HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBS4) — The University of Albany came out quickly and held on late in its NCAA quarterfinal men’s lacrosse victory Saturday over the University of Denver.
Albany scored three goals in the first 2:07 of the contest for an early advantage, though Denver responded with a 5-1 run to take a 5-4 lead with 9:37 to go before halftime.
Goals by Ethan Walker, Colton McCaffrey, Ted Sullivan, Joe Reid and Colton Jackson put the Pioneers on top.
It would be DU’s only lead of the contest, though.
Albany responded with three straight goals to go into the locker room at halftime up 7-5.
Reid and Nate Marano scored consecutive goals to tie the game at 9-9 with 3:55 to go in the third quarter, but the the Great Danes put together another 3-0 run.
DU battled back to within 12-11 in the fourth quarter with two more Jackson scores, but Albany again ran off three in row for its biggest lead of the match with a little over two minutes remaining.
Albany, the second seed in the Division I postseason, successfully ran out the clock and drained unseeded DU’s hopes.
Jackson, a junior midfielder from Highlands Ranch, scored four goals for the third time in his three years with DU. Reid added a hat trick of his own.
The most anticipated individual matchup, however, took place between faceoff specialists Trevor Baptiste of DU and Albany’s TD Ierlan.
Baptiste, a 230-pound senior, came into the contest already having won more faceoffs than any other player in NCAA history.
But Ierlan, a 175-pound sophomore, was having one of the best faceoff seasons ever.
Saturday, the pair fought to a draw statistically. But Ierlan ultimately walked away with a new single-season NCAA mark for faceoffs won, and his team advanced to its first-ever berth in the NCAA Championship Weekend next weekend.
Maryland, Cornell, Johns Hopkins and Duke play Sunday to determine the remaining semifinal teams.
DU, which won the national title in 2015, ended its season 13-4.
Last week, Baptiste was named a Tewaaraton Award Finalist for the second straight year. Last year, he was the first-ever faceoff specialist ever to be named a finalist for the award, which is given to the nation’s most outstanding player.
DU men’s lacrosse has had a Tewaaraton finalist for four straight years. Only three other schools can make that claim.