Albany is 12-5 with wins over UMass, Penn State, and Loyola. They lost to Syracuse, Drexel, Bryant (all by 1), Canisius, and Hopkins. Albany has had their ups and downs this season, but is looking to improve on their 8 game win streak .
Albany’s offense is Legen……dary!
The Thompson trio has made highlight reels on ESPN, and all across the internet, and were even featured on the national news programs.
As a whole Albany is scoring 16.1 goals per game. Lyle, Miles, and Ty all have 39+ goals , plus there are two other Albany players with 21+ goals on the season. They play an exciting game of lacrosse as their games also average 85 shots per game combined between Albany and their opponents. However this is also a weakness.
On the defensive side of the field is where they have struggled. Blaze Riordan who has improved since last year, maintains a save percentage of 55.5% which is better than a number of remaining goalies. The problem is even at 55.5%, when he faces the sheer volume of shots, he still has an 11.1 goals against.
Against a good Loyola team, the Albany defense showed one of their best games yet holding them to just 6 goals in large part due to the play of Blaze saving 13 (68.4%)
Notre Dame is 10-5 with wins over North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Syracuse, Army, Harvard. Losses to Penn State, Denver, Syracuse, Duke, Maryland
Notre Dame is having a different kind of year. A school that traditionally pumps out great defenses and goalies has seen a flip flop this year. They are scoring 11.9 goals per game while allowing 9.5 goals per game. Even the Irish man down has suffered as opponents are converting 45% of the time.
Notre Dame is a team that this year has pushed the game tempo at times when it suited them, but when they want to they try to slow the game down. There is an average of 69 shots per game combined between Notre Dame and their opponents. 16 less per game than Albany. We’ll come back to pace in a minute.
In net for Notre Dame is Connor Kelly. He has a save percentage of 50% on the year. However he has great days, and horrible days. In the past 4 games, he has posted:
Harvard = 17 Saves + 5 Goals Against = 77.3%
Army = 10 Saves + 17 Goals Against = 37%
Syracuse = 8 Saves + 14 Goals Against = 36.4%
Maryland = 12 Saves + 5 Goals Against = 70.6%
Now back to pace of play. Notre Dame has won all of the above games in a row, with all but Harvard 1 goal wins. So a 6-5 win over Maryland, and a 18-17 win against Army, Notre Dame’s pace can change.
Albany’s frantic pace generates a ton of points but also comes at a price (shots against). Notre Dame’s shooters are good, but not as good as Loyola’s. Notre Dame will need to keep the pace of the game to a crawl…and even if they do succeed in bottling up the game, at what point will the energy and excitement that Albany brings, just bust the game open? The other key will be how Connor holds up in net against an Albany team that shoots lights out.
For Albany the keys will be to keep pushing the pace…keep riding hard. Even if Notre Dame can stifle the game for a few quarters, they are banking on taking Albany’s speed out mentally. Albany needs to keep the pressure on for a full 4 quarters. The other thing they need to do is as a defensive unit, build upon the great success they had against Loyola. Communicate, slide fast, and hope Blaze keeps the fire going.