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UMBC men's lacrosse trying to devise strategy for slowing Albany standout Connor Fields

From 2012 to 2015, America East teams had to deal with Albany attackman Lyle Thompson, who finished his career as the NCAA's all-time leader in assists (225) and points (400). And just when they thought their headaches were over, the conference must confront another Great Danes star.

Junior attackman Connor Fields leads the country in total points (65), points per game (7.2) and goals per game (3.9). He has already passed his previous career high of 29 assists with 30.

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On Saturday, UMBC (4-5 overall and 2-0 in the league) will try its hand at containing Fields when the team visits No. 7 Albany (8-1, 3-0). Fields, whose worst statistical outing was a one-goal, two-assist performance in a 15-13 win against Harvard on March 29, has already impressed Retrievers coach Ryan Moran.

"He's tremendous," Moran said Monday. "On film, you can't be more impressed with him. I'm just really impressed with his development. I remember watching him play his junior year on Long Island at St. John the Baptist in the Catholic League championship game, and he was more of a catch-and-shoot off-ball guy. That coaching staff, I just can't tell you how impressed I am with that coaching staff with what they do with their players and how they play the game and how well-coached the kids are and how well they develop kids.

"He's a tremendous talent, but they have developed him into a complete attackman in terms of feeding, his outside shot, finishing. He's just really good. We're sitting here racking our brains trying to figure out some sort of answer. Obviously, teams tried different things versus him, and it seems that no matter what anyone does, he has an answer. So he's a special player, that's for sure."

Moran – who compared Fields favorably to Loyola Maryland sophomore attackman Pat Spencer whom Moran tutored when he was the Greyhounds offensive coordinator – said sophomore defenseman Jason Brewster (16 ground balls and nine caused turnovers) could get the assignment of shadowing Fields. But he stressed that it would take a team-wide effort to slow Fields and said the best method might be to keep the ball out of his stick.

Asked how to limit Fields, Moran replied, "Win faceoffs. Try to limit the amount of touches that Connor Fields has because it's proven that when he gets the ball, he's going to do good things with it. He's got three years of a sample size to support that. … We need to be able to hopefully control the possessions by doing a great job at the faceoff X.

"And then we have to follow Coach [Jamison] Koesterer's game plan and understand his tendencies. We'll be prepared with knowing what his tendencies are and where he is on the field, but I'm pretty certain that most of the teams that have played him so far have done the same thing. So we've obviously got our hands full."

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