August 8, 2022

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LATHAM – A University at Albany women’s lacrosse team that lost four of its top...

LATHAM – A University at Albany women’s lacrosse team that lost four of its top five scorers from last season will find out quickly about itself in Sunday’s opener.
The revamped Great Danes are putting themselves to the test immediately, playing 13th-ranked Stanford at 1 p.m. on John Fallon Field.

“I think we’re ready for it,” senior defenseman/midfielder Eliza MacCaull said after Thursday’s practice at Afrim’s Sports Dome. “I’m really excited. Our team has been practicing a lot and we’re ready to knock off those big teams and stuff. It’s a great home opener. Hoping to have lots of people show out and I’m excited for us to get out on our home field.”
Stanford began its season on Friday with a 12-9 loss at No. 3 Syracuse. The Cardinal remained in New York to face the Great Danes for the fourth time. Stanford leads the series 2-1 and prevailed 16-13 in 2019 at Casey Stadium in their most recent meeting.

“We don’t really play a lot of West Coast teams, so that’ll be a nice change,” UAlbany sophomore midfielder Katie Pascale said. “They’re coming off Syracuse, a really good Syracuse team, so hopefully we hit them just as hard as Syracuse does.”
Maybe not as hard as the Northeast weather. After playing in the Carrier Dome, Stanford will be greeted by a forecast temperature of 28 degrees at game time.

“There’ll definitely be a weather change for them, but they have a whole lot of East Coast players that are from this area who were just here for winter break and practicing in these conditions, so they’ll definitely be ready to play,” UAlbany head coach Katie Rowan Thomson said.

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Pascale led the Great Danes in scoring last season with 63 points on 34 goals and 29 assists. She was named the America East Rookie of the Year.
She’s a younger player on a roster with 13 seniors and graduate students. UAlbany lost graduate midfielder Kendra Harbinger (48 points) of Clifton Park, who transferred to UMass, and fifth-year midfielder Kyla Zapolski (50 goals), who transferred to America East rival Stony Brook.

“I’m trying to take this leadership role as it comes to me, but I think our senior class is great, really,” Pascale said. “They’ve been here a long time. … We’re taking it day to day and trying to prepare ourselves.”
The Great Danes were picked to finish tied for second with UMBC. They’re behind preseason favorite Stony Brook, which has beaten UAlbany in the past eight America East championship games.

The Seawolves are ineligible for this year’s conference tournament because the athletic program is moving to the Colonial Athletic Association next season. While that seems to bust the door wide open for UAlbany to win the league, Rowan Thomson and her players have declined to comment on what Stony Brook’s departure means for the Great Danes’ title hopes.

“The team is ready to go and we have a lot of depth at each position,” Rowan Thomson said.


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