ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Win and you’re in. Lose and it gets dicey. The Great Danes were looking for redemption after losing in last season’s conference semifinals.
On Saturday, the nationally ranked #5 UAlbany men’s lacrosse team (6-0, 14-2) had the opportunity to capture its fourth America East Championship in five years, which would send them to the NCAA tournament.
The only thing standing in the Great Danes’ way was the Binghamton Bearcats.
Coming in, the #1 seeded Danes had won its last six against the Bearcats, who came into the finals as the number two seed (4-2, 11-5).
Binghamton had dispatched the UMBC Retrievers 9-4 in the AE Semifinals on Thursday, while UA took down the Stony Brook Seawolves 19-6.
Less than a minute into the game, Adam Osika scored to give UAlbany a 1-0 lead.
Later in the first quarter, Mitch Laffin scored for the purple and gold, and Danes led 4-1 after one quarter.
Tom Moore tried to keep it close for Binghamton with his team high three goals, but it wouldn’t be enough.
The nation’s leading goal scorer, Connor Fields got one of his own in third quarter.
The Great Danes would go on to beat the Bearcats 20-8, winning the 2017 America East title.
Players and coaches had a chance to reflect on the meaning of this game:
Connor Fields: “I mean it’s an unreal feeling. It’s nice to know we have the automatic bid so we don’t have to worry about the at-large. But, I mean, we’re really excited. We’re rolling right now.”
Troy Reh: “Feels awesome. It’s like a dream come true to some kids. I mean, last year we don’t really look upon that but this year we came out strong. Firing all four quarters for sixty minutes and we got the outcome we wanted.”
Head Coach, Scott Marr: “Just feels wonderful that these guys can stick together and push through some adversity in the middle of the season and make it happen. So, very proud of my group.”
And the Danes will find out where and when they’ll play in the NCAA tournament during tomorrow night’s selection show at 9 p.m. on ESPNU.
Some milestones were achieved today for UAlbany in the conference tournament.
Most goals in championship – 39 (previous: Albany 37 in 2015)
Total margin of victory – +25 (previous: Albany, +22 in 2015)
Assists in championship – Connor Fields, 11 (previous: Lyle Thompson, 8 in 2014)
Team faceoff percentage – .779 (46-59) (previous: 46-59 .719, (46-64), UMBC, 2014)