Thompson leads way as Albany wins America East tourney championship
STONY BROOK, N.Y. -- Named the America East Conference tournament’s most outstanding player, sophomore attack Lyle Thompson had nine points to pace No. 12 Albany past UMBC 19-10 in the championship game Saturday at LaValle Stadium. The Great Danes took home their fifth championship title in 11 years.
“We worked very, very hard, as hard as I have seen any team work to get to this point,” Albany head coach Scott Marr said. “We felt relieved because when you are the top seed in your conference tournament it is a relief when you come through as the No. 1 seed to win the championship.”
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Thompson, the fifth Great Dane to be named MOP, continues to climb the NCAA record book for points in a single season with 108, which ranks third-best in NCAA history with Air Force’s Joe Vasta (1986) and is seven points away from Steve Marahol (114) of UMBC for the all-time record.
Right out of the gate, Thompson set the tempo for Albany (13-4) with an assist to his cousin Ty Thompson for his 100th point of the season and the Great Danes' first lead, 1-0, with 10:33 left in the first stanza.
UMBC came back with back-to-back goals from David Campbell and Scott Jones to swing the lead in its favor, 2-1, with 8:29 remaining.
Lyle Thompson contributed on two consecutive Albany goal’s to end the period for a 3-2 lead. He found Will Fuller in front of the net for the first. Then less than two minutes later, he set up 15 yards from the net, sent a laser that grazed the turf and passed by UMBC goalie Wes DiRito.
Thompson continued his phenomenal offensive play in the second quarter with a goal 34 seconds in to extend the Great Danes' lead to two, 4-2.
The Retrievers answered with three goals for their second lead of the game, 5-4, with 9:18 left in the half. UMBC used a man-up situation, Jones’ second goal and Matt Gregoire’s first goal of the game to retain the lead.
Albany turned up the heat and ended the half on a 5-0 run for a 9-5 lead. Miles Thompson began the run and ended the run, scoring three goals in an eight-minute span. Tim Cox and John Maloney joined in on the offensive charge for the four-goal advantage.
“Offensively, myself, Miles and Ty were forcing too many shots and tried to set the tempo early,” said Lyle Thompson on the called timeout before the 5-0 run. “We told each other to settle down, don’t force passes that are not there.
After that timeout, all three of us got together and knew that we set the tempo for the team, so we told each other to settle down and play our game.”
America East Rookie of the Year Pat Young wasted no time in the second half, scoring the Retrievers' sixth goal of the game 39 seconds in to keep his team in striking distance.
The Great Danes used another run of four goals to push their lead to seven, 13-6, with 5:57 left in the third quarter. Ty Thompson and Miles Thompson began the run and Ryan Feuerstein fired a straight heater for his first of the game. Matt Bertrams capped it off by taking the faceoff and going 40 yards for his second goal of the season.
With a 14-7 lead going into the fourth quarter, the Great Danes' defense locked down and held the Retrievers to three goals in the final 15 minutes. In the mix of the five goals that Albany scored in the final period, the most notable was Ty Thompson’s goal with 9:54 left. He dodged one defender and as he was facing away from the net he sent a shot through his legs and the goalie’s legs to drop the jaws of the fans.
Albany goalie Blaze Riorden recorded eight saves on 18 chances in his 13th win between the pipes. DiRito tallied 10 saves in the loss.