The America East conference tournament will take place Thursday and Saturday at Stony Brook University. Unlike in past years, the winner of this tournament will be the sole America East team to make the NCAA field, and each participant has a shot at winning bragging rights in 2019:
Semifinal #1: #3 Albany (5-8) vs. #2 Vermont (7-6)
One year removed from a Final Four appearance, the Albany Great Danes have taken a significant step back this season after graduating a monster senior class in 2018. Despite this, the Danes have managed to hang tough in most of their games, and they played Vermont tight in a 10-9 loss on April 6th. Going into the rematch, Albany will need to lean hard on the duo of Jacob Patterson (24,29) and Tehoka Nanticoke (24,11) to get production against Vermont’s 10th ranked scoring defense. These two disappeared in some games, and Scott Marr needs to get offense from his two best players. The Catamounts have built up a reputation in recent years for defense, and this year is no different. They are led in cage by Nick Washuta (56%), and they rely on a Canadian-influenced offense led by Dawes Milchling (23,15) and Ben French (26,8). Albany can get exposed at times on defense, so they will need to play a consistent 60 minutes to beat Vermont. The Catamounts similarly will need to prepare for the faster Albany offense, and the winner will most likely be the team that controls pace of play. Both of these teams are playing for their seasons, so the loser will go home and the winner will play in the America East championship on Saturday.
Semifinal #2: #4 UMBC (4-8) vs. #1 Stony Brook (9-5)
After getting pummeled by Penn State to start the season, Stony Brook has had a very fine year with nine wins. With a combination of New York guys and some Canadians, Stony Brook has built a tough brand of lacrosse over the years and they are heavy favorites going into this matchup with UMBC. Last time these two teams played, UMBC got handled by Stony Brook 14-7. Heading into this matchup, the formula for Stony Brook is pretty clear: get production from an attack led by Tom Haun (31,12) and clamp down on UMBC with a defense led by Canadian national team member Ryland Rees. UMBC on the other hand is led by a couple of nice offensive pieces in Ryan Frawley (33,4) and Trevor Patschorke (23,14), but their defense has been horrendous this season, surrendering 12+ goals in six of their games so far. Barring a masterful UMBC game plan, this second semifinal will most likely be less of a dogfight than the first with Stony Brook as the favorite. Similarly to the other semifinal game, the winner of this one will play in the championship game on Saturday while the loser gets sent back to the drawing board for next year.