BACK TO THE TOP: UAlbany Men's Lacrosse Wins 2017 America East Title
ALBANY, N.Y. – A year after being upset in the conference semifinals, the #6/5 1-seed UAlbany men's lacrosse team put together one of most dominant tournaments in America East history, taking down 3-seed Binghamton 20-8 in the final to earn its eighth league tournament title.
This is UAlbany's fourth title in the last five years and eighth overall, all coming since 2003. UAlbany has earned an automatic qualifier into the 2017 NCAA Tournament, its ninth appearance in the postseason.
UAlbany (14-2) began the game with three goals in the opening two minutes and never looked back against Binghamton (11-5). UAlbany earned at least four goals in every quarter, outshooting the Bearcats 51-30, including netting 20 of their 26 shots on goal, and won 21-of-30 faceoffs.
UAlbany set numerous records in a stellar performance in the America East Tournament, including most goals with 39, total margin of victory at +25, team faceoff percentage at 77.9% and most assists by one player as Connor Fields notched 11 in the two games. UAlbany had defeated 4-seed Stony Brook 19-6 on Thursday.
“That is complete a weekend as we ever had from Thursday night's game to today's performance, every kid had both oars in the water, pulling in the same direction,” said UAlbany head coach Scott Marr, who has been at the helm of all eight of the program's America East Tournament titles. “I am really proud of our effort, to go from where we were since losing in the semifinals last year and putting in the effort since September.”
UAlbany will find out its next game on the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday, May 7th at 9 p.m. on ESPNU. UAlbany is in the running for a potential NCAA home game in the first round.6
Fields, TD Ierlan, JD Colarusso and Kyle McClancy were all selected to the America East All-Tournament Team, with Fields earning the Most Outstanding Player with 16 points over the week on five goals and 11 assists.
Against Binghamton, Fields tallied up three goals and six assists, the latter a career-high, while Justin Reh had a team-best five goals, adding an assist. Mitch Laffin earned a career-high three goals and two assists while McClancy, Bennett Drake, Sean Eccles and Adam Osika all had two goals apiece.
“This was us playing UAlbany lacrosse and us playing as a team,” said Fields. “We are balanced now and we are spreading the ball, and we are all going for the same goal.”
In goal, Colarusso earned the victory with seven saves in the opening 56:52, with Nate Siekierski finishing the game. Troy Reh had four ground balls and three caused turnovers at LSM. At faceoff, Ierlan won 21-for-29 with 12 ground balls, finishing with a 82.7% faceoff win rate in the tournament.
For Binghamton, Tom Moore had a hat trick while Stephen Petrelli and Griffin Konen each had two goals. Tanner Cosens had the loss in goal with six saves and 20 goals allowed in the opening 54:23.
UAlbany came out firing, scoring goals on their first three shots: Osika landed a bounce shot high into the top corner, then hit a transition shot inside the right post. Seconds later, Laffin scored on a rip on a pass from across the arc to make it 3-0 in the opening two minutes. After some back-and-forth, Laffin another top shelf goal to complete a 4-0 run. Binghamton got the goal back seconds later, setting the eventual first quarter end score at 4-1 UAlbany.
Binghamton fired away four times at the cage in the opening of the second quarter, seeing Moore score to bring the visitors within two. With Reh forcing a turnover at midfield on the goalie, Laffin grabbed the ground ball and passed to Fields for the open net score. Eccles buried a shot off a timeout 20 seconds later, then just 12 more seconds following, Lasda took a won faceoff towards the cage, passed off to Justin Reh for the shot and score, making it 7-2 UAlbany five minutes through the 2nd.
After five minutes of no scoring, the scoreboard lit up in the final five minutes of the second, starting with a Binghamton man-up goal. UAlbany countered with a 4-0 run, a goal from a spinning Drake near the doorstep, a McClancy clear in transition and pass off to Justin Reh for a score, a low bouncing shot and score from Laffin and another Drake goal on the shot clock. Binghamton got a goal back, then out of a timeout, McClancy scored on a missile under the crossbar with seven seconds left in the half. UAlbany led 12-4 at the break.
The third quarter saw the action frequently exchange teams. A Binghamton goal 92 seconds in was countered by a Justin Reh catch and shoot next to the cage. Binghamton grabbed a goal less than two minutes later, then Eccles scored from around a screen. Petrelli scored after a won faceoff, then Fields came from around the cage and sniped a ball into the top left corner of the net. One more exchange came as Konen scored for the Bearcats, then John Glancy scored on a bullet straight away. UAlbany led 16-8 after three quarters.
UAlbany continued the attack as Justin Reh scored the fourth quarter's first two goals, the first in transition and man-down, the second on a catch and shoot between the keeper's feet. Fields scored one more with a dodge to get inside his defender and score point blank. McClancy added one more goal man-up as the UAlbany defense held off Binghamton the rest of the way, leading to the 20-8 victory.