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Conference Spotlight: America East

Dear America East: If you're reading this, it's too late, you're in the College Crosse conference spotlight.

It's Mr. Steal Your Girl
It's Mr. Steal Your Girl
Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Conference Spotlight: America East

Current League Standings:

Stony Brook 5-1 0-0 Manhattan, NJIT, Fairfield, Marist, Rutgers St. John's ARV
Albany 2-1 0-0 Drexel, Massachusetts Cornell 11
Hartford 2-2 0-0 Manhattan, Quinnipiac Bryant, Brown
UMBC 2-3 0-0 Monmouth, Richmond Johns Hopkins, Pennsylvania, Towson
Vermont 2-4 0-0 NJIT, Air Force Penn State, Colgate, Providence, Boston University
Binghamton 1-3 0-0 Delaware Marist, Cornell, Hobart
Umass- Lowell 1-3 0-0 Providence Yale, Siena, Wagner

All rankings based off of 3/9 Media Poll.

Wha' Happened?:

  • Albany: Losing two-thirds of the Thompson Trio left many wondering if the the Great Danes would have the same violence as last year. After thumping Drexel, Albany was roughed up by Cornell and then almost handed Massachusetts its ticket off Reverse Survivor Island. While breaking LaxTwitter will always get you points around here, the Danes need a little more than the cover of 2015's hottest mixtape (see below) if they want to show that their bite is worse than their bark. The Great Danes had a later start than most and will hopefully accelerate as the season starts to unfold.
  • Stony Brook: At 5-1, the Seawolves are off to their best start since 2007 and are one win away from tying the number of wins they had in 2014. Stony Brook hasn't had a winning season since 2011 and are looking to make The Big Barbeque after a two-year absence. While their victories have come against teams with a combined record of 7-19, it's not the Seawolves' fault that their opponents need to get to their weight up. Outside of a hiccup against St. John's, Stony Brook is winning, and that's the most important thing. With upcoming dates against three teams currently in the top 12, Stony Brook will have multiple chances to show everyone they are for real and not just beating up on the hapless.
  • UMBC: After getting smoked by Johns Hopkins and losing by a deuce to Pennsylvania, the Retrievers have bounced back and won two out of their last three games. Coach Zimmerman's squad had a noteworthy win against Richmond after they hurt college lacrosse's heart in a 4-2 victory against Monmouth. Losing to Towson snapped UMBC's two-game winning streak, but UMBC should still be a player in the America East as they begin conference play this weekend against Binghamton.
Upcoming Games of Earth-Shattering Importance:
  • Albany at Stony Brook (March 14), Albany at Harvard (March 24), and Albany at Syracuse (April 2): The  next twenty-some days will really help to determine what the Great Danes are, starting with a huge conference game against Stony Brook this weekend. Stony Brook and Albany are the only two teams in the America East above .500 and a win against the Seawolves would demonstrate that Albany is still the Don of the conference, giving the Danes the inside track for the one-seed in the America East Tournament. A victory against Harvard would provide Albany a nice nonconference win to hang their leash on, but its Albany's April 2nd game against Syracuse that everyone has circled on their calendar. Beating the Orange in the TERROR Carrier Dome would be a victory against evil give Albany's at-large resume a major boost.
  • Hartford at Holy Cross (March 17), Hartford at Albany (March 21), and UMBC at Hartford (April 4): As the only America East team not named Stony Brook or Albany with at least a .500 record, the Hawks are treading water at the moment. However, Hartford will have a chance to make some noise against a streaky Holy Cross on March 17th. If the Hawks can catch the Crusaders sleeping, they'll go into their March 21st game against Albany with a lot of momentum.  Should the Hawks handle their business against Massachusetts-Lowell and Siena on March 14th and 31st, respectively, a win against UMBC on April 4th would give the Hawks, at worst, a .500 record in the conference and likely guarantee Hartford a spot in the America East Tournament.
  • Albany at Stony Brook (March 14), UMBC at Stony Brook (March 21), Princeton at Stony Brook (April 4), and Duke at Stony Brook (April 15): As the great American Ric Flair once said "Woo!" . . . er, I mean, "To be the man, you got to beat the man! WOO!" Right now Albany is the king of the America East and if Stony Brook wants to turn back the clock to 2012, they can start by beating Albany on March 14th. After their conference knife fights on the 14th and 21st, Stony Brook will have an excellent chance to beat up some blue bloods elevate their at-large resume, when they play Princeton and Duke on April 4th and 15th, respectively. Knocking off either the Tigers or the Blue Devils will do wonders for the Seawolves' May hopes and get them all kinds of street cred on The Island.
  • UMBC at Stony Brook (March 14) and UMBC at Albany (April 25): The Retrievers can wreak a great deal of havoc in the America East. UMBC takes on Stony Brook and Albany on March 14th and April 25th, respectively, and while the Retreivers are currently looking to come square in its record, only a fool would underestimate Coach Zimmerman's squad. Though it ended up losing, UMBC hung around against Towson through the third quarter. If UMBC can put together four solid quarters against Stony Brook or Albany, the Retrievers may elbow their way into the America East conversation.
"That Guy" Watch:
  • Blaze Riorden (Albany): Lacrosse God Defending Tewaraaton Trophy winner and number one overall Major League Lacrosse draft pick, Lyle Thompson, deservedly gets much praise and attention. But junior goalkeeper, Mr. Steal Your Goal Blaze Riorden, has been keeping the company in the headlines as of late. That will happen when one stops 70 percent of shots fired on the season. Blaze was on fire this past weekend, stopping 21 shots against Massachusetts. Blaze's outstanding play in net will need to continue if Albany hopes to make The Big Barbecue for the third time in as many seasons.
  • Mike Rooney (Stony Brook): While teammate Challen Rogers might be on the Tewaraaton watch list, Mike Rooney has been the monster haunting opponents' dreams. The redshirt senior midfielder has been doing it all for the Seawolves this season, leading the squad in assists (15) and total points (29). Rooney poured in a dozen points against Marist and Rutgers last week and is one of the biggest reasons Stony Brook now sits at 5-1. Through six games, Rooney already has over half the total points of his 2014 campaign.
NCAA Tournament Prognosis:
  • League: This is probably a one bid conference. Stony Brook and Albany look like the class of the America East and will probably battle it out for the conference tournament crown at the end of April.
  • Albany: While the polls point to Albany as the team to beat in the America East, one can't ignore the fact that were it not for Blaze's 21 saves, Albany may be 1-2 right now. There is no need to panic, but this weekend's game against Stony Brook is great opportunity for Albany to quiet any whispers that the America East is a two team race this year.
  • Stony Brook: Stony Brook has looked solid throughout the season and sits right outside the top 20 in both the coaches and media poll. The Seawolves can catapult themselves into the Cool Kids Club with a win against Albany this weekend.