By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/7/12
It was quite an accomplishment when Albright College went 16-3 and reached the Commonwealth Conference finals of the Middle Atlantic Conference last year as a first-year NCAA Division III program.
And surely it was a stunner today when the Lions rallied to defeat defending Division II national champion Dowling, 9-8, in its opener at the 6th Annual Nick Colleluori Classic at Ridley High.
But were the players surprised?
“We played well; we knew they would be tough since they are the national champions,” said Albright sophomore long stick midfielder Joe Devinney (Springfield-Delco). “We didn’t know what to expect, but we played well.
“We have high expectations; now we know how good we are.”
Devinney (49 groundballs, 32 turnovers, four goals, seven assists), a member of the Springfield-Delco’s 2010 Central League championship team, was one of many freshmen that took the MAC by storm last year
“We came together as a team,” Devinney said. “We played well together. We were all freshmen and we all hung out a lot, we got to know each other.
“This year we want to win the MAC title and get to the (NCAA) playoffs.”
Albright is guided by coach Jake Plunket, who helped lead Syracuse to two NCAA championship as a player and coached at Cortland and Hampden-Sydney College.
Plunket said the players bought into his system. That showed again today when sophomore attackman Dan Foote scored the game-winner late on an extra-man situation and freshman defenseman Brandon Otis made a key interception and clear.
“We had a lot of young kids and it was like us against the world,” he said. “We didn’t get a lot of respect as a first-year program. But the kids are winners; they never took no for an answer and they were never willing to give up.
“Even today we were down, 7-5, and we were scrapping, doing our best on that mud while making a comeback and showing the resilience that this team has had.
“Combined with our new freshmen, this sets us up for some great success. Hopefully it will continue. We got great leadership from young guys, even as sophomores. We hope to carry that into the spring.”