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Syracuse Lacrosse: Previewing Tonight's Albany Game

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The #2 Syracuse Orange will host the #9 Albany Great Danes on Thursday at 7 pm. Both teams sit at 7-1 and both feature impressive scoring offenses. Albany is weak defensively and the Syracuse attack should be able to take advantage.

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Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Remember, this week's game is on THURSDAY at 7 pm at the Carrier Dome.

The Syracuse Orange are 11-1 all-time against the Albany Great Danes. The only loss came in 2013 with SU falling 16-15 in double overtime. In fact, the last two games between these two squads have both have been decided in overtime contests.

SU is coming off of a 13-12 double overtime loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Albany and Syracuse have identical records, sitting at 7-1. The one loss for the Great Danes came in a 16-9 defeat at the hands of Cornell, a team that Syracuse beat 14-6 earlier in the season.

Scott Marr started off at the University of Delaware as an offensive coordinator and then moved on to the University of Maryland where he was also an offensive coordinator. Marr is an offensive coach, and his teams at Albany have generally struggled defensively. Coach Marr acknowledged his teams give up a lot of goals and attributed that to poor faceoff play. Take a look at the table below...

Goals for

Goals Against

Games Played

Scoring Def.

Scoring Off.


147 78 8

31 (9.75)

1 (18.38)





50 (11.33)

1 (15.94)





11 (12.50)

1 (15.94)





58 (12.94)

19 (10.69)





55 (11.80)

36 (9.20)





50 (11.50)

50 (8.31)





52 (11.64)

14 (10.57)


155 123 16

T11 (7.69)

21 (9.69)


248 170 18

30 (9.44)

2 (13.78)


176 163 15

49 (10.87)

3 (11.73)

Albany is ranked first in scoring margin, outscoring opponents by an average of 8.63, and first in scoring, averaging 18.38 goals per game. Syracuse actually is up there in both those categories, second in scoring margin  (+6.63), and fourth in scoring offense (15 gpg.).

At halftime on Thursday, the Orange will be honoring Oren Lyons a 1958 graduate of Syracuse University. Lyons, a former goalie for Syracuse and 2015 recipient of the Spirit of Tewaaraton Award, played on the 1957 undefeated Syracuse lacrosse team alongside Jim Brown. Lyons is much more than a lacrosse guy, however. Lyons is a Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation Council of the Six Nations. He has worked with the United Nations, establishing the Working Group on Indigenous Population for the UN, and was awarded the UN NGO World Peace Prize.

Lyons is the most famous piece in a rich history of Iroquois players at Syracuse. Both Albany and Syracuse feature numerous players from the Iroquois Nation. Oren is heavily featured in a really interesting documentary, America's First Sport. In addition, I don't think it's available online, but The Medicine Game is another very cool look at lacrosse in Native American culture following the journey of twin brothers Jeremy (Syracuse) and Jerome Thompson (OCC) and as they try and play college lacrosse at Syracuse. The twins are the older brothers of Miles (Albany) and Lyle Thompson (Albany) and the cousins of Ty Thompson (Albany), Brett Bucktooth (Syracuse), and Marshall Abrams (Syracuse).


Lyle Thompson is first in the country in points per game and assists per game. He has 53 points this year after putting up 128 last year. In fact, 2014 was such an epic year for Lyle that his season ranks second ever in most assists for a player at 77 and first in goals at 128 points. Lyle is an insane box player, and his skills have translated well to field lacrosse. He likes to put his back against his defender so he feels which direction is more vulnerable. Any long pole that tries to go over the top with his stick will get easily beat by the senior. Albany also likes to pick behind the net to get Lyle free, Syracuse has to be ready to switch. Thompson is playing through an injured shoulder, which he sprained in the season opener against the Drexel Dragons. The injury is still bad enough that he is having trouble raising his arm.

With the loss of Myles Thompson and Ty Thompson, there was a bit of a question as to whether or not Albany could continue its dominance at attack with just Lyle. Arriving at Albany as the #15 high school lacrosse player in the incoming class, Connor Fields has made his mark. Fields has 30 goals and 12 assists this year and is second in the country in goals per game and sixth in points per game.

Seth Oakes missed 2014 due to injury but has gotten six starts at attack. A transfer from Onondaga Community College where he had 46 points helping OCC to win the NJCAA National Championship, Oakes has 20 goals and three assists in his first year on the field for the Great Danes. Oakes is coming off of a battle with the flu but may be close to 100%.


The offensive performance at midfield is fairly spread out. Coach Marr runs what he calls a "4-2" offense, meaning he will run two true midfielders with an attack-midfielder on offense. When transitioning to defense the true midfielders sub off in groups of two while the attack-midfielder switches off for a long-stick midfielder. Essentially Albany runs four attackman and two midfielders on offense and two midfielders and an LSM on defense. John Malone had four points against Syracuse last year and has nine goals and ten assists this year on four starts. Senior Matt Garziano spent time on both the first and second midfield lines last year, and in 2015 he has four starts, five goals and one assist. In his four years, Garziano has compiled a resume of 25 goals, 17 assists, 68 groundballs, and 25 caused turnovers. Ky Tarbell is another OCC transfer. Tarbell scored three points in seven games during the 2013 OCC campaign but did not play in 2014 due to injury. The redshirt sophomore has played in six games this season and has a goal and four assists.

Long-stick midfielder Eric Cantor has 17 career starts, including eight this year. As a junior this year, Cantor has 21 groundballs and eight caused turnovers. He is one of the top LSMs in the country


Connor Russell has eight starts this year as a sophomore. He has taken the majority of faceoffs in 2015, compiling 57 groundballs and a 102-193 record for a .528 winning percentage. Russell finished 2014 with a sub-.500 record. The other faceoff player for Albany is Cason Liles. The freshman has won 30 of 53 faceoffs but picked up just five groundballs.


The Great Danes lost two of its starting defenders from last year. The defense is not very strong but is led by sophomore James Burdette. Burdette started 14 games last year causing 13 turnovers and snagging 15 groundballs. This year the sophomore has seven groundballs and six caused turnovers. Junior Josh Babcock made three starts last year has two groundballs and three caused turnovers. AJ Kluck has four starts in his freshman year and has 20 groundballs and a team leading 10 caused turnovers. Fellow freshman Stone Sims has the other four starts and has eight groundballs and six caused turnovers.


Blaze Riorden holds a 10.43 goals against average this season with a .538 save percentage. Statistically, Riorden is not a great goalie, but he faces a ton of shots. Albany allows over 21 shots on goal per game, comparatively, Wardwell sees over 18 shots on goal per game. To give you a bit more clarity, Riorden is 36th in the nation in goals against average but 19th in saves made per game. The Orange should be able to score fairly easily against Riorden on Thursday.

The Orange will return home to take on the Albany Great Danes on Thursday at 7:00 pm. The game can be seen locally on TWCS and heard on WTKW 99.5 FM. Of course you can also follow me @Orangelax for updates throughout the game.