After its most complete game of the season, the No. 7 Maryland men’s lacrosse will be back at Capital One Field Saturday for a battle with the Albany Great Danes.
Maryland is looking to start 5-1 for the third-straight season. The Terps defeated Albany 14-9 last year, led by three goals from Jared Bernhardt.
The game is scheduled for 1 p.m Saturday and can be streamed on BTN Plus.
Albany Great Danes (2-2, 0-0 America East)
2019 record: (5-9, 4-3 America East)
Head coach Scott Marr is in his 20th season as head coach of the Great Danes. He has been their only head coach in program history.
After a stellar 2018 season, capped by a trip the Final Four, Marr’s squad struggled in 2019, winning just five games. They have had a so-so start to the 2020 season, losing two games to top-10 teams. Their two victories came by a goal a piece.
Players to know
Tehoka Nanticoke, junior attacker, 6’1, 248 lbs, No. 51. Nanticoke is the Great Danes’ No. 1 option on offense. After a stellar sophomore campaign where he was named to the America East All-Conference First Team, he’s on pace to repeat those honors.
In four games, Tehokia has already accounted for 21 points and a team-high 38 shots. At 6’1 and 248 pounds, Nanticoke possesses a problem with his size for any opponent. He missed the game against Maryland last season, so look for Nanticoke to make a big impact Saturday.
“They’ve got a tricky offense with a lot of moving pieces,” junior midfielder Roman Puglise said. “Tehoka is a load, but he’s got some of the best skills in the country and he can make plays at any moment.”
Nate Siekierski, senior goalkeeper, 6’3, 210 lbs, No. 6. Siekerski is in year two as starting goalie of the Great Danes, and his season is off to a rough start. After allowing 11.54 goals per game as a junior, that number has jumped to 15.75 this season.
Siekierski is saving just 41 percent of all shots, which is also a 10 percent decrease from last season. He’s faced some tough opponents in Cornell and UMass, but the Terps’ offense is just as explosive. Siekerski will have to break out of his slump for the Great Danes to have a chance.
Jakob Patterson, senior attacker, 6’0, 185 lbs, No. 17. Patterson is the reigning America East Offensive Player of the Year. He has been a staple in the Great Danes offense for four seasons now. As a junior, he recorded a career-high 57 points.
Now as a senior, Patterson has scored 17 points in three games. In last season’s game against Maryland, he netted two goals on a team-high eight shots. Patterson is 1-1 in his career against Maryland and will look to break the tie on Saturday.
Offense. When two of your best players are on the attack, your offense is bound to be explosive. And that is exactly what the Great Danes have in the aforementioned Nanticoke and Patterson.
Albany has reached double-figure goals in each of its first four games and is averaging 12.75 goals per contest. One of the keys to Maryland’s victory last season was holding the Great Danes to nine goals.
“[Film] shows they are a very dynamic offense, you know that’s something they are known for,” head coach John Tillman said. “Scotty Marr is a very great offensive mind. Always has been. They have great skill, they share the ball so we’re gonna have to do a very good job of defending.”
Coming off of their best defensive performance of the season, the Terps will have to repeat that on type of effort on Saturday.
Defense. Despite returning three starting midfielders and their goalie, the Great Danes have struggled on defense this season. They have allowed over 15 goals per game this season.
While Marr is known as an offensive coach, he’s seen Tillman’s group several times before and will likely have a gameplan to contain the Terps’ offense. Maryland will have to continue to utilize its veteran offensive group to poke holes in Albany’s defense.
Three things to watch
1. How does Logan McNaney follow up his first career start? Tillman made a surprising decision last weekend when he went with freshman Logan McNaney in goal over Chris Brandau. Tillman’s decision paid off as McNaney shined. He saved 10 shots while allowing nine goals.
“Logan being a freshman, coming in here and playing against a top-five team, you gotta give him all the credit in the world in a difficult spot,” senior defenseman Nick Grill said after the Notre Dame game. “He played great in practice, so I think he earned that.”
The road does not get any easier for McNaney as he has to face Albany’s electric offense. But if the defense plays like it did last week, McNaney’s job should be a bit easier.
2. How do the Terps contain Nanticoke? After missing last season’s game, the Terps haven’t had to face the physicality of Nanticoke since 2018. Maryland has faced its share of talented attackmen, but none possess the sheer physicality of Nanticoke.
Sophomore Brett Makar is the closest thing the Terps have to Nanticoke’s size at 6’1, 205 lbs, so he will likely draw the assignment, but it will be a team effort to slow down the Ontario native.
3. Who gets the start out of the “Hawg Pen” for the Terps? After the first three games. Tillman has gone with a different starter at faceoff specialist for the Terps. Against Villanova, freshman Conor Calderone took every faceoff and had his best game of the season. Last Saturday, Justin Shockey got the start and had his best game of the season as well.
The faceoff group, also known as the “Hawg Pen,” has had success as of late. When Maryland possesses the ball, they are a hard team to stop. Whether it’s Shockey, Calderone, or even Joel Trucksess, the starter will have to continue to provide a spark for their team.