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Reh twins relish chance to play in front of family and friends

This composite image shows Albany's Reh twins, Justin

This composite image shows Albany's Reh twins, Justin (left) and Troy. The Reh twins are from Rocky Point. Credit: University of Albany Athletics / Bill Ziskin

The Reh twins are coming home, but they hope to take Albany on the road . . . to a historic destination, the university’s first NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse Final Four.

“It would be awesome to get this program to championship weekend,” said Troy Reh, a long-stick midfielder for the Great Danes, who will face Denver at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in an NCAA Tournament quarterfinal at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium. Yale faces Loyola at noon in the other game. The winners advance to the national semifinals on Memorial Day weekend in Foxborough, Mass. “But we’ve got to take care of business and keep the same mindset we’ve had all year — do not worry about the expectations people have for us or the outside noise.”

Troy Reh and his brother Justin, an attack, are from Rocky Point, and are senior starters for a team that was ranked No. 1 in the country earlier and has the No. 1 offense and No. 2 defense. They are counting on a partisan crowd as well as their considerable talents to make some new noise.

“I remember the atmosphere here in 2014 and that was unbelievable,” said Troy Reh, who scored three goals in last week’s opening-round victory over Richmond and has scored 10 goals despite being primarily a defensive player. “I know we’ll have a big crowd and it will feel like a home game with all the Long Island kids [12] on our team.”

Justin Reh, who has scored 19 goals with 16 assists and is the team’s most accurate shooter, said it was “pure happiness” when the Hofstra bracket popped up on the ESPNU screen on Selection Sunday, May 5. “As soon as we saw that, the phones started buzzing,” he said. “We were getting texts back and forth from our family and group chats with our friends. It’s going to be crazy. I know our seniors are hungry to be a part of a team that maybe gets over that hump.”

The hurdle was nearly cleared in 2014, when a Shuart Stadium record crowd of 13,519, mostly rooting for Albany and the electrifying Thompson brothers, was stunned when Notre Dame rallied from five goals down in the fourth quarter to win, 14-13, in overtime of that year’s NCAA quarterfinals. The Rehs, seniors who had already committed to Albany, couldn’t attend because Rocky Point had a playoff game. “We had DVR’d it and when we got home from our game, Albany was winning 12-7, so we watched it live,” Troy Reh recalled. “Unfortunately the outcome wasn’t what we wanted.”

The twins’ father, Scott Reh, athletic director at Mt. Sinai High School and a former lacrosse star at then Division I Adelphi along with his brother Jeff, will be living out his own NCAA Tournament dreams vicariously through his sons.

“We were in the quarterfinals twice and lost twice. We were right there,” he said. “This is the third time in the quarters for my boys, so it will have even more meaning if they win. We’ll have over a hundred relatives plus friends at the game. I can’t wait. To have this game in our backyard and get to someplace Albany has never been would be the experience of a lifetime.”

NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Quarterfinals

Saturday at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium

Noon: Yale (14-3) vs. Loyola (13-3), ESPNU.

2:30 p.m.: Albany (15-2) vs. Denver (13-3), ESPNU.

Noteworthy: Albany is No. 1 in the nation in scoring (14.59 gpg), Yale is No. 2 (13.94) and Loyola is No. 5 (13.63) … Denver is No. 1 in scoring defense (7.44 gpg) and Albany is No. 2 (7.71) … Albany’s T.D. Ierlan leads the country in faceoff winning percentage (83.4), Denver’s Trevor Baptiste is second (76.5) and Yale’s Conor Mackie is seventh (64.3) … Loyola’s Pat Spencer is fourth in the nation in scoring (5.69 ppg), Ben Reeves of Yale is fifth (5.65) and Connor Fields of Albany is sixth (5.57).

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