Scoring just not enough
ALBANY The temptation is to just sit back and enjoy the show, instead of trying to figure out this team.
I’ve never been to one of those Japanese steakhouses, where the chef is tableside and flings machetes or whatever all over the place, but you know the drill.
Flash of fire, glint of steel, bursts of smoke, and next thing you know, there’s a gorgeous meal in front of you and a flaming onion volcano with a puff of steam piping out of it.
That’s what it’s like watching the UAlbany lacrosse team, and they cook with gasoline.
But is the food any better than you’d get at a quiet, elegant establishment that you’ve come to trust for generations?
The Iron Chef panel is still out on that, at least within the context of the NCAAs.
The Great Danes lead the nation in scoring and highlights, but they can’t be considered serious contenders to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament until they do more than beat up on teams from the lower-level conferences.
And that’s fine. They’re an America East team that was ranked as high as No. 10 in the U.S. this season, until some close losses to some good teams made hash out of their won-lost record.
What they have going for them is an offensive steamroller, led by the Thompsons, and growing confidence from a four-game winning streak during which they outscored opponents by an average of 17-11.
Most recently, the Great Danes washed Siena down the drain, 19-11, on Tuesday night, as brothers Miles and Lyle Thompson scored six goals each and their cousin, Ty, accounted for three.
UAlbany said before the season that a national championship is a reasonable goal, and they weren’t backing off that stance on Tuesday.
“No question,” Scott Marr said. “If we can creep toward playing defense a little better, we can give ourselves an opportunity. When you play a team that can score as much as we can, there’s always a little bit of nervousness on the other side.”
The problem for the Great Danes is, there’s a way to beat that. Marr pointed to slowdown tactics by Bryant and Canisius that cost the Danes victories this season. No offense to Canisius, but a team with national championship aspirations shouldn’t be losing, 14-10.
The Thompsons’ scoring display was nearly beyond description, as usual. Lyle, for instance, scored three of his goals with one hand, underhand. To be able to pull that off means sneaking your arm and stick into areas where they are liable to be chopped off.
“We need to play at an ACC-type level,” he said. “We want to go into the tournament and go deep, make it to the national championship, not just get to where we did last year.”
That was a first-round loss to Denver. The knives are sharper this time. We’ll see if there’s more than one course.