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A talk with UAlbany lacrosse coach Scott Marr Oakes glad to be back with UAlbany men's lacrosse

 

Oakes glad to be back with UAlbany men's lacrosse

University at Albany men's lacrosse attack Seth Oakes was named to the watch list for the Tewaaraton Award on Friday, quite an accomplishment for someone who wasn't sure he'd play at all this season.

Oakes, who is Native American, withdrew from school last fall. He said he needed to spend time with his family in Akwesasne, a Mohawk Nation territory in upstate New York near the Canadian border.

"I had some personal issues I had to take care of at home," said Oakes, who politely declined to elaborate. "It was just a rough time for me. I didn't even know if I was going to come back."

Finally, Oakes decided he needed to finish what he started with the sixth-ranked Great Danes (7-2), who are bidding for a fourth straight America East title.

"It was eating away at me," he said. "I had to come back for myself mostly, because I came this far. I went to community college. I grinded out there just to get here and I couldn't just give it all up. So I had to come back and prove to myself that I can do better than I did."

Oakes, a redshirt junior, returned to classes this winter and received an NCAA waiver that allowed him to play this season. He's tied with Connor Fields for the team lead with 24 goals heading into Saturday's America East contest against Vermont at 3 p.m. on John Fallon Field.

He's one of 75 players on the watch list for the Tewaaraton, given annually to the most outstanding American college lacrosse player. Fields and UAlbany goalkeeper Blaze Riorden are also on the list.

Former UAlbany star Lyle Thompson, also Native American, won the Tewaaraton the past two seasons, sharing it with his brother Miles two years ago.

"You've still got a lot to prove," said Oakes, notified of his selection after Friday's practice. "Making the list is nothing, really. There's a lot more to prove."

UAlbany coach Scott Marr said Oakes is definitely deserving of Tewaaraton recognition. He has helped the Great Danes stay at an elite level despite the graduation of Lyle Thompson, the leading scorer in NCAA Division I history.

"Seth's a tough, tough player," Marr said. "He's probably one of the toughest players I've ever coached. Teams have to game plan to stop him and Connor, and then you throw (sophomore attack) Justin Reh in there, too, and the three of them are playing well together."

Oakes scored 54 goals and made second-team all-league in his UAlbany debut last season after transferring from Onondaga Community College.

That gaudy total makes it more remarkable that Oakes didn't feel he played particularly well, distracted by his personal problems. He said his family situation has improved since he returned and so has his outlook.

"That was a big thing on me last year," he said. "I couldn't take it here. My mind wasn't here, I couldn't focus on anything. I didn't want to be here. So I took some time off. Everything happened the way it was supposed to. Everything's going good. I feel like that's why I'm having a good year, I guess."

Oakes, who is 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, started his athletic career as a basketball player because he was bigger than everybody else. That changed and he switched at age 10 to lacrosse, a sport that is revered in Native American culture.

"I fell in love with it right away," Oakes said. "I like to hit people. I feel free when I play."

He was a teammate of Lyle and Miles Thompson in high school and planned to join them at UAlbany. That plan was delayed for two years when Oakes struggled in school and spent two years at Onondaga to improve his grades. He missed the 2014 season due to injury before transferring to UAlbany.

Oakes is majoring in sociology at UAlbany. He has a job offer waiting for him on the Akwesasne police force when he graduates, said Marr.

"It's one of those things where having his degree is important to him," Marr said. "He's worked really hard. He's a determined kid and he wants to try to make a difference back at home, as well."

Edited by UAFAN
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Brown (#1 in the computer, #3 in RPI and #5 in the poll) comes from three goals behind at the half to beat Yale (3, 6 and 1) 14-12. Takes a little luster off next week, but let's take care of business tonight first.

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Brown (#1 in the computer, #3 in RPI and #5 in the poll) comes from three goals behind at the half to beat Yale (3, 6 and 1) 14-12. Takes a little luster off next week, but let's take care of business tonight first.

 

UA beats Binghamton 12-8 tonight.

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We are more than 3/4 through the season and ranked 6th in both polls. That's higher than any Lyle Thompson lead team the previous 4 years and somehow the team is flying under the radar. No stories on this team on any of the lacrosse sites, but two articles on barstool sports.

 

Don't know if this is good or bad.

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We are more than 3/4 through the season and ranked 6th in both polls. That's higher than any Lyle Thompson lead team the previous 4 years and somehow the team is flying under the radar. No stories on this team on any of the lacrosse sites, but two articles on barstool sports.

 

Don't know if this is good or bad.

We finished sixth in the poll last year, 7th in the computer ranking the last two years.

 

No top-10 wins, no scoring records, no upsets of big-name teams = no stories. The losses to Notre Dame in the playoffs might have convinced people the rankings aren't "real". A win over Yale might get some stories.

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We are more than 3/4 through the season and ranked 6th in both polls. That's higher than any Lyle Thompson lead team the previous 4 years and somehow the team is flying under the radar. No stories on this team on any of the lacrosse sites, but two articles on barstool sports.

 

Don't know if this is good or bad.

We finished sixth in the poll last year, 7th in the computer ranking the last two years.

 

No top-10 wins, no scoring records, no upsets of big-name teams = no stories. The losses to Notre Dame in the playoffs might have convinced people the rankings aren't "real". A win over Yale might get some stories.

that was the end of season poll. Neget that high during the regular season.
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