Albany Erupts in Fourth Quarter to Defeat Maryland


Albany's Connor Fields celebrates after scoring one of his four goals Saturday at Maryland. Fields added two assists in the Great Danes' 11-10 comeback victory.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — For about 53 minutes, the most anticipated game of the college lacrosse season looked largely like a dud — the kind of no-frills affair that normally would go Maryland’s way.

But Albany again showed it could erupt on a moment’s notice, scoring five unanswered goals in the fourth quarter to defeat the Terps 11-10 in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown Saturday in front of an announced crowd of 7,475 at Maryland Stadium.

The Great Danes (5-0) came into the game ranked No. 2 in the Nike/US Lacrosse Top 20 and No. 1 in the USILA coaches and Inside Lacrosse media polls. Maryland (5-1), the defending NCAA champion, occupied the opposite spots in the respective national rankings.

Come Monday, there will be no debate.

Asked of the significance of the win, Albany goalie J.D. Colarusso shrugged. “It’s just one game,” he replied.

Sitting to his left, Great Danes coach Scott Marr could only chuckle.

“It’s not,” said Marr, who spent six seasons as an assistant at Maryland and whose players presented him with the game ball in the locker room. “No offense to other teams around the country, but when you beat a team like Maryland, the defending national champs — last year we beat North Carolina, [then] the defending national champs — those are huge wins. Those are great confidence builders for your team. We coach [the players] up to talk to the press like it’s not that big of a deal, but it is a big deal.”

Not that Albany needed any more confidence.

Despite trailing 8-3 early in the third quarter and 10-6 going into the fourth, the Great Danes never lost faith in their explosive offense. TD Ierlan won all six fourth-quarter faceoffs, midfielders Kyle McClancy (three goals) and Jakob Patterson (four goals) found success inverting short-stick defenders behind the goal and Tewaaraton finalist Connor Fields (four goals, two assists) delivered in the pivotal final moments to complete the comeback.

Fields scored a little more than a minute into the fourth quarter to pull Albany within three, but the Great Danes really kicked it into high gear in the final seven minutes. McClancy made it 10-8 with 6:14 remaining, then Patterson scored twice in a 37-second span to tie the game at 10 with 4:28 left. Three minutes later, Fields backed down Terps defenseman Curtis Corley, faked a pass, lured Corley to about 15 yards from the goal, swept the left alley and sunk the game-winner.

“It’s huge for us, for our confidence,” Fields said. “Coming back against a team like this, the defending champs, and coming back by four goals in the fourth quarter, I think it says a lot about our team and a lot about how we face adversity.”


Fields wore down Maryland defenseman Curtis Corley as the game wore on, finishing with four goals and two assists.

With freshman sensation Tehoka Nanticoke struggling against All-American defenseman Bryce Young, Albany featured Fields more prominently against the bigger Corley. Despite giving up nearly 50 pounds to the player Maryland promotes as the “strongest pound-for-pound player on the roster,” Fields wore Corley down as the game wore on and with the Terps reluctant to slide.

Fields even emerged from a scrum with a ground ball on the final faceoff of the game after the ball squirted past the restraining line. The Great Danes called timeout and possessed the ball long enough to limit Maryland to a last-gasp shot by Connor Kelly from about 20 yards out, corralled easily by Colarusso as time expired.

Marr likened the 5-foot-11, 160-pound Fields to the inflatable tube mascots often staged outside car dealerships — and also to Lyle Thompson, the former two-time Tewaaraton winner at Albany and the most prolific scorer in NCAA history.

“You look at Connor and you look at Lyle, both very sleight,” Marr said. “But their upbringing, their background of playing box, of taking that beating — [Fields] has played hockey his whole life as well — he’s used to that kind of a beating. He’s almost kind of a noodle out there. He gets hit and he’s like one of those car dealership things.”

“With the ability to feel pressure and get away from it and understand what a defender is trying to do to him,” Marr added, “Connor is as good as it gets.”

Perhaps most encouraging for the Great Danes, who now own wins over both Syracuse and Maryland, was that Saturday had all the makings of a game in which previous Albany teams have fallen short. The Terps lulled them into a slower pace, as freshman faceoff man Justin Shockey continued his emergence by giving Ierlan (14-for-24) his stiffest test so far this season. And the Great Danes did not shoot particularly well through three quarters (6-for-27).


Albany found success inverting its offense to exploit short-stick matchups, with midfielders Kyle McClancy (pictured) and Jakob Patterson combining for seven goals.

Albany’s constant probing, however, paid dividends in the fourth quarter —particularly in exploiting short-stick matchups with McClancy and Patterson. Of all the key players Maryland graduated from its NCAA championship team, it might miss Isiah Davis-Allen and Nick Manis the most.

“We have some guys that are growing down there,” Terps coach John Tillman said. “You’ve got to make choices. You’re going to have to give up something. You help too much on the shorties, then you worry about 1 [Nanticoke] and 5 [Fields]. If you help too much on 1 and 5, now all of a sudden they’re throwing to those guys. And that’s the beauty of their offense and a team like Albany that can beat you so many different ways. They were up 16-1 in the second quarter in one of their games [against Drexel]. They put a lot of pressure on you.”

The pressure now shifts to the Great Danes, who face upstart Vermont, ranked No. 19 in the Nike/US Lacrosse Top 20, in their America East opener next Saturday.

No one would be surprised to see Albany vs. Maryland again in May.

“This has been the best team really the last five years. They’ve been to four national championship games. They’ve won one. If we can compete and play with them like that, then I feel like we can compete and play with anyone,” Marr said. “It definitely gives you the confidence going into a game knowing that you can come back against a defense like that. To have that in the back of your mind is a positive thing.”

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