ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS!0) – Last season, Blaze Riorden helped stifle Cornell with an end-to-end goal. This year, he stopped the Big Red with 18 saves in-between the pipes to lead the #15/16 UAlbany men’s lacrosse team to a 12-8 victory over RV/RV Cornell at John Fallon Field.
Fueled by Riorden’s 18 saves, including nine in the fourth quarter, UAlbany (2-1) held off a Cornell (1-2) team that won 19 of 24 faceoffs. Though outshot 45-35, UAlbany scored on 12 of their 21 shots on goal and caused 11 turnovers on defense to hold the line.
“An absolute quality win over a quality opponent today,” said UAlbany coach Scott Marr. “Blaze [Riorden] played very well, and we fed off his energy. To lose that many faceoffs, our defense was excellent, and our offense played very well when called upon.”
This victory gives UAlbany two straight wins over in-state rival Cornell. The Great Danes defeated the Big Red last season in Ithaca to open the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
“We played great overall team defense; they played a system offense, and we knew if we could shut it down, we could win,” said Riorden. “The defense gave up shots I could save, and they played great in front of me.”
Connor Fields led the offense with four goals and two assists, adding a caused turnover on the ride. Seth Oakes netted three goals and an assist while Justin Reh had two goals, two assists and a caused turnover. Riorden earned the victory and added five ground balls and two caused turnovers while James Burdette had two caused turnovers and two ground balls at close defense.
For Cornell, Colton Rupp scored four goals and had a caused turnover on the ride while Domenic Massimilian won 19-of-24 faceoffs and scooped 12 ground balls. Brennan Donville got the loss in goal with nine saves and four ground balls.
UAlbany picked up two quick goals in the first quarter with a catch and shoot goal from Fields to Oakes one minute in, then later a long rip and score from Jack Burgmaster for his first career goal. The UAlbany defense held on the next three Cornell chances, a John Maloney caused turnover and two Riorden saves, until Rupp scored his first goal for the 2-1 UAlbany score.
Into the second, Burdette caused a turnover to send UAlbany to offense. Fields found Reh open in front of the goal circle. Reh waved his stick and scored point-blank. A minute later, Reh passed to Fields for the rocket shot in between Donville’s feet for the score, making it 4-1 UAlbany.
Cornell added the next two from John Edmonds and Ryan Matthews to pull with one with just under six minutes left in the 2nd. UAlbany responded with two quick goals after a behind the back pass from Oakes to Eli Lasda, who scored while being shoved into the crease, and Oakes then dodging a defender and scoring on a close shot. After another Rupp goal, Fields broke through a double team near the circle and scored on a low shot, putting the score at 7-4 UAlbany, the eventual halftime tally.
UAlbany built on its lead early in the third with Fields netting a ball on a roll towards the circle, then another off a catch and shoot from Derrick Eccles. Cornell countered with the next three goals over a span of 6:45.Adam Osika broke the run with a shot and score just inside the right pipe. UAlbany held on Cornell’s last two possessions of the 3rd with Troy Reh causing a turnover and Riorden saving a late Edmonds shot in transition as UAlbany led 10-7 after three.
Riorden held off an aggressive Cornell offense in the 4th, saving four shots in the opening 3:15. Cornell’s next chance was a goal from Rupp to bring the Big Red within two at 10-8 with 10:27 to play. After Massimilian won the faceoff, Riorden saved two shots as UAlbany cleared. In transition, Maloney passed to Justin Reh for the slam dunk right next to the goal circle to put UAlbany back by three.
Next Cornell possession, Riorden saved a shot the intercepted a pass from behind the cage to stop the chance. Following an exchange, Oakes fired a shot into the goal over the goalie’s shoulder to make it 12-8 UAlbany.
Riorden saved another shot from Matthews as UAlbany begin killing clock. UAlbany held the rest of the way, with Riorden causing another turnover, as the Great Danes earned the 12-8 victory.
UAlbany will hit the road for its next game, taking on UMass in Amherst on Tuesday, March 8th at 3 p.m.