ALBANY –– How loaded is University at Albany men's lacrosse this season?
Here's one example: Sophomore Jakob Patterson was a starting attackman for most of last season and produced 23 goals, tied for fifth-best on the Great Danes -- and he has had to change positions this year to stay on the field.
Here's a second: Patterson has had no problem with that because, well, he gets it.
"Knowing Tehoka was coming in," Patterson said Wednesday, "we knew a couple things were going to change."
"Tehoka" is Tehoka Nanticoke, Albany's prized freshman who debuted with five goals last weekend in the Great Danes' 15-3 pummeling of Syracuse, a win that led to Albany moving to No. 2 in both national polls. Albany head coach Scott Marr plugged Nanticoke into his starting attack -- along with seniors Connor Fields and Justin Reh -- without hesitation, an easy move made easier by Patterson's acceptance of his role change. Even when things were going well last year for him, Patterson said he understood he'd likely shift to become an offensive midfielder this season when Nanticoke arrived.
The UAlbany men's lacrosse team has risen to #2 nationally in both the coaches and media polls, matching its highest-ever ranking. https://t.co/n7xfFzpgmT— UAlbany Sports (@UAlbanySports) February 19, 2018
"On-the-field-wise, I think playing a different position, I'm a little more of a dodger this year than I was last year," Patterson said. "I was more of a crease guy [last year]. That's better for me, to start dodging more."
Hard to argue with Patterson's take, too, after he debuted at his new position with four goals on eight shots against Syracuse.
"He's as slick as they come," Marr said. "He's got tremendous IQ for the game. Tremendous finisher, but can also move the ball."
That's with the pass and with his feet. Against Syracuse, Patterson often found himself matched up with a short-stick defender rather than one with a long pole. That's likely to continue, as opposing defenses likely need to focus their long-stick defenders on Fields, Nanticoke, Reh and senior midfielder Kyle McClancy.
Patterson nets his fourth goal of the day, and UAlbany leads Syracuse 15-3 with 58 seconds left.— UAlbany Lacrosse (@UAlbanyMLax) February 17, 2018
"We get him against a short stick a lot of times now -- not against that [long] pole," Marr said of Patterson. "That really gives him a lot of freedom to create a lot of offense for us."
When such a matchup occurs, Nanticoke said Patterson is a top option for the Great Danes.
"That's a positive for us," Nanticoke said of those situations. "That's a 'green,' I think we'd call it."
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.