A trio of relatives led the University at Albany as the Harvard men’s lacrosse team (4-4, 1-1 Ivy) struggled to a 16-7 loss at Soldier’s Field Tuesday night.
The nation’s top-rated attack sustained the Great Danes (5-3, 0-0 America East) throughout the contest as three Thompsons—brothers Lyle and Miles and cousin Ty—combined for nine goals. Albany held a commanding 8-3 lead by the half.
“We got outplayed,” said Harvard coach Chris Wojcik. “Albany executed better in most areas of the field. I thought that we came out of the gates with energy, but turnovers and transition offense really hurt us.”
Attack Lyle Thompson, who entered the game ranked second in the nation in points per game and first in assists per game, opened the Albany onslaught two and a half minutes into the match. The sophomore has been the most effective member of the family and finished the night with a game-high four goals and four assists.
Harvard responded quickly with a goal by sophomore midfielder Murphy Vandervelde to tie the game, and only a minute later, the Crimson’s leading scorer Alex White caught the ball at the top of the box, drove straight past his defender and buried the ball in the cage to give Harvard its only lead, 2-1.
But from there, it was all Albany.
To start, junior attack Miles Thompson backed down his defender before taking a no-look shot that made it past Harvard goalkeeper Harry Krieger 5:45 into the first. Lyle then followed that with two straight goals. The youngest Thompson closed out the first quarter with a successful underhanded rip and opened the second with a one-on-one with Krieger after a Harvard failed clear and turnover in its own end.
The Crimson’s woes continued as senior Great Dane defender Jack Nickla (1 goal, 1 assist) picked up the ball at the top of the Albany box and ran it all the way across the field for a goal. Junior attack Ty Thompson then added another to extend Albany’s lead to 7-2.
After the Great Danes were assessed a tripping penalty, Harvard tried to reclaim some momentum. Vandervelde received a pass from junior attack Peter Schwartz about 12 yards from the cage before finding the back of the net.
But the Great Danes would score again before halftime, as senior attack Will Fuller isolated himself on a Crimson midfielder behind the goal and before feeding sophomore teammate Tim Cox for the final goal of the half.
“We knew they had a great offense,” said captain Jason Gonos. “We struggled to stop them early on and they got some momentum that we couldn’t really stop.”
Albany came out strong in the second half as Fuller scored two minutes into the half. Ty Thompson added his second goal six minutes later after a rebound landed right in his lap.
Harvard responded with a blistering shot from about 15 yards out by White, his second of the game and 14th of the season, on a man-up opportunity that resulted from an Albany slash. It was followed by a goal by Schwartz to bring the game within five.
Albany did not allow the game to get any closer. Lyle Thompson backed down his defender and drew separate penalty flags for holding and for slashing before feeding one of his teammates for a wide open goal. Lyle assisted Miles for another goal 30 seconds later during the ensuing man-up chance.
In the fourth quarter, Vandervelde scored his third of the game, and freshman midfielder Brendan Newman struck for the Crimson. But both were overshadowed by four Albany goals as the game came to a close.