The Leopards will board their vehicles on Wednesday to make the long trek to the University of Albany, to play one of their toughest opponents they will see this year. Albany has 13 straight winning seasons under head Coach Phil Sykes, including a final four appearance in 2014. Last year they amassed a 16-5 record including a 4-0 win against Lafayette in Easton. They are again picked to win the American East title this year. So the Leopards are again facing another preseason favorite to win their conference title.
In last year’s game the Danes built on a three goal first period lead, to win 4-0. Three of those who scored, # 5 McCrudden, #16 Rocktaeschel and # 12 Burchell will return this season. Sykes welcomed 7 new players, 6 freshman, and 1 transfer from Indiana, giving him a typical Albany squad of 18. There are 2 seniors listed on the squad. One will be # 3 Dana Bozek, their second leading scorer who had 11 goals and 4 assists.
Sykes has mentioned in interviews that integrating his new players is his biggest challenge and given that almost 40 percent of his squad is newcomers, he probably is telling the truth. But Albany has found ways to succeed, and I expect this team to be no exception. Aside from their league schedule they will play Harvard, Princeton, North Carolina and Delaware who look to be their toughest opponents.
This will be Albany’s first scrimmage, so I expect the opportunity to play against people with different colored jerseys on a full field is welcome. The Leopards of course will be playing their second scrimmage in three days but it will be their last chance before the real games begin on August 30 against VCU.
The weather looks a little iffy with thunderstorms predicted sometime during the day! Go Pards!!