From UAlbany Athletics:
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The 2016 season has begun as UAlbany travels to Syracuse for its annual battle in the Carrier Dome against the Orange on Sunday, February 21st at 4 p.m. on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel.
The game will air all over New York state on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and nationally online on ESPN3. Mark Larson and Dale Drypolcher will have the call in the Carrier Dome.
For those looking to attend the game in Syracuse, tickets start at $10 for adults and $5 for youth 12 and under.
UAlbany is the three-time defending America East champion and is coming off its winningest season in program history, going 16-3 overall and earning a trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals last season. Syracuse, also an NCAA Quarterfinalist with a 13-3 record last season out of the Atlantic Coast Conference, opened the year with a 18-5 home win over Siena on February 13th to enter at 1-0.
This game will see a matchup of the top two ranked teams in the state of New York. UAlbany stands #12 in each the USILA Coaches Poll and the Inside Lacrosse Media Poll while Syracuse is #6 and #5 in those two polls respectively.
These two teams have met every year since 2004. Syracuse leads the all-time series 12-1, including a 17-12 win on April 2nd last year. UAlbany’s win came on a 16-15 double overtime victory in 2013.
UALBANY PICKED TO FINISH FIRST IN AMERICA EAST: As the three-time defending conference champion, UAlbany has been predicted to finish first in the America East, by the league’s head coaches, in the 2016 season. It is the third straight season that UAlbany has been predicted to finish first in the conference.
UAlbany earned five first-place votes, with Stony Brook picked to finish second with the other two. In order, Vermont, Hartford, Binghamton, UMBC and UMass Lowell filled out the rest of the poll.
FIELDS, OAKES BACK ON ATTACK: UAlbany’s top two goal-scorers from last season, Connor Fields andSeth Oakes, are back for the 2016 season and will be together with the Great Danes for the next two years.
Fields notched 66 goals last season, adding 22 assists, while Oakes scored 54 goals in 2015 along with 12 assists. These two combined to average 6.65 goals per game.
BLAZE RIORDEN – 3RD AT UALBANY IN SAVES: Blaze Riorden stands third all-time in UAlbany history in saves with 650.
A three-year starting goalkeeper for the Great Danes, he finished in the top-10 in single season saves each of his first three years, including 237 in 2014 for 3rd all-time in a UAlbany season.
Riorden is 175 saves away from second on the list. Kevin Rae had 825 saves from 2002-05, who is the Division I saves leader at UAlbany. Al Cornfield in the UAlbany saves leader with 941 from 1982-85.
UALBANY #12 IN COACHES POLL AND MEDIA POLL: In week one of the polls, UAlbany stands at #12 in each the USILA Coaches Poll and the Inside Lacrosse Cascade/Maverik Media Poll.
UAlbany rose a spot in the media poll and held firm in the coaches poll after the first week of the season. The Great Danes will be playing their first game this week.
In the preseason polls, UAlbany ranked in the top-13, being #12 in the coaches poll and #13 in the media poll. It is the third consecutive season that UAlbany has ranked in the top-13 in the preseason.
DEFENSE!: Helping protect four-year starting goalkeeper Blaze Riorden are a number of returning close defenders from last year.
Junior James Burdette, sophomore Stone Sims and senior Josh Babcock all were primary starters at close defense last year, with Sims picking up America East All-Conference Second Team honors as a rookie.
SEASON OPENER HISTORY: In the Division I era, UAlbany is 6-10 all-time in season openers, winning two of its last three. It will be the sixth year in a row UAlbany opens on the road, including the fourth time in five years the Great Danes play at Syracuse to begin the season.
It is the sixth year in a row that UAlbany plays an opponent ranked in the coaches poll to begin the year.
Last year, UAlbany began the year at Drexel with a 15-8 victory on February 21st. UAlbany opened at Syracuse in 2014, falling in overtime 17-16.
SCOUTING THE SYRACUSE ORANGE: Syracuse was the #2 seed in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, falling in the quarterfinals to Johns Hopkins and finishing at 13-3.
The Orange is led by two-time All-American redshirt senior Dylan Donohue at attack, who scored four goals and five assists vs. Siena. Senior Tim Barber is the leading scorer from the midfield with two goals and three assists.
Senior Warren Hill, the primary goalkeeper for the Iroquois Nationals field team, is starting his first year for Syracuse, saving five of six shots from Siena.
Junior Ben Williams was a Tewaaraton nominee as a faceoff specialist last season, winning 12 of his first 16 faceoffs this year.