By JOHN KEKIS
The Associated Press
ALBANY — Albany men’s lacrosse coach Scott Marr has reached another milestone — his Great Danes were ranked No.1 in both national polls released Monday.
It marks the first time that any Division I program in the State University of New York system has received a No. 1 ranking, and the Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team later joined the Great Danes, topping all three women’s polls.
Albany moved to the top spot after its second straight convincing victory of the young season. Albany received 24 first-place votes to easily top defending national champion Maryland. The Terps (4-0) received six votes and third-place Duke (4-1), the preseason No. 1, received one vote after losing at Penn on Saturday. Albany also topped the coaches’ poll, receiving 15 of 23 first-place votes.
For Marr, it was just another day as he tries to guide the Great Danes to one big thing that’s eluded them — a berth in the Final Four.
“It’s great for our program, great for all of the people involved over all the years that have worked to get us to this point,” said Marr, in his 18th season at Albany. “But for this team, we’re 2-0 and that’s it.”
Some 2-0, though. The Great Danes beat perennial powerhouse Syracuse 15-3 on the road to open the season and followed with an 18-5 win at home over Drexel on Saturday. Albany held the Orange to their worst offensive performance since a 10-3 loss to North Carolina in 1991; the setback also was Syracuse’s most lopsided at home since a 19-6 loss to Cornell in 1987. A week later, Albany led Drexel 16-2 at halftime before Marr pulled his starters.
Albany has been an offensive juggernaut under Marr, leading the nation in scoring four of the past five years, and that trend seems likely to continue. Last year, Connor Fields had 55 goals and 62 assists for 117 points, the fourth-highest scoring season in Division I history, and he has impressive company for his senior year in Tehoka Nanticoke, the top recruit in the nation.
Nanticoke, a 6-foot-1, 235-pound freshman from Canada, scored five goals against Syracuse in his college debut, and four came in the third quarter when the Great Danes put the game out of reach, stretching a three-goal halftime lead to an 11-2 advantage. Nanticoke was named America East Conference offensive player and rookie of the week for his performance.
“We’re excited,” Fields said. “It (No. 1 ranking) definitely gets our confidence up, but our main goal is to be No. 1 at the end of the year.”
The Stony Brook women have won three straight games to begin the season, all against nationally ranked teams. The Seawolves beat No. 5 USC 14-10 to open the season, knocked off No. 23 Stanford 14-9, and topped No. 20 Denver 16-3 at home on Sunday.
SUNY’s system of universities, colleges, and community colleges is one of the largest in the nation with 64 campuses scattered across the state.