it’s only helping us do better and better.”
Nicole McNeely finished with four goals and an assist for Siena, which also got three goals and an assist from both Julia Pelcher and Annie Brennan.
“We had a lot of uncharacteristically sloppy moments today,” Siena coach Abby Rehfuss said. “We’ll go back, we’ll look at the film, we’ll get better after today.”
Halftime score: UAlbany 7, Siena 5.
UAlbany scoring: Falk 5-0, Alliegro 4-4, Zapolski 3-0, Stack 2-0, Imbo 2-1, Conway 1-0, Tortora 1-5, Canning 1-0, Saggese 1-0, Bureau 0-1, Haynes 0-1, Beam 0-1. Siena scoring: McNeely 4-1, Pelcher 3-1, Brennan 3-1, Gerety 0-1. Goalies: UAlbany, Schneidereith, 13 saves, Siena, Mervine, 10 saves. Attendance: 89.
Reach Adam Shinder at [email protected] or @Adam_Shinder on Twitter.