College lacrosse: Albany senior Justin Reh set for big year after flying under the radar
ALBANY — Everyone knows all about senior Connor Fields and freshman Tehoka Nanticoke.
The third piece of the University at Albany men's lacrosse team's starting attack?
Justin Reh, he gets to fly under the radar quite a bit.
"And," UAlbany head coach Scott Marr said, "he could have a monster year."
The UAlbany-Maryland men's lacrosse game on March 10th will air nationally on the Big Ten Network. https://t.co/ga9ihyaW6i— UAlbany Sports (@UAlbanySports) February 15, 2018
Reh, a senior, already had one of those last year when he scored 39 goals in 18 games. That scoring total — which he coupled with 19 assists — ranked him No. 19 in the country, and he's likely to improve upon that total this season playing with a pair of players capable of demanding double-teams and extra attention from opposing defenses.
"But it's pretty similar," Reh said of his role within this year's offense for the Great Danes, who open their season Saturday with a top 10 clash at Syracuse. "Obviously, playing with Connor is unbelievable because his vision and ability to go to the net is unbelievable — and Tehoka's a third piece that's just going to make our attack better."
Fields and Nanticoke will each take turns dancing with the ball this year, dynamic 1-on-1 talents capable of running the Great Danes' offense for long stretches. Fields is coming off a 117-point season and is a favorite to win the Tewaaraton Award, while Nanticoke is regarded as the nation's top freshman.
"So the double's going to come quick on them," Reh said.
The @UAlbanyMLax team had its first pre-season scrimmage Saturday against Colgate. Connor Fields behind the back pass to Justin Reh one of the nicer highlights in this one.— Todd Schlegel (@ToddSchlegelTV) February 3, 2018
Highlights and reaction here: https://t.co/paRUrkB71r pic.twitter.com/Y4tpPCiMcr
That's where the senior becomes so important for the Great Danes.
Reh's combination of savvy footwork and an accurate shot — 47.6 percent of his shots landed last year — makes him an ideal partner for ball-dominant attackmen like Fields and Nanticoke.
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"He's great at cutting. He finds those lanes and he's going to keep doing that for us," Fields said. "That's a guy you can always count on because he just wants to win."
"I feel like he's one of our hardest working players," Nanticoke said.
Squad goals— NCAA Lacrosse (@NCAALAX) January 31, 2018
Does anyone have better headshots than Albany? pic.twitter.com/vZ7HEtBsrp
While much attention has been paid to how Fields and Nanticoke will play together this season, Marr is quick to point out that Fields-to-Reh is likely Albany's best scoring connection at this point. Fields and Nanticoke are still building up repetitions with one another, while Fields and Reh already have their act down.
"Justin's still that guy Connor's looking for the most," Marr said. "He's looking for Tehoka, as well, but he's been playing with Justin for four years. . . . Justin does a really good job of putting himself in the right position to be a scorer."
Expectations remain high around the Albany program and Reh — along with twin brother Troy Reh, a long-stick midfielder — is one of the main reasons those exist heading into his senior season of college lacrosse, but he said he's not focused on anything beyond Saturday's game.
"Our mentality is to take one game at a time," Reh said, "and one step at a time."
This article is written by Michael Kelly from The Daily Gazette, Schenectady, N.Y. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.