BALTIMORE – The third-seeded Albany men’s lacrosse team (5-10) advanced to the finals of the America East Championships with a 19-8 victory over the host No. 2 UMBC Retrievers (5-8).
The Great Danes will meet top-seeded Stony Brook in Stony Brook, N.Y. on Saturday for the league championship and automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Juniors Scott Jones (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) and Scott Hopmann (Annapolis, Md./St. Mary’s) and sophomores Matt Gregoire (Crofton, Md./South River) and Zach Linkous (Jarrettsville, Md./St. Paul’s) each scored two goals for UMBC.
Junior Joe Lustgarten (Wading River, N.Y.) ran his streak of multiple-assist gmes to nine with four helpers in the game. His 29 assists on the season is tied for the 13th-best in school history.
Albany’s Miles Thompson and Lyle Thompson scored five goals apiece for the visitors and America East Player of the Year Joe Resetarits added four.
Jones actually gave UMBC 1-0 lead just 27 seconds into the proceedings, when Lustgartnen intercepted an Albany clearing pass and fed his linemate for quick score. But Albany would go on a 4-1 run to take a 4-2 lead on Miles Thompson’s second of back-to-back goals with 6:33 remaining in the quarter.
Linkous scored on a 15-yard rocket to trim UMBC’s deficit to 4-3 with 5:27 to play in the quarter, but Ty Thompson answered with three seconds left to give the Danes a 5-3 lead after 15 minutes.
The second quarter belonged to the visitors as they extended their run to 6-0 by scoring all five second quarter goals.
Trailing 10-4 at the break, UMBC again struck early in a quarter, as Gregoire scored from in close after a long pass from sophomore face-off specialist Phil Poe (Harwood, Md./DeMatha) just 40 seconds into the quarter. Albany countered with a pair of goals, but when Hopmann responded with a man-up goal, UMBC had some hope, trailing, 12-5, with 3:44 remaining in the quarter.
Just 11 days earlier, UMBC rallied from a five-goal deficit with less than six minutes remaining to defeat Albany, 17-16, in overtime. But the Danes went on a 7-1 run over 10 minute span to put the contest out of reach.
UMBC outshot Albany, 39-29 and won the face-off battle, 19-11. But the Danes scored on 19 of those 29 attempts as starting netminder Adam Cohen (Arnold, Md./Severn) made four saves for the Retrievers. UA freshman Max Huber went the route and stopped 11 UMBC shots.
The Retrievers did convert on 4-of-6 man-up opportunities, but three were in the fourth quarter.