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2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Tournament: Balanced offense guides Albany to first Championship Weekend appearance with 15-13 win

TD Ierlan and Trevor Baptiste each won 15 draws.

Bill Ziskin for UAlbany Athletics

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — The Albany Great Danes aren’t like any other team. They’re a fun-loving group of players and coaches that relaxed and don’t get angry with each other.

And it showed during their press conference after a 15-13 win over the Denver Pioneers at Shuart Stadium in front of 6,486 fans that withstood the rain. TD Ierlan, Tehoka Nanticoke, Connor Fields, Troy Reh, and head coach Scott Marr were once again relaxed and had fun right from the start.

It’s been part of their culture since Marr arrived to what he called “God’s Country” back in 2001. And recently, it’s come with talented players such as the Thompson’s, Fields, and Nanticoke, along with others.

Albany came out of the gate firing on all cylinders. Ierlan won the game’s first three face-offs, which ended up leading to three Albany goals. Denver ended up taking a one-goal lead early in the second quarter, but the Great Danes went on a 4-0 run to counter, including a buzzer-beating goal by Nanticoke before halftime.

The Pios tied the game up at nine late in the third before about Great Dane run stopped any additional momentum by Denver. With Denver’s Colton Jackson scoring two goals in the fourth quarter to cut the Albany lead to one, yet again it was the Great Dane offense scoring three straight goals to seal the deal for Albany’s first trip to Championship Weekend in program history.

Despite Ierlan’s early success, Trevor Baptiste made adjustments and began to even the face-off matchups. Both specialists made constant adjustments, leading to an even 15-15 battle. Baptiste scooped up nine groundballs, while Ierlan had six. This was Baptiste’s second game this season he finished at 50%, joining his performance against Trent Harper and Air Force from their season-opener back in February.

Albany’s attack scored five goals, three from Nanticoke and two from Justin Reh. Their midfield and defense scored the remaining seven goals, with three each from the starting midfield of Kyle McClancy, Sean Eccles, and Jakob Patterson. JD Colarusso finished with seven saves.

For Denver, only three of their 13 goals came from the attack, two from Colton McCaffrey and one from Ethan Walker, which was his only point of the game. Jackson ended up leading Denver’s offense with four tallies, while Joe Reid was right behind him with three. Alex Ready finished with 10 saves, including four in the second quarter.

More to come from Hempstead.