With the graduation of Lyle Thompson, the UAlbany Great Danes will certainly enter the 2016 season with some questions. However, even as the Thompson-less era of UAlbany lacrosse is set to begin, the team continues to be highly regarded – earning the number 11 ranking in the Inside Lacrosse preseason top 20. Sophomore Attackman Connor Fields was named to the Inside Lacrosse pre-season All-American Second Team, while Senior Goalie Blaze Riorden earned an Honorable Mention. Playing alongside Lyle, Fields had a phenomenal freshman season in 2015 scoring 66 goals, dishing out 22 assists, and scooping up 62 ground balls. Riorden is coming off a season in which he left the cage against Cornell to score 2015’s most memorable goal, and an off season which saw him play forward for Team USA in the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship.
2016 will see former Great Dane Merrick Thomson back in Albany serving as an assistant coach. Thomson, considered one of the best finishers in the history of NCAA lacrosse, and 2009 Major League Lacrosse playoff MVP has also been named as an assistant coach of the Canadian U-19 team. Recent Danes Tim Cox and Matt Garziano will be back in the respective roles of Volunteer Assistant Coach, and Student Assistant Coach.
The Great Danes, coached by Scott Marr, are ranked #1 in the America East coaches’ pre-season poll. Connor Fields A, John Maloney M, Stone Sims D, and Blaze Riorden G, all earned pre-season all conference honors.
Although the Great Danes complete schedule is yet to be released, some known home matchups of note include Cornell coming to Albany on March 5, America East rival Stony Brook coming to town on March 19, and Harvard visiting on March 30. UAlbany hits the road to visit Yale on April 23.
The 2016 AE championship will be hosted by the highest seeded team on May 5-7.