Thursday, April 30, 2015

Lyle Thompson’s Nine Points Guides University of Albany Men's Lacrosse to America East Title Game - UAlbany Sports 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. – With Lyle Thompson scoring nine points, breaking the 100-point mark for the third year in a row, and the defense holding its opponent to two second half goals, the #7/7 UAlbany men’s lacrosse team defeated Hartford 15-6 to advance to its fourth-consecutive America East title game. With the score tied 4-4 with 12:20 remaining in the second quarter, 1-seed UAlbany (14-2) held 4-seed Hartford (7-8) to two goals the rest of the way, using runs of 4-0 and 5-0 to seal the victory. “This is probably the hardest game to play as the 1-seed,” said UAlbany coach Scott Marr, who takes UAlbany to its 12th America East title appearance in 14 years. “I thought we came out tight, but give credit to Hartford, they played outstanding. Our defense played well, and we fought through it.” This sets up a SUNY-rematch for the America East title game on Saturday, May 2nd at 10 a.m. at Bob Ford Field as UAlbany will play 2-seed Stony Brook, which defeated 3-seed Vermont 16-13 in the first semifinal game. Thompson finished with five goals and four assists for nine points, totaling 101 on the season for his third-consecutive 100+ point season. No other player in Division I men’s lacrosse history has more than one 100+ point season. “We knew offensively, we had to play more structured,” said Thompson. “Coach [Marr] was telling me to get high on the dodge. Once I scored some goals, they were coming to me a bit better.” Blaze Riorden anchored the UAlbany defense, saving nine shots on 15 Hartford attempts on goal, adding seven ground balls. As a whole, UAlbany caused 15 Hartford turnovers, with AJ Kluck, Tim Cox and Stone Sims each causing a pair, and successfully defended against all five Hartford man-up chances. It is the top defensive performance for UAlbany in the America East Tournament since defeating Stony Brook 17-5 in the conference semifinals on March 3rd, 2007. “”I was seeing the ball well, and the defense gave up shots that I could save,” said Riorden. “Our offense gave us that cushion that kept us loose.” Connor Fields scored three goals and an assist, adding four ground balls. Taking over duties at the center-X in the second quarter, Cason Liles won 12-of-15 faceoffs. For Hartford, Justin Huggins netted a hat trick with a pair of caused turnovers while Kevin O’Shea had two goals, an assist and two caused turnovers. Ryan Vanderford got the loss in goal despite 17 saves. UAlbany struck first a little more than three minutes elapsed as Thompson found Fields wide open on a man-up situation for the rocket and score. Huggins countered on the catch and shoot 80 seconds later. UAlbany got back the ball; Kyle McClancy ran back and forth around the cage, getting free and scoring. Huggins added another with 2:38 left in the quarter, receiving the pass from O’Shea and scoring. Thompson countered with his strong move, getting inside his defender and scoring next to the goal circle, making it 3-2, the eventual end of first quarter score. After forcing a turnover on the defensive side, Bennett Drake got the pass from Matt Garziano in transition and scored. O’Shea rolled off two goals in a span of 16 seconds to tie the game at 4-4 with 12:20 left in the 2nd. UAlbany responded minutes later with a couple of quick goals, with Seth Oakes getting free against an offsides seven-man Hartford defense and scoring close range and Thompson against getting between his defender and the cage and scoring. Thompson posted up next to the circle and scored again with 1:52 left in the period, putting the score at 7-4 at the half. The defenses ruled in the first part of the third quarter, with Vanderford saving UAlbany shots and the Great Danes forcing turnovers on the Hartford offense. UAlbany drew the man-up situation and converted as Cox peppered a shot straight-away. Hartford pulled to within three of a Griffin Feiner catch and shoot goal. UAlbany countered 26 seconds later on a Thompson to Fields score, adding another as Ky Tarbell scored off the assist from Adam Osika. In the closing minutes of the period, UAlbany converted two man-up chances, with Thompson drawing the defense to find Jake Cullen next to the cage for the goal, then Thompson buried the low heave from Cox, giving UAlbany a 12-5 lead after three periods. UAlbany held off Hartford for the first 111:08 of the fourth, adding to the lead with Thompson netting his fifth goal of a spin move and score. Hartford broke its drough with a Huggins goal with 3:52 left. Osika and Fields added goals in the final minutes to seal the game for the Great Danes. UAlbany finished with the 15-6 victory.

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