Sunday, November 16, 2014

#12 University of Albany Field Hockey Earns First Final Four Semifinal Berth in 2-1 Win Over No. 2 Maryland - UAlbany Sports 2014


Courtesy: UAlbany Sports

COLLEGE PARK, Md.- In a season for the record books, No. 12 University at Albany kept the dream alive on Sunday afternoon. The Great Danes (20-2) downed the favored home team, No. 2 Maryland 2-1 to advance to the NCAA Tournament Semifinals. UAlbany faces UConn (18-3) in the semifinals in College Park on Friday, Nov. 21 at 4:45 p.m.

“It has been an unbelievable season, and I was curious after our win yesterday if we were going to have the energy to get through this one [against Maryland],” said head coach Phil Sykes. “I was blown away by our kids’ belief in themselves…We play a different style of hockey, and we knew if we could defend well we could counter with our speed and skill. The big key was getting our team to believe, and they did.”

Prior to the 2:00 p.m., contest on Maryland’s home field, the Terrapins were 22-1 at home in the NCAA Tournament all-time. No. 2 Maryland was the highest-ranked opponent UAlbany has ever defeated, and Phil Sykes’s 2014 squad downed the Terrapins for the first time all-time.

Both teams started the game slowly, as the contest went without a shot or a penalty corner for the first 10 minutes. But the Great Danes earned the first penalty corner of the game at the 10:37 mark.

A shot from Pahila Arnold was blocked in front of the cage on the penalty corner, but UAlbany charged back to take another penalty corner.

A Jordyn Homyak tackle on the Maryland counterattack put the Great Danes back in its offensive half. The Purple & Gold got out to an early 3-0 advantage on penalty corners.

On UAlbany’s fourth unanswered penalty corner, Paula Heuser had a shot saved, but the rebound fell to Echo Bretz. The senior forward hit the post before finding the back of the cage in the 19th minute.

Maryland did not go away quietly, as the Terps earned its first penalty corner with 10 minutes left in the first half. Maxi Primus slid across the line to make the save on a tough Maryland shot.

At halftime, UAlbany held a 5-2 advantage in penalty corners and 8-5 edge in shots against the No. 1 offense in the nation.

The Terrapins came out fired up in the second half, looking to score immediately to open the period. But the Great Danes only added to their lead on a penalty corner. On an insert from Fiori Van Rijswijk, Laura Page stopped and faked to Heuser. Arnold came in for the strike on the left side to take a 2-0 lead.

Shortly after, Maryland began threatening on the offensive end. Sykes called timeout to regroup after the Terrapins had an attempt called off the scoreboard.

On a Maryland penalty corner shortly after, the Terrapins couldn’t keep the insert down to get a shot off at the top of the circle.

The Great Danes streaked down the field to earn a penalty corner of its own. After one of the Terrapin defenders released early, Maryland was down to three backs in the cage.

A Paula Heuser shot was blocked from the top of the circle, and Maryland looked to use its speed on the break. The Terrapins had a five-on-three advantage, but Jordyn Homyak swept through to thwart the attempt.

Maryland kept knocking on the door, but another game-changing defensive save from Homyak in the NCAA Second Round kept the lead alive.

Terrapin head coach Missy Meharg called timeout to pull goalkeeper Brooke Cabrera with 8:22 remaining.

With a one-player advantage, Maryland kept possession in UAlbany’s end. The Great Danes looked to keep the pressure up, but the Terrapins squeaked one by with under seven minutes to go. UAlbany held on for its first win over Maryland all-time.

Goalkeeper Maxi Primus held the No. 1 offense in the nation (4.15 goals per game) to one goal. The sophomore tied a career high with seven saves.

“We knew this was going to be a big game,” said Primus. “We told ourselves, we just want to enjoy this. No one expects us to win, and we want to have fun. We know when we play our game, we can win.”

UAlbany field hockey is the first Great Dane squad all-time to advance to an NCAA Semifinal. The Great Danes earned their first program NCAA Tournament victory yesterday in a 2-1 win against ACC Champion Wake Forest. UAlbany is on a 14-game winning streak in its first 20-win season all-time.

Phil Sykes’s squad meets defending NCAA Champion UConn in the semifinal on Friday, Nov. 21 at 4:45 p.m. The Purple & Gold is the only unseeded team remaining in the tournament field. The other semifinal features North Carolina vs. Syracuse at 2:00 p.m.

University of Albany Women's Basketball Earns Hallmark Victory with 54-53 Win at Penn State, Richards Joins 1,000-Point Club - UAlbany Sports 2014


Courtesy: UAlbany Sports

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – With Shereesha Richards earning 27 points and 14 boards and Sarah Royals hitting the game-winning free throw with 8.4 seconds left, the UAlbany women’s basketball team defeated three-time defending Big Ten regular season champion Penn State 54-53 to advance to the Preseason WNIT semifinals.

This marks the first victory for the UAlbany women’s basketball team (2-0) against a Power Five conference opponent.  It also is the first victory for an America East team over a Big Ten opponent.

“I am very proud of our team, they came in here with no fear,” said UAlbany coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson. “We are returning four starters, and [Carter] played very well.  They are workhorses and fighters, and as a coach, that is what you want.  They executed everything we asked them to do.”

With the game tied 53-53 with 8.4 seconds left, Royals drove into the paint and got fouled by Tori Waldner in the act of shooting for two free throw attempts.  Royals hit the front end to put UAlbany ahead 54-53.  Penn State (1-1), after having a transition play stopped by Tiana-Jo Carter knocking the ball out of bounds, got an inbounds pass underneath their basket with 3.7 seconds left.  Candice Agee, double teamed by UAlbany, threw up a jumper and hit the iron.  Imani Tate grabbed the rebound as the clock expired.

“I was very confident stepping onto the line,” said Royals. “It is something I have thought about before, and luckily I got one of them to go.  We had a great defense tonight; we stopped them in transition and with boxouts.”

Richards earned her first double-double of the year, earning half the team’s points with 27, adding 14 rebounds and three steals.  16 of her points came in the second half.  Her layup with 11:47 left in  the second half made her a member of the 1,000-point club, the 10th UAlbany player to achieve that feat.

“I am proud of my team, we worked very hard and we deserved to win,” said Richards. “We knew we had to rebound and push in transition, we came in and did our job.”

UAlbany outrebounded Penn State 49-31 in the game, including 20-7 on offensive boards.  Tate led all players in the game with a career-high 15 rebounds, tallying six points and three steals.  Carter had six points, 11 rebounds and two blocks while Royals finished with seven points and five assists.

UAlbany advances to the Preseason WNIT Semifinals and will play the winner of Colorado-Western Kentucky, which will be determined on Monday, on Thursday, November 20th.

For the Nittany Lions, Lindsay Spann scored 14 points and four assists, while Jenny DeGraaf was 4-for-4 from the three-point line for 12 points.

Using their size, Penn State got the early advantage, with a Lindsey Spann elbow three capping a 7-0 run for the home team.  Margarita Rosario ended the streak with a corner three with a Penn State player leaping at her.  With Carter blocking a shot the other way, Richards added a free throw to pull UAlbany within 7-4.

UAlbany tried to use pressure defense to hold Penn State away from the paint.  At 14-8, Richards threw up a floater for the score, then Tate made a jump step to get past two defenders for the uncontested layup.  Richards added two free throws, then following Carter drawing two charges, Richards hit another layup to complete the 8-0 run to put UAlbany ahead 16-14.

Penn State went back up on a basket and one from Kaliyah Mitchell.  UAlbany held on defense as Richards hit another floater to put UAlbany back ahead.  The Great Danes held Penn State without a field goal for a period of four-and-a-half minutes, with a Zakiya Saunders long jumper pushing the lead to 22-19 UAlbany.

The end of the half saw back-and-forth action from both sides.  Royals kept getting to the free throw line, while Penn State hit a couple of baskets.  Following a Waldner three to take the lead, Richards went the other way and scored on a fastbreak layup to tie the game at 28-28, the eventual halftime score.

Penn State got the first two baskets in the second half to lead.  UAlbany focused on the paint and stayed close, until with 13:02 left in the 2nd, Rosario took the kick out three and nailed it from the elbow to send UAlbany ahead 37-36.  Penn State tied it with a free throw.  On the next possession, Carter put back a Richards miss to put the Great Danes back up 39-37 with under 12 minutes left.

The defensive battle continued as the sides exchanged points.  With 11:47 left in the 2nd, Richards hit the layup to stamp her place in the 1,000-point club.  Penn State took the lead on a Sierra Moore layup, then Richards tied it on free throws.  On UAlbany’s next chance, Richards drew the double team to free Carter, who hit the layup for the UAlbany lead 47-45.

The exchanges continued as DeGraaf hit a wing three to send the home team up by one.  Richards again hit a layup to put UAlbany up, adding another to make it a three-point game.  Moore hit a jumper from the free throw line to make it 51-50 UAlbany with four minutes left.

Each side missed its shots for the following two minutes as UAlbany held the lead.  Richards hit the layup with 1:46 left to put it back to three.  The other way, DeGraaf hit a three to tie the game.  Penn State got a jump ball for possession, with Waldner missing a jumper and Rosario getting the rebound.

UAlbany turned the ball over, but Penn State tried to throw a pass the other way, seeing Tate stealing the ball with 16.5 seconds left.  UAlbany called timeout with 16.5 seconds left.  Trying to set up to Richards, Royals went to the hole and looked for the layup, getting fouled with 8.4 seconds left.  Royals hit the first free throw and missed the second, resulting in a Penn State rebound.  The Nittany Lions threw pass towards the backcourt, with Carter knocking in out of bounds with 3.7 seconds remaining.  Penn State called timeout to strategize.

On the final play, Penn State inbounded to Agee outside the paint.  UAlbany double teamed her, forcing a high and wide shot.  Tate grabbed the rebound and the clock expired, sending UAlbany to victory 54-53 over Penn State.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

University of Albany's Fiacchi, Osbourne Hit Career Milestones In 48-31 Slip At No. 6 Villanova - UAlbany Sports 2014


Courtesy: UAlbany Sports

VILLANOVA, Pa. – University at Albany fifth-year seniors Will Fiacchi and Omar Osbourne rewrote the Great Danes’ record book Saturday night against No. 6 Villanova, as UAlbany fell to the Wildcats 48-31 at Villanova Stadium. The loss dropped the Danes to 6-5 on the season and 2-5 in the CAA, while Villanova improved to 9-2 overall and 6-1 in conference play.

Redshirt senior quarterback Will Fiacchi tied UAlbany’s all-time career passing record, as he logged 331 passing yards and two touchdowns against the Wildcats. Completing 21-of-28 attempts in the clash, Fiacchi now has 7,015 career passing yards which matches all-time leader Joe Savino who played from 1994-98.

In addition, redshirt senior running back Omar Osbourne made his mark in the archives Saturday, surpassing 3,000 career rushing yards and 1,000 rushing yards this season. With 18 carries, Osbourne accrued 64 rushing yards and two touchdowns, jumping to third-place all-time with 3,062 career yards and 1,045 yards this fall. He marks the fourth UAlbany player in history to rush for over 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons.

Totaling 408 yards of offense as a team, Fiacchi connected with senior tight end Brian Parker for a pair of touchdowns, as the Henrietta, N.Y. native recorded a career-high 103 receiving yards on five receptions. Classmate Cole King also had five catches, totaling 92 receiving yards, while true freshman Josh Gontarek and redshirt freshman Brad Harris each logged four for 57 and 48 yards, respectively.

Defensively, redshirt sophomore Michael Nicastro led the squad with 10 tackles, including seven solo, as well as a 40-yard fumble recovery. Senior T.J. Idowu followed with nine tackles (8 solo), while redshirt senior Christian Dorsey had eight (4 solo).

The story of Villanova’s offense was junior quarterback John Robertson. The reigning CAA Offensive Player of the Year led the ‘Cats to 584 yards of total offense, as he rushed for 168 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries, and passed for 225 yards and two touchdowns, completing 15-of-21 attempts. Running back Kevin Monangai also contributed to the host’s 359 rushing yards with 101 of his own on 19 carries. Wide receiver Kevin Gulyas tacked on 106 receiving yards and two touchdowns on three receptions.

Marching down the field in the opening possession, the Great Danes used seven plays to quickly cover 73 yards. However, Fiacchi’s 28-yard pass to King resulted in a fumble at the 1-yard line, as he tried to stretch his way across the goal line. Cameron McCurry was credited with the strip and the Wildcats took over on a touchback.

Taking full advantage, Villanova proceeded to score a touchdown in its next six straight posessions. The Wildcats made their first mark on Robertson’s nine-yard touchdown rush with 4:11 remaining in the first quarter.

UAlbany answered immediately, as Fiacchi hit Gontarek with a 12-yard pass and Parker for a 54-yarder, setting up Osbourne’s four-yard touchdown run with 2:12 left in the opening stanza. Patrick Toole’s point-after tied it up, 7-7.

However, the ‘Cats quickly responded, using just three plays to get into the end zone on Robertson’s 37-yard pass to Gulyas at the 1:08 mark.

Hanging close, Fiacchi completed his first eight passes of the game, including a 52-yard missile to King that put the Danes on the Villanova-9. However, a false start penalty and a delay of game penalty, consecutively, set UAlbany back on third-down. After heavy pressure in the pocket forced fourth-down, Toole nailed a 29-yard field goal with 12:32 left in the half, cutting the deficit to four, 14-10.

“Villanova is a good football team. They took it to us -- we just did not respond defensively at all,” said Head Coach Greg Gattuso. “I thought we moved the ball very, very well; we just had a turnover in the end zone and the penalties kept us from trying to keep pace.”

Villanova went on to score two more touchdowns before the break, as Robertson scampered 22-yards into the end zone with 8:38 on the clock. Even after Jon Martin’s 40-yard punt pinned the Wildcats on their own 1-yard line, Villanova managed to drive 99 yards on 13 plays for a touchdown on Robertson’s two-yard run.

The Wildcats took a 28-10 lead into halftime and after the hiatus stretched the margin to 32 points, 42-10, scoring touchdowns in their next two possessions. Robertson connected a 62-yard pass to Gulyas for the first with 13:47 left in the third, and Monangai capped their second drive of the quarter with a two-yard push at the 8:55 mark.

After a 41-yard punt by Martin put the ‘Cats on their eight-yard line, UAlbany made its first defensive stop of the game. Facing 2nd-and-2 on the 50, Marcel Ngachie knocked the ball out of Manangai’s grasps and into the hands of Nicastro who scurried 40 yards to the Villanova-3. Osbourne took care of the rest, juking his way three yards across the goal line with 3:44 remaining in the quarter. With Toole’s point-after, UAlbany trailed 42-17.

Next, the Danes’ defense made another stop, forcing the ‘Cats to punt away and took over on the UAlbany-22. Sparked by a 31-yard pass to Gontarek, UAlbany covered 78 yards on seven plays for a touchdown, as Fiacchi hit Parker with an 8-yard pass and the 6’4 tight end dragged the defense across the goal line. The touchdown and extra point made the score 42-24 with 10:24 left in the game.

Driving 80 yards on eight plays, Villanova scored one more touchdown on Austin Medley’s 12-yard run with 6:03 to go.

However, the Great Danes had the last word, as Fiacchi completed 5-of-6 pass attempts in the final possession, including a drive-capping 25-yard pass to Parker in the back of the end zone with 49 seconds remaining. The touchdown and point-after made the final score 48-31.

“I challenged our team to fight in the second half and I thought they did,” said Gattuso. “I couldn’t be prouder of these guys for their effort and how they went out and fought in the second half when it would have been easy just to let it go.”

The Great Danes close the 2014 regular season at home Saturday, Nov. 22 with the Empire Clash against in-state rival Stony Brook. The squad’s 12 seniors will be honored in a pregame ceremony at 3:00 p.m. Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m. at Bob Ford Field.

University of Albany Men's BB Pushes Big East Champion Providence to the Brink, Narrowly Falls 64-60 - UAlbany Sports 2014


Courtesy: UAlbany Sports

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Off 18 points from Evan Singletary and Peter Hooley’s 15 points, the UAlbany men’s basketball team had the lead with under five minutes left in a back-and-forth battle at Providence, just coming short in the end in a 64-60 defeat on Saturday night.

“If you had told me we’d had been in the game with [Sam] Rowley sitting next to me [with foul trouble] most of the time, I thought the game could have been ugly, just because it was the first college game for guys like Singletary and [Ray] Sanders,” said UAlbany coach Will Brown. “We got good production from a lot of guys tonight.”

UAlbany (0-1) outshot Providence (1-0) 47.2% to 40.7% and had the lead at the half.  Singletary, in his debut with UAlbany, went 8-15 from the field for his 18 points, including 16 in the second half.

“I think we played well, the turnovers did hurt us tonight,” said Singletary. “I think if we had a shot every possession, we might have won the game.”

Hooley added 15 points and a team-high six assists.  Ray Sanders scored 10 points in his first game with UAlbany, going 4-6 from the floor with four rebounds.  Mike Rowley finished with eight points and seven rebounds.

For the Friars, LaDontae Henton concluded with a double-double on 21 points and 11 rebounds.  Tyler Harris led the team in scoring with 23 points, adding four assists.

The UAlbany defense held against the quick Providence offense, holding the Friars without points in the opening 3:29.  Mike Rowley netted a long jumper as UAlbany had the early 2-0 lead.  The home team countered with a 7-0 run to go up 7-2.

Sam Rowley swiped an in-bounds pass and went coast-to-coast to score on a layup.  He followed by swatting away a Providence shot as UAlbany stood down three 7-4.  Following a home team basket, Hooley hit a high floater from inside the paint to make it 9-6 Providence.

Both teams had trouble getting the offense going in the early going due to turnovers.  Down 17-11, Hooley and Wheeler Baker each buried threes from the right elbow to tie the game at 17. 

Providence got the next four points, then Sanders went on a personal 4-0 run on layups in a span of 12 seconds.  Following another Providence basket, Hooley snuck past the defense in transition for the layup, then took a rebound off top the arc and went the whole way to score, putting UAlbany ahead 25-23 with 3:27 left in the 1st.

The UAlbany defense forced Providence away from the basket to incur long shots.  The Great Danes held the Friars without a field goal in the four minutes leading to the final seconds of the half, taking a 27-26 advantage to the locker room.

Singletary hit the first shot out of the locker room with an uncontested layup.  The second half started high-octane, with Providence hitting a couple of quick baskets, then UAlbany countering with a Rowley long range jumper from the baseline and a Singletary transition layup to go up 33-30.  Providence scored seven-in-a-row to go back in front, then Hooley hit a deep three, followed by Singletary netting a backwards, one-handed layup jumping near the backboard to put UAlbany back ahead 38-37 with 14:12 left in the 2nd.

Out of a timeout, Hinton hit a layup and one off an inbounds pass, followed by another Providence basket.  Sam Rowley hit a one-hand floater to stop the run, but the Friars took the lead 46-41, focusing on going into the paint.

UAlbany’s defense again forced a Providence scoring drought of over four minutes.  Singletary and Sanders hit threes to push UAlbany back ahead, then Mike Rowley nailed a baseline jumper to send the Purple and Gold up 49-46 with 7:30 left in the 2nd.

Providence went on a 6-0 run to take the lead from UAlbany. With the crowd getting loud, Mike Rowley hit another long jumper, then Singletary delivered the ball to the basket in transition to put UAlbany back ahead 53-52 with 4:50 remaining.

Newton hit a quick layup to put Providence back in front as the Great Danes tried to bridge the gap again.  Providence later made it 57-53.

Singletary hit the layup on the run to pull UAlbany within a possession with just under two minutes left.  UAlbany held on the missed Friar shot, then Hooley got a chance in the corner for three, drawing iron and leading to a Providence rebound.  Tyler Harris hit a three up top the arc to make it a five-point game.  Again, Singletary hit a big shot, hitting the three from the elbow to put the game back in one possession with 37 seconds left.

Singletary fouled Kris Dunn to force him to the line.  Dunn hit both attempts, then UAlbany went the other way.  Hooley got fouled in the act of shooting, hitting both of his free throws to again make it a one possession game.  Harris got fouled by UAlbany and hit his two free throws to put the game out of reach as Providence took the 64-60 victory.

UAlbany returns for its home opener on Wednesday, November 19th, taking on NJIT at the SEFCU Arena at 7 p.m.

#12 University of Albany Field Hockey Takes Down #5 Wake Forest 2-1 for First NCAA Tournament Win All-Time - UAlbany Sports 2014


Courtesy: UAlbany Sports

COLLEGE PARK, Md.- The 2014 University at Albany field hockey squad (19-2) made history yet again on Saturday afternoon, downing No. 5 Wake Forest (14-7) in the NCAA First Round. UAlbany took its first NCAA Tournament win all-time.

“We’re ecstatic,” said head coach Phil Sykes. Like the conference tournament, you want your team to play relaxed and do the thing we work on. It’s crucial to not be overwhelmed. The effort today was just incredible; no one looked phased or overwhelmed and it resulted in a historic win.”

Laura Page ruled the midfield early on, as a Wake turnover gave the junior midfielder space to turn and look up-field. Page slid a pass through the middle to Kelsey Briddell, who ran-on to give UAlbany possession deep in Demon Deacon territory. Briddell nearly had a look on net from Paula Heuser, but the Wake keeper slid in to break up the play.

 Wake Forest earned the game’s first penalty corner with 22 minutes left in the first half. The attempt came up empty for the Demon Deacons.

Both teams continued to press deep into the opponent’s offensive end. Kelly Bonner came up on the right end of a Wake Forest miscue on the back line. The senior dove to tip a pass to the middle of the cage with 20 minutes left, but no one was in front to make a play.

The Great Danes finally got the break they were looking for with 10 minutes left in the first. A green card assessed to Wake Forest put UAlbany up one player for two minutes.

Soon after, the Purple & Gold earned its first penalty corner of the game. With Fiori Van Rijswijk inserting, Page stopped and Heuser faked a shot. The sophomore passed down to Van Rijswijk, who poked the ball across the line to Bottino, and the freshman slammed it home. UAlbany took a 1-0 lead with less than 10 minutes remaining in the half.

Wake came back to score on a corner of its own shortly thereafter, locking the score at one entering halftime.

UAlbany looked to take back the momentum immediately to start the second period. An early Wake yellow card put the Demon Deacons one player down, and set up a penalty corner. Pahila Arnold fired from the left side on a direct insert from Van Rijswijk, but the play resulted in a defensive save for Wake.

After the UAlbany penalty corner, Wake Forest charged up the field on the counterattack to earn a corner.

Maxi Primus made a diving save on the penalty corner to keep the game tied at one. The Great Danes found Amy Nicklin out wide for a counter of their own.

Weaving her way through the Wake Forest back line, Bonner earned another UAlbany penalty corner after knocking the ball off a foot.

Wake lost one defender in the cage on an early release, the Great Danes reset for another corner. Van Rijswijk again found the backdoor tip from Heuser and Page to score in the 45th minute.

But the Great Danes were forced to step up their defense with 25 minutes remaining. Wake Forest’s ACC Tournament MVP Anna Kozniuk streaked down the middle of the field to find teammate Karlee Spirit, who had just entered the game. Spirit fired a shot on an open net, but Jordyn Homyak made a flying a stick save to earn the defensive save.

With the Wake Forest momentum deflated, UAlbany held the ball for the rest of the game to take a 2-1 win.

Fiori Van Rijswijk had three points, including the game-winner to send the Great Danes to the NCAA Second Round. Saturday’s 2-1 victory marks the first all-time win for UAlbany in the NCAA Tournament.

The Purple & Gold downed its second top-10 nationally ranked opponent of the year in No. 5 Wake Forest. The America East Champion Great Danes downed the ACC Champion Demon Deacons, the highest nationally ranked opponent UAlbany has defeated all-time. The Purple & Gold’s winning streak now stands at 13 games.

Phil Sykes’s squad will take on regional host No. 2 Maryland at 2:00 p.m., on Sunday in College Park.

Friday, November 14, 2014

University of Albany: Tate’s 22 Points Leads UAlbany WBB to Crush St. Francis Brooklyn 90-47 in WNIT First Round - UAlbany Sports 2014

 

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports

ALBANY, N.Y. – Led by a career-high 22 points from Imani Tate, a graduate of Bishop Loughlin Memorial in Brooklyn, the UAlbany women’s basketball team dominated in-state foe St. Francis Brooklyn 90-47 to earn a home victory in the Preseason WNIT First Round.

With the win, UAlbany (1-0) advances to the WNIT Second Round.  The Great Danes will play Penn State in University Park on Sunday, November 16th at 2 p.m.

“We played sharp tonight,” said UAlbany head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson. “We had too many turnovers in the first half, but we did not have everyone play of lot of minutes, so we should be ready for Penn State.”

Tate shot 9-for-11 from the field to earn a career-high 22 points and nine rebounds.

“Everybody’s emotions were high because it is the first game,” said Tate. “We as sophomores needed to be ready, and we really wanted to play that first game.”

Margarita Rosario was a perfect 4-for-4 from behind the arc and on the free throw line to earn 16 points.  Zakiya Saunders netted a career-high 13 points off a perfect 6-for-6 from the field, adding six assists.  Jessica Féquière also earned a career-high in points with eight, adding six rebounds.  Shereesha Richards scored 10 points while Sarah Royals had nine points and four assists.

“It is a good start in our first game,” said Rosario. “We made a few mistakes, but we were all excited, and we cannot wait to face Penn State.”

During halftime, UAlbany unveiled the banners from the 2013-14 America East title and NCAA Tournament appearance.

For St. Francis Brooklyn (0-1), Jaymee Veney finished with 18 points and three rebounds.  Sarah Benedetti concluded with eight points and five rebounds.

Facing a St. Francis Brooklyn man-to-man pressure defense, Saunders scored first on the long range jumper.  Later, Saunders got inside and hit the bucket and one.  UAlbany got Richards open on the pass in the paint, with Richards hitting it for the 7-0 run to begin the game.

The sides started trading baskets as Richards hit a few more underneath the basket.  At 16-12, Tate hit one from underneath the backboard and one, one from just inside the arc then another in transition for a personal 7-0 streak.  Erin Coughlin added a three from the corner to push UAlbany up 26-12 with 8:06 remaining in the 1st.

UAlbany’s defense held as St. Francis looked to play underneath the basket, while the Great Danes found success in transition.  UAlbany did not allow any points in the final 3:14 of the half, with Royals hitting a layup in transition to finish the period as UAlbany led 43-22 at break.

UAlbany kept it going into the second half, beginning the period on a 7-0 run, including another Rosario three.  St. Francis Brooklyn countered by going into Veney for three-straight baskets inside.  Tate stopped the run with a basket, then following another Veney make, UAlbany earned another 7-0 run to go ahead 59-30 with 12:54 left.

The team stayed strong the rest of the way, with many young players seeing time on the court.  Tiana-Jo Carter, who finished with four points and seven rebounds, and Bose Aiyalogbe each scored their first points tonight as UAlbany finished the game with a 24-7 spurt in the final 9:42 of the contest as UAlbany took home the 90-47 victory.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

UA Football Edged By Delaware, 31-28; Fiacchi Throws Career-High Four Touchdowns - UAlbany Sports 2014


Courtesy: UAlbany Sports

ALBANY, N.Y. – With 33 seconds remaining on Military Appreciation Day at Bob Ford Field Saturday, redshirt senior quarterback Will Fiacchi connected a 19-yard touchdown pass to true freshman Josh Gontarek, putting the Great Danes within three points, 31-28, in the final minute of play against Delaware. UAlbany’s onside kick attempt appeared to be successful as redshirt sophomore Michael Nicastro recovered, but an illegal blocking penalty negated the play and the visiting Blue Hens held on for the win. With the narrow victory, Delaware improved to 6-4 overall and 4-2 in the CAA, while UAlbany dropped to 6-4 on the season and 2-4 in conference play.

“We’re battling; we’re going to continue to battle. That’s who we are,” said Head Coach Greg Gattuso. “I’m proud of these guys the way they easily could have rolled it up, but didn’t. Even last week, we fought our tails off in the fourth quarter.”

Fiacchi led the team offensively with 335 passing yards and four touchdowns, completing 22-of-35 attempts with no interceptions. Gontarek served as his primary receiver, as he accrued a career-high 118 receiving yards and two touchdowns on six catches. Redshirt senior tight end Brian Parker also had six receptions, totaling 77 yards, while classmate Cole King logged three catches for 35 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown grab. Making the most of his one reception on the night, redshirt sophomore tight end Nic Ketter recorded a 38-yard touchdown reception.

On the ground, redshirt senior Omar Osbourne recorded 49 rushing yards on 11 carries.

Defensively, redshirt senior linebacker Christian Dorsey led the squad with a career-high 18 tackles (3 solo), followed by senior T.J. Idowu’s 13 (7 solo) and freshman Jamal Robinson’s career-best 10 (5 solo). Junior Kyle Sakowski tacked on nine (6 solo), while redshirt sophomore Christian Harris added eight tackles (3 solo), including a sack for a loss of 19 yards.

A back-and-forth first half, neither team scored in the opening stanza. Delaware made the first mark on the board with 11:33 remaining in the second quarter when the Blue Hens used 12 plays to drive 73 yards. UD running back Jalen Randolph capped the drive with a 1-yard rush to give the Blue Hens a 7-0 lead.

UAlbany answered immediately, as Fiacchi sparked the drive with a 44-yard pass to Parker. Completing 3-of-4 passes in the sequence, Fiacchi also hit Brad Harris for a 16-yarder and then King for another 16-yarder, resulting in a touchdown. Patrick Toole’s point-after tied the score, 7-7, with 9:57 left in the first half.

Halting the Delaware defense with Christian Harris’ 19-yard sack on third down, the Great Danes turned their next possession into another touchdown. Fiacchi again went 3-for-4, connecting a 27-yard pass to Gontarek, a nine yard pass to King, and capped the drive with a 38-yarder that led Ketter down the middle of the field and into the end zone. With 4:32 remaining in the second quarter, UAlbany led, 14-7.

Forcing a three-and-out, UAlbany looked to a take a two-score lead into the break, but Toole’s 50-yard field goal attempt landed short of the uprights with eight seconds on the clock.

Out of the break, Delaware turned its first possession into a touchdown, tying the score, 14-14, with the use of some trickery. Facing fourth-and-goal on the 2-yard line, the Blue Hens lined up for a field goal. However on the snap, holder Eric Enderson reversed and ran the ball into the end zone, as the Danes blitzed hard towards the fake kick.

“You’ve got to credit Delaware,” said Gattuso. “They made plays when they had to make them. The fake field goal was all on me. It was a bad decision on my part. I accept responsibility and ultimately it was the difference in the game.”

On UAlbany’s next possession, the Great Danes looked to punt, facing 4th-and-1 on the UAlbany-45. However, the snap to Jon Martin sailed high, landing at the UAlbany-16, forcing Martin to chase down the ball. The Blue Hens needed just one play to add a touchdown, as quarterback Trent Hurley connected with Jerel Harrison, giving Delaware the lead for good, 21-14, with 9:11 left in the third quarter.

Starting their next drive at the UAlbany-47, Delaware took a 28-14 advantage with 2:57 left in the third. The Blue Hens used nine plays to travel 47-yards, capping the drive with Wes Hills’ 4-yard run.

However, the Great Danes battled back, marching 79-yards down the field on seven plays, including a 26-yard pass to Harris followed by a drive-ending 29-yard touchdown toss to Gontarek in the back of the end zone. With Toole’s extra point, the Danes trailed 28-21 with 14:55 remaining.

Trying to preserve its lead, Delaware slowed down the pace of the game, chewing up nearly five minutes in the next drive before being forced to punt. The Blue Hens made their next stop on defense and then slowly worked their way down the gridiron again. With 1:34 remaining, Garrett Greenway hit a 31-yard field goal, giving Delaware a 31-21 advantage.

Undeterred, UAlbany quickly got to work, using just 55 seconds to travel 69 yards on four plays. Fiacchi completed a 10-yard pass to Parker, an 18-yarder to Gontarek, and then after a pass interference penalty moved the Danes into the red zone, Fiacchi connected a 19-yard touchdown pass to Gontarek, making it a one-score game, 31-28, with 33 seconds to go.

However, that is when the well-executed onside kick was spoiled by a ruled blocking penalty, and the Blue Hens were able to run the clock out from there, capturing their second straight three-point win over UAlbany.

For Delaware, Hurley finished with 173 passing yards, completing 18-of-24 passes. Randolph led the squad’s running attack with 104 rushing yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.

Up next, UAlbany travels to take on No. 7 Villanova on Nov. 15 at 7:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on the American Sports Network.


#14 University of Albany Field Hockey Dominates UNH 5-0 to Win America East Championship - UAlbany Sports 2014


Courtesy: UAlbany Sports

ALBANY, N.Y. – No. 14 University at Albany field hockey (18-2) won its fourth America East title with a 5-0 victory against New Hampshire (10-12) on Saturday afternoon. The Great Danes have now won 12 straight games, and have their all-time highest single season win total.

“The tough thing in a conference tournament is the pressure,” said head coach Phil Sykes. “It’s easy to get here and be overwhelmed or stressed; but today our team was calm and composed. All the things we worked on during the year we executed, and that was our strength today.”

The Great Danes wasted no time getting on the board, as Paula Heuser found Pahila Arnold for the tip-in on the team’s second penalty corner of the game.

The Wildcats failed to register a shot for the first 30 minutes of the game, as the Great Danes shot nine including six looks on goal unanswered to take a 2-0 lead into halftime. The Purple & Gold held a 5-2 advantage in penalty corners.

With UAlbany one player down to open the second half, Maxi Primus made a number of crucial saves to maintain the lead. Three consecutive penalty corners by the Wildcats came up empty in the first 10 minutes.

Heuser continued to exert control through the midfield after the Great Danes were back to 11 players, registering two shots on penalty corners in the 47th minute.

The sophomore America East Midfielder of the Year converted on a give-and-go play off of a penalty corner with 25 minutes left in the half to give UAlbany a 3-0 lead. Senior Amy Nicklin found Heuser in the circle for the assist.

The Great Danes scored two more goals in the next four minutes. Heuser streaked down the field to score unassisted, followed by a goal from Echo Bretz. Laura Page worked down the left side to find Bretz in front of the net for a 5-0 lead.

Primus recorded her 10th shutout of the season, as well as matching a season high with six saves against the Wildcats.

UAlbany field hockey will learn its NCAA Tournament fate on Sunday at 10:00 p.m., ET on NCAA.com.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

University of Albany Men’s Lacrosse to Play Cornell in Dallas on February 28th - UAlbany sports 2014


Courtesy: UA Sports

ALBANY, N.Y. – The UAlbany men’s lacrosse team will look to shine in the Lone Star State as it takes on Cornell on February 28th, 2015 in Dallas, Texas.

The teams will meet on the campus of Southern Methodist University for the Saturday game.  The time of the game is to be announced.

This will be the second matchup of the in-state squads and first in the regular season.  UAlbany and Cornell met in the 2007 NCAA Quarterfinal Round, with the Big Red winning 12-11 in overtime in Princeton, New Jersey.

This game will feature a game of 2014 NCAA participants.  UAlbany earned a spot in the NCAA Quarterfinals after winning the America East Tournament and defeating 3-seed Loyola in the first round.  Cornell earned an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament after earning a share of the Ivy League regular season title, falling to Maryland in the NCAA First Round.

It will be the first time UAlbany men’s lacrosse will play in the state of Texas.  Cornell last played in Dallas in 2008 in a game versus Denver.

UAlbany will see a familiar face on the Big Red sideline with assistant coach Chris Kivlen, a UAlbany alum and former assistant coach that had a hand in four America East titles and the program’s first NCAA win in 2007. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

University of Albany Football's Gontarek Picks Up Third CAA Rookie Of The Week Honor - UAlbany Sports 2014


Courtesy: UA Sports

RICHMOND, Va. -- University at Albany freshman wide receiver Josh Gontarek has been named the CAA Rookie of the Week for the third time this season, announced Monday by the conference office. The honor marks UAlbany’s eighth CAA accolade this fall.

NAME:  Josh Gontarek
POSITION:  WR
CLASS:  Fr.
HOMETOWN:  Mount Airy, Md.


STATS VS. NEW HAMPSHIRE
Receptions: 8
Yards: 70
Receiving Touchdowns: 1
Receiving TDs (Yards): 8


GONTAREK NOTES:  True freshman Josh Gontarek led UAlbany with eight receptions for 70 yards and an 8-yard touchdown grab in the Great Danes’ 49-24 loss to No. 2 New Hampshire … He led UAlbany to its first points of the game -- Facing 4th-and-3 on the UNH-20, Fiacchi connected a 13-yard pass to Gontarek, preserving the drive that led to a field goal … Gontarek also sparked UAlbany’s 21 straight points in a three-minute span, receiving an 8-yard TD pass from Fiacchi with 13:23 minutes left in the game – UAlbany recovered fumbles on the next two kickoffs, eventually resulting in two more touchdowns … Gontarek leads UAlbany with 45 receptions, 498 receiving yards (55.3/game), and six touchdowns in his rookie campaign.

UALBANY’S 2014 CAA WEEKLY AWARDS
Week 1: Neil Morrison - Defensive Player of the Week
Week 4: Patrick Toole - Special Teams Player of the Week
              Josh Gontarek - Rookie of the Week (also FCS National Freshman of the Week)
Week 5: Rayshan Clark - Defensive Player of the Week
Week 6: Josh Gontarek - Co-Rookie of the Week
Week 8: Christian Dorsey - Defensive Player of the Week
               Patrick Toole - Special Teams Player of the Week
Week 10: Josh Gontarek - Rookie of the Week

In addition to Gontarek, New Hampshire wide receiver R.J. Harris was named the Offensive Player of the Week, James Madison defensive lineman Sage Harold and Richmond linebacker Omar Howard were named Co-Defensive Players of the Week, and William & Mary running back Kendall Anderson earned the Special Teams Player of the Week honor.
 


Friday, October 31, 2014

#12 University of Albany Field Hockey Earns Program-Record 10th Straight Win to Take America East Regular Season Championship - UAlbany Sports 2014


Courtesy: UA Sports

BURLINGTON, VT. – No. 12 University at Albany field hockey (16-2, 5-0 AE) scored four unanswered goals in the first half and put Vermont (3-15, 1-4 AE) away 5-1 in Burlington on Friday afternoon. The Halloween victory makes UAlbany the America East Regular Season Champion; and the Great Danes return home to host Fairfield in the America East Semifinals at 1:00 p.m., on Thursday.

“We’ve been in a few high-pressure situations before,” said head coach Phil Sykes. Having gone through the tournament last season with a younger team puts us in a position to do the right things this year. The last several games we’ve used that experience to be a more mature team, and that’s something we’ll need to continue in the post-season.”

Getting off to a quick start, Paula Heuser and Anna Bottino knocked on the door in the first 10 minutes to set the offensive tone. The Great Danes recorded fives shots on goal and four penalty corners in the opening seven minutes of the contest.

After a number of substitutions and another shot on goal from Kelsey Briddell, Kelly Bonner finally cracked the seal on the Vermont goal on an assist from Amy Nicklin with just over 10 minutes left in the first half.

The Catamounts rebounded briefly for its first shot on goal, but the Purple & Gold regained possession and earned another penalty corner. Fiori Van Rijswijk made the insert, and after a stop from Laura Page, Paula Heuser scored her 25th goal of the season. Shortly after, the sophomore midfielder assisted on a 2-on-1 opportunity to Bonner to give UAlbany a 3-0 lead.

With less than five minutes left in the opening half, Nicklin tapped a penalty corner pass across the circle to find Van Rijswijk for the score.

The Great Danes took a 13-3 shot advantage and a 6-2 edge in penalty corners into the break.

Keeping up the defensive pressure despite the lead, an interception by Pahila Arnold gave UAlbany the ball deep in Catamount territory. A flick on from Bonner found Molly Mariano a look on net, but her attempt was saved off of the right post.

Vermont managed a goal on a penalty corner with 10 minutes gone in the second half.

With five minutes left UAlbany charged down the field on the counterattack, despite much of the second half taking place in the midfield. Arnold swung a grounder across the circle to Anna Bottino, who tapped the pass into the lower left corner of the cage.

UAlbany enters the America East Tournament semifinals on Thursday with a 10-game winning streak. It is the longest all-time single season winning streak in program history, besting last year’s nine-game undefeated run to open the season. The Great Danes are undefeated (8-0) at home for the first time since 2007, and will face No. 4 seed Fairfield at 1:00 p.m., on Thursday at Alumni Turf in the first America East semifinal.

AMERICA EAST TOURNAMENT BRACKET
All games at Alumni Turf, Albany, N.Y.

Thursday, Nov. 6
Semifinal 1: No. 1 UAlbany vs. No. 4 Fairfield – 1:00 p.m.
Semifinal 2: No. 2 New Hampshire vs. No. 3 Maine – 4:00 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 8
Winners of Semifinals – 1:00 p.m.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

University of Albany W Soccer Conquers League’s Top Defense, Shuts Down Maine 2-0 to Advance to AE Semifinals - UAlbany Sports 2014


Courtesy: UA Sports

ALBANY, N.Y. – Charged with facing the top defensive squad in the league, the UAlbany women’s soccer team scored two early goals and shut out Maine 2-0 at Bob Ford Field to advance to the America East semifinal round.

“From minute one, our energy was the highest it has been all season, the team understood the intensity and passion tonight was going to take, and we were the aggressor,” said UAlbany head coach Caitlin Cucchiella.

It is the first time UAlbany (7-8-5) has won an America East Tournament game by multiple goals and the first shutout since defeating Hartford 1-0 in the AE Semifinals in 2011.  It is also the first time an America East opponent scored multiple goals on Maine (4-8-6) this season.

Caitlyn Paltsios netted the long range goal from Celia Balf in the 13th minute to put UAlbany on the board.  America East Rookie of the Year Vivian Vega scored a goal, her ninth of the year to tie her for second in single-season goals in UAlbany history, off the pass from Kiana Rugar in the 19th minute to add insurance for the eventual 2-0 final score.

“It feels great and unreal, I am so proud of our team,” said Paltsios, an America East All-Conference Second Team midfielder. “I saw the goalie come off her line, so I took the quick shot.”

In goal, Alana Brennan saved eight shots and earned her fifth shutout of the season for the win, outdueling counterpart Claudia Dube-Trempe, the America East Goalkeeper of the Year, who had three saves in the defeat.

“It feels amazing, we were energized and ready to take on Maine tonight,” said Brennan.  “We more prepared for their aggressive play and counters, our coaches got us ready.”

4-seed UAlbany will take on 1-seed Hartford on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. on the road for the semifinal round.

“I am so proud of the team’s growth and development over the last year, and I cannot wait for Hartford,” said Cucchiella.

UAlbany served as the early aggressor as Alexa Schneider went for a long range shot in the 2nd minute, with Dube-Trempe getting the save. 

The other way in minute eight, Charlene Achille got a look on a header from a cross, missing left of the post.  UAlbany countered, kicked the ball around the penalty box and got a chance from Krista Fitzpatrick, being stopped by a diving Dube-Trempe.

In the 13th minute, Balf dribbled the ball up the midfield.  She passed to the near side to a running Paltsios.  The keeper ran slightly up as Paltsios kicked towards the goal.  The keeper got a hand on the ball on the dive, but could not stop the ball as it went into the left post for the score, putting UAlbany up 1-0.

Achille tried another long range shot in the 17th minute, with Brennan getting another save.

UAlbany struck again in the 19th minute.  Rugar about 35 yards out passed to Vega, who surged past the back line.  One-on-one with the keeper, she dribbled around Dube-Trempe and kicked a ground ball into the center of the net for the score, making it 2-0 UAlbany.

Maine nearly got a goal off a couple of shots from Achille in the 21st minute.  The first was stopped by Brennan, the next 20 seconds later was blocked by a defender.  UAlbany cleared and the threat was ended.

The visitors had a breakaway in the 33rd minute.  Eve L’Abbe took a very long shot, hitting the crossbar and staying in play.  On the rebound, Achille went for a header off the bounce, missing high.  L’Abbe had one more shot the rest of the half, being saved by Brennan.  UAlbany went into the locker room up 2-0.

Maine had the ball locked into the offensive third in the 58th minute, with an Achille shot being saved by Brennan.  Brennan’s punt was headed back towards the penalty area, seeing Ashley Robinson try a shot.  That too was saved by the UAlbany keeper.

UAlbany struck back in the 65th minute.  Paltsios went on another breakaway on the far side, trying a long shot.  A jumping Dube-Trempe punched the ball over the crossbar.  On the resulting corner, Fitzpatrick found Schneider for the header, with the attempt missing wide.

Paltsios had another chance in the 70th minute on a breakaway.  Going one-vs-two towards the goal, Dube-Trempe ran into Paltsios outside the box, drawing the yellow card.  Paltsios went for the cage on the free kick, seeing the attempt blocked by the Maine wall.

UAlbany protected against the Maine threat by keeping passes in the midfield.  Towards the end, Maine fired times at the goal, with Brennan saving one and the other four missing the net.  UAlbany held firm and won the game 2-0.

In other AE Quarterfinal action, New Hampshire advanced to the next round on penalty kicks 4-2 in a tie vs. Binghamton.  With that result, UAlbany finishes its home season at 7-4.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Heuser, Page Break All-Time University of Albany Field Hockey Program Records in 4-2 Victory at Yale - UAlbany Sports 2014


Courtesy: UA Sports

NEW HAVEN, CONN. – Despite a slow start on Sunday afternoon, No. 13 University at Albany field hockey (15-2, 4-0 AE) came away with a 4-2 win at Yale (2-13). The victory marks the ninth straight for UAlbany, in a three-way tie for the longest winning streak in the nation. Paula Heuser and Laura Page each topped an all-time single season offensive category.

"It was a tough game, and Yale played well," said head coach Phil Sykes. "We battled back, and I'm proud of Laura [Page] and Paula [Heuser] for breaking two long-standing records today."

Yale got out to an early 2-0 shot advantage at home, and with its first penalty corner of the game took a 1-0 lead.

The Great Danes responded with a series of penalty corners of their own, but Pahila Arnold and Heuser had their attempts stopped. In seven penalty corners during the first half, UAlbany failed to convert and went into the break down 1-0.

Heuser quickly took control in the second period, firing on all cylinders on an early penalty corner. The sophomore scored on the set piece from Fiori Van Rijswijk and Laura Page. The goal marked her 22nd of the season, and her 51st point. With the score, Heuser became the all-time single season leader in points. The midfielder passed UAlbany Division II powerhouse Tovah Atwell, who has held the record since 1998 with 50 points.

With the game tied, the Purple & Gold continued to battle in the circle for penalty corners. After recording seven shots in the first half, Yale failed to fire on-target in the second period.

Heuser spread the wealth on a penalty corner in the 53rd minute, as the sophomore found Van Rijswijk for the tally. Van Rijswijk notched a new single-game career high with five points against the Bulldogs. The tally for the 2-1 lead was also her fourth game-winner of 2014.

Just six minutes later, Heuser gave the Great Danes some breathing room with another penalty corner slam from Page and Van Rijswijk. With the assist, Page became the all-time single season leader in assists. The junior tallied her 20th for the 3-1 lead to break a nine-year old record.

The penalty corner trio teamed up for one last goal in the 63rd minute. Yale slid one past the Great Danes defense shortly after, but UAlbany held on for its ninth straight win.

Two other teams in Division I field hockey have a nine game winning streak, No. 2 Maryland and No. 3 Stanford. UAlbany handed Stanford its only loss of the season in Palo Alto on Sept. 14, 1-0.

Paula Heuser is now the all-time single season leader in points, smashing a record that stood for nearly 20 years. Her 56 points come off 24 goals and eight assists. Heuser is already the all-time single season leader in goals. She has 101 points for her career, ranking tied for second in Division I program history after just two seasons. The German ranks tied for second with former teammate Corrine McConville and current UAlbany assistant Michelle Simpson.  

Laura Page now has 21 assists in 2014, setting a new all-time record in single-season assists. She has 45 for her career, and is six shy of becoming the all-time leader in the category.

Four Great Danes have 20 points or more this season, including Heuser (56), Van Rijsiwjk (24), Page (23) and Anna Bottino (20).

No. 13 UAlbany field hockey concludes the regular season at Vermont (3-14, 1-3 AE) on Friday, Oct. 31 at 3:00 p.m. 

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