Albany's Claims #AEMLAX Championship; Earns #8 Seed for NCAA Tourney
ALBANY , N.Y. – For the fourth time in the last five years and eighth time overall, Albany is the America East men's lacrosse champion. Tewaraaton Award candidate and America East Offensive Player of the Year Connor Fields tallied nine points to lead the top-seeded Great Danes to a 20-8 win over third-seeded Binghamton on Saturday at Albany's Tom & Mary Casey Stadium.
The Great Danes, who advance to the NCAA tournament for fifth-straight year and ninth time overall, earned the No. 8 seed for the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship and host defending national champion North Carolina on Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m. at Casey Stadium. It is Albany second home NCAA draw and first since 2007.
America East teams have won 11 NCAA games all-time, including five since 2007 and three by Albany.
Fields earned Most Outstanding Player honors after totaling 16 points on five goals and 11 assists, an America East Championship record, in the two games. He had three goals and six helpers, tying a single-game tournament record, Saturday.
Albany (14-2) came out strong out of the gate and jumped ahead of the Bearcats third-ranked defense by scoring three times in the first two minutes, including a pair by first-team All-Conference selection Adam Osika.
Binghamton (11-5), which posted seven more wins than last season this year, scored two of the next three goals, including one by first-team all-leaguer Tom Moore with 12:19 left in the second, that drew his team within two at 4-2.
The Great Danes, which feature the nation's highest-scoring offense, scored eight more times in the second against only two for Binghamton and took a 12-4 lead into halftime.
After the two teams alternated goals in the third, the Great Danes scored all four of the fourth quarter's goals, including a pair by Justin Reh, who finished with a game-high five goals.
TD Ierlan, an America East All-Championship choice, again dominated the faceoff X, winning 21-of-29 draws. As a team, Albany set a championship record by winning 77.9 percent of its faceoffs in its two wins.
Moore, an All-Championship choice, paced Binghamton with three goals.
Fields, Ierlan and Moore were joined on the All-Championship team by Albany's JD Colarusso and Kyle McClancy, Binghamton's Stephen Petrelli and Garrett Waldron, UMBC's Jason Brewster and Jake Brothers and Stony Brook's Tom Haun and Ryland Rees.
Albany's Josh Egan earned the conference's Elite 17 Award for men's lacrosse by having the highest GPA among participating student-athletes in the championship game. The senior carries a 3.96 GPA in business administration.