Danes secure top seed in America East
ALBANY The University at Albany men’s lacrosse team believes in the family insurance plan.
Even though junior Miles Thompson sat out because of an assortment of injuries, including a mild concussion, his brother, Lyle, and his cousin, Ty, picked up the slack by combining for 12 goals and 19 points to power the Great Danes to a 16-10 victory over the University of Maryland Baltimore Country Friday night before a crowd of 2,083 at John Fallon Field.
Celebrating Senior Night, the Great Danes (4-0, 10-3), ranked 10th in the country, won their sixth straight game and locked up the America East Conference regular-season championship and top seed for the conference tournament, set for May 2-4 at Stony Brook. UMBC slipped to 2-2 and 5-7.
Ty Thompson, a junior attacker, erupted for eight goals, including his 100th career goal, while Lyle Thompson, a sophomore attacker who entered the game second in the nation in both points and assists, recorded four goals and seven assists.
Ty Thompson, who came within one goal of the team’s single-game scoring record, has 40 goals and 52 points, while Lyle Thompson has 38 goals and 51 assists for 89 points. Miles Thompson has 30 goals and 40 points, despite missing the last several games.
Freshman goalie Blaze Riorden recorded 13 saves.
The game was played under steady rain and gusting winds, but the weather conditions didn’t slow down the Great Danes, who entered the game ranked No. 1 in the country in scoring. They matched their scoring average with 16 goals and did it without one of their top weapons.
“It was a real emotional night, because it was the final home game for our seniors,” said Ty Thompson. “We wanted to win this for the seniors, and we also wanted to win this for Miles. He wanted to play tonight, but he couldn’t. We’ll do even better when he returns to the lineup.”
Lyle Thompson consistently set up his cousin for quick scores as the Great Danes seemingly scored at will. If not for a brilliant performance by UMBC goalie Wes DeRito (nine saves), the game could have become more lop-sided.
“Lyle set up seven of my eight goals,” said Ty Thompson. “I feel fortunate to be in the right place. We are very confident right now, and we have great team chemistry.”
Ty Thompson said the Great Danes’ two big upsets over ranked opponents this year has given the team plenty of spark. UAlbany became only the second team in history to defeat both Syracuse at the Carrier Dome and Johns Hopkins at Homewood Field in the same season.
“We had several goals this season, and one of them was to win the America East regular-season title. Another was to win the America East tournament and to go to the NCAA tournament,” said Ty Thompson.
UAlbany head coach Scott Marr liked the way his team played without one of its key players.
“We just stuck with it. We were mentally strong,” he said. “When we went into halftime only leading, 8-7, everybody was down, but I told them we were still up by a goal.”
Marr said the Great Danes have two important ingredients that many other teams don’t possess.
“We have good senior leaders, and we have unbelievable talent,” he said, referring to the Thompson family.
“They are unbelievable. They have so much skill and lacrosse IQ. But they also have great poise. They never get down. And they know how to put the ball in the net. We have a great team concept here, and a lot of depth, but when we needed them, Ty and Lyle put the team on their backs and made up for Miles’ absence.”
UAlbany scored four of the first five goals and appeared ready to win in a rout, but the Retrievers sliced their deficit to 4-2 after a period when Zach Linkous scored a goal with 3:25 left.
UMBC scored three of the first four goals in the second quarter to knot the score at 5-5, but the Great Danes pulled away once more with three straight goals to grab an 8-5 cushion.
However, the Retrievers stole the momentum when Pat Young scored with 2:34 remaining until intermission and Matt Gregoire grabbed a loose rebound and connected at the buzzer to draw the Retrievers within a goal at 8-7.
The Danes dominated the second half, outscoring the Retrievers, 3-1, in the third period. UMBC climbed to within 11-9, but the Great Danes went on a Thompson scoring spree to lock up the win.
“We wanted to get the No. 1 seed for the tournament, and we did that,” said Marr, whose team plays at local rival Siena Tuesday.
UMBC 2 5 1 2 — 10
UAlbany 4 4 3 5 — 16
UMBC scoring: Matt Gregoire 4-1, Pat Young 2-0, Scott Jones 1-0, Nate Lewnes 1-0, Zach Linkous 1-0, Phil Poe 1-0, Dave Brown 0-2, Zach Esser 0-1, Conor Finch 0-1. UAlbany scoring: Ty Thompson 8-0, Lyle Thompson 4-7, John Maloney 2-0, Dwayne Stewart 1-0, Jon Newhouse 1-0, Will Fuller 0-1.
Goalies: UMBC, Wes DeRito, 9 saves. UAlbany, Blaze Riorden, 13 saves.