ITHACA, N.Y. -- Tasked with a rematch against a squad No. 6 Albany fell to in the regular season, the Great Danes dominated the day with a 19-10 win against Cornell on Saturday to return to the NCAA quarterfinal round.
Down 2-0 early, Albany (16-2) rolled off 11 consecutive goals and held off Cornell (10-6) for 26:30 to lead at halftime 11-3. Cornell got to within six, but Albany used a Blaze Riorden goalkeeper score to finish the third quarter to build the momentum and take control for good, outscoring the Big Red 6-3 in the final 20 minutes.
Albany will move on the NCAA quarterfinal round in Denver. The Great Danes will play Notre Dame next Saturday at Mile High Stadium.
Riorden saved 19 shots on the day, just two shy of his career high but setting a career best in the NCAAs, as well as routinely starting plays in transition for the Albany offense. His goal is the second of his college career and first with a goalie’s stick.
“It was off a save, I got the ball and saw open field,” Riorden said. “I saw Connor [Fields] clearing, and I knew the offense was tired. I made a stick fake as I saw someone sliding, and I put [the ball] in a good place.”
Lyle Thompson tied the NCAA DI record for assists (held by Tim Nelson), totaling 221 in his career. He netted three goals and six assists for nine points, standing with 395 points in his career. In addition, he has 115 points, the third-highest single-season points mark in DI history behind his own 2014 mark of 128 and Miles Thompson’s mark of 119.
“Jordan Stevens did a good job with me,” Thompson said. “Once the transition started hitting, they had to respect our middies and that opened up some things for me.”
Connor Fields led Albany in goals with four to total 60 on the season, the third-highest mark in program history. He added an assist and three ground balls.
“Our defense was playing great as a unit, and Blaze [Riorden] was shutting the door,” Fields said. “Good defense leads to good offense.”
Seth Oakes finished with two goals, an assist and a caused turnover on the ride. Derrick Eccles and John Maloney each scored a pair of goals. As a team, Albany outshot Cornell 52-45.
For Cornell, Connor Buczek led the way with two goals and an assist, while Matt Donovan had a goal and two assists. Christian Knight got the loss in goal despite 19 saves.