Monday, August 31, 2009

UAlbany Championships Since 2002


Men's Football
2002, 2003, 2007, 2008

Men's basketball

2006, 2007

Men's Lacrosse
2003, 2004, 2005, 2007

Men's Indoor Track
2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

Men's Outdoor Track
2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

Women's softball
2005, 2006, 2007

Women's volleyball
2004, 2006, 2007, 2008

Women's golf
2004, 2008, 2009

Women's outdoor track
2006, 2007, 2009


Field Hockey

University Field Renovation Option

Sunday, August 30, 2009

University of Albany Field Hockey Completes Weekend Sweep With 2-0 Win Over Radford - UAlbany Sports 2009

Albany, N.Y. - Freshman Nina Walters scored her first collegiate goal to put UAlbany up by two in leading the Great Danes to a 2-0 victory over Radford on Sunday afternoon at Alumni Turf Field. It was the second shutout for UAlbany in as many days, as the Great Danes opened the season with a 2-0 victory over Bucknell on Saturday.

UAlbany's Sarah Deane broke a scoreless tie in the second half, as Radford goalkeeper Jennifer Wisniewski came out of the cage. Deane collected a pass from Tessa Knapp and fired a shot into the upper right corner of the goal to put the Great Danes up, 1-0, in the 53rd minute of play. Walters doubled the score in the 66th minute, tipping a shot from Suzy Clephane into the goal on a corner.

The Great Danes outshot the Highlanders, 17-0, and held a 10-0 advantage in penalty corners. Wisniewski played 70:00 in the cage for Radford (1-1), making nine saves. UAlbany's Christine Hoffman and Kristi Troch split time in goal for the UAlbany, each playing a half.

UAlbany (2-0) will return to action on Saturday, Sept. 5, visiting Hofstra at 1 p.m.

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Women's Soccer Wraps Up West Coast Trip With 2-1 Loss to Pacific

Stockton, Calif. - Freshman Laura Hernandez scored her first career goal midway through the second half to lead Pacific to a 2-1 win over UAlbany in non-conference women's soccer action at Stagg Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 30. The Great Danes were led by freshman midfielder Maggie DeVerna, who scored her first collegiate goal, and sophomore goalkeeper Cate Crenson, who made a career-high 10 saves in the losing effort.

Pacific (2-1), which was coming off a convincing 5-0 victory over Portland State, threatened to score early and often by taking the first eight shots of the match. The Tigers had the best chance to score of either team with just 19 seconds left in the opening stanza when Hernandez had a one-on-one breakaway against Crenson. However, she was forced to go to her weak foot and Crenson came away with one of her five key saves in the opening 45 minutes to keep the match scoreless at halftime.

The Tigers got on the scoreboard first in the 54th minute following a long throw-in when Natalie Wong took a short pass from Angelica Figueroa and shot it past Crenson. It was the first goal the sophomore surrendered all season after holding opponents scoreless for consecutive halves dating back to Friday's match at Sacramento State.

UAlbany (0-2) rallied back to net the equalizer in the 66th minute by catching Pacific off guard directly after head coach Keith Coleman made a substitution. Freshman Chelsea DeVerna centered the ball from the right side to Maggie DeVerna, her twin sister, who fired it to the back of the net from about 15 yards out. However, Pacific responded shortly afterwards with the game-winning goal in the 70th minute when Hernandez chipped a shot past Crenson with the outside of her left foot on a failed clear attempt by the Great Dane defense.

Despite making a career-best 10 stops on 23 chances, UAlbany's Crenson was credited with the loss in her first start of the young season. Pacific's Jill Medigovich made two saves on four opportunities to earn the victory.

UAlbany (0-2) will be back in action on Friday, Sept. 4 at 4 p.m. when it hosts Iona in its home opener at Varsity Field.

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Saturday, August 29, 2009

University of Albany Field Hockey Opens Up Season With 2- 0 Win Over Bucknell - UAlbany Sports 2009

Albany, N.Y. - Christina Patrick and Jess Lindsey each scored once to lead UAlbany to a 2-0 win over Bucknell in the Great Danes' season-opener on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Turf Field. The victory was the third straight shutout win to start the season for UAlbany.

After a scoreless first half marked by periods of steady rain, the Great Danes broke the drought 10 minutes into the second half. Junior forward Alysia Hough passed the ball in front of the cage where Patrick collected it and shot it over Bucknell goalkeeper Jessie Atieh into the right corner. UAlbany doubled the advantage three minutes later at 48:21, as Lindsey took a rebound off an initial corner shot by Tegan Brown and slipped it into the corner of the cage.

UAlbany outshot Bucknell, 21-4, including a 9-2 advantage in shots on goal. The Great Danes also recorded nine penalty corners, while the Bison had four. Atieh played all 70 minutes for Bucknell (0-1), making seven saves for the Bison. Goalkeepers Christine Hoffman and Kristi Troch split time in the cage for UAlbany, with each making one save.

UAlbany (1-0) will return to action on Sunday, hosting Radford at 2 p.m.

Bucknell (0-1) 0 0 - 0
UAlbany (1-0) 0 2 - 2

Bucknell - Scoring: None. Goalkeeper: Jessie Atieh (70:00, 2 GA, 7 saves).

UAlbany - Scoring: Christina Patrick (1-0), Jess Lindsey (1-0), Alysia Hough (0-1). Goalkeeper: Christina Hoffman (35:00, 0 GA, 1 save), Kristi Troch (35:00, 0 GA, 1 save).

Courtesy: UAlbany Athletics

University of Albany FCS Football's Dave Nicomini Makes Most of Opportunity in Final Preseason Scrimmage - UAlbany Sports 2009

Albany, N.Y. - Dave Nicomini, an all-conference outside linebacker, showed his appreciation for a second chance as a college football in player in the University at Albany's final intrasquad scrimmage on Friday, Aug. 28 at University Field. The Great Danes, a Division I FCS program, wrapped up preseason camp and now begins preparations for the season opener at perennial power Georgia Southern on Sept. 5.

Nicomini, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound defender who most certainly will be watched by professional scouts, figured he would be a UAlbany graduate working in the real world at this point in his life. But a serious knee injury in the spring of 2008 led to surgery and ended any chance of playing last fall. Although still providing leadership as a team captain, Nicomini watched from the sidelines as his teammates captured their second consecutive Northeast Conference title.

But after going through a demanding rehabilitation, Nicomini was cleared for athletic activities in January 2009. At that moment he did not know he would be granted a sixth year by the NCAA due to medical hardship, so he joined the school's lacrosse program as a defensive midfielder and face-off specialist.

"At the very end of lacrosse season, I knew my knee would hold up," said Nicomini, who played in five games for head coach Scott Marr. "Mentally it was something I no longer had to think about and my confidence grew."

And now 15 months removed from the injury, Nicomini was all over the field in a football scrimmage. He made three solo tackles, tipped a pass and came on the blitz from the right side to knock down quarterback Vinny Esposito's attempt. He looked all of the defensive standout that has accounted for 169 tackles during his career.

"I was nervous my first (camp) practice," Nicomini stated. "It's a sport I have played my whole life. I was trying to do too much, overplaying my responsibilities, but now I am in the flow again."

Nicknamed "Nitro" by former UAlbany assistant and now University of Pittsburgh defensive back coach Jeff Hafley, Nicomini is ready to resume his role as a big-hitting defender in the Great Danes' defensive scheme.

"They say you never appreciate things until they are gone," Nicomini offers. "I have to make the most of my second opportunity. This is a second chance to play the game I love."

Paw Prints: UAlbany and Georgia Southern are each receiving votes in both the Sports Network and FCS Coaches' preseason national polls ... TB David McCarty has been named to the College Sporting News FCS Preseason All-America Team as an honorable mention selection ... McCarty is on the 2009 Walter Payton Award Watch List ... TB Tramaine Wilson, a true freshman, hauled in the longest pass play of the scrimmage, a 28-yarder from QB Dan Di Lella ... Wilson ran for 28 yards on six carries ... redshirt freshman receiver Ryan Kirchner had three receptions for 40 yards ... OLB Jon Morgan and OLB Raymond Dorcely each recovered a fumble ... CB Jean Juste broke up two passes ... freshman Allen Eggleston scored on a pair of 3-yard touchdown runs ... Ben Miseikis, another freshman tailback, rushed seven times for 33 yards ... QB Andrew Smith ran for one score in a red-zone drill and passed for another to FB Justin Petersen in an extended series.

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

UAlbany Volleyball Closes Out Tournament With Losses to Michigan State and USC

East Lansing, Mich. - UAlbany dropped both matches on the second day of play at the MSU Showcase, falling to the host Spartans, 3-0, in the early match before losing a 3-0 decision to #12 Southern California in the evening. Michigan State posted scores of 25-13, 25-19 and 25-16 against the Great Danes, while the Trojans came away with scores of 25-16, 25-14 and 25-21.

Senior Hillary White led UAlbany against Michigan State, finishing with a team-high 10 kills and a .333 hitting percentage. Sophomore Kalyn Mostert added eight kills, while Brooke Stanley tallied 24 assists and five digs. Jenilee Rathje led MSU with 13 kills, while Allyson Karaba finished with a team-high nine digs. The Spartans, who hit .587 for the match, also recorded 9.5 total blocks, including five block assists from Mischelle Nelson.

Teresa Coppiellie led the Great Danes against USC, recording 11 kills and seven digs, while Valerie Sourbeer finished with 10. Stanley tallied 30 assists, while Abbey Wexel paced the team with nine digs. The Great Danes hit .333 in the final set to record 13 kills, a team-high for the match. Alex Jupiter and Kimmee Roleder both finished with 11 digs apiece for Southern California. Kendall Bateman recorded 31 assists, while Alli Hillgren and Geena Urango both finished with six digs.

UAlbany (0-3) will return to action next weekend, hosting the two-day UAlbany Classic. The Great Danes will welcome Seton Hall, Hofstra and Lamar to University Gymnasium on Friday and Saturday.

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Friday, August 28, 2009

University of Albany Field Hockey Opens Up Season at Home Against Bucknell - UAlbany Sports 2009

Albany, N.Y. - The UAlbany field hockey team will open its 2009 season on Saturday, August 29, as the Great Danes host Bucknell at 2:00 p.m. UAlbany, the 2008 America East Conference champions, will look to begin the defense of last year's title, taking on the Bison at Alumni Turf Field.

Senior captains Nicole Savage and Jess Lindsey will lead the Great Danes, who play five of their first six games on their home field. Savage is UAlbany's top returning scorer after tallying nine goals and two assists a year ago. Lindsey became the program's all-time career assists leader as a junior, and enters the season with 39 career helpers.

Despite the loss of two-time All-America Michelle Simpson and four-year All-America East Conference goalkeeper Ashley Ross, the Great Danes return an experienced corps of veterans, with seven juniors on the roster who have all seen significant playing time over the past two seasons.

UAlbany head coach Phil Sykes, now in his sixth season at the helm of the program, also brought in seven talented freshmen. With an original signing class of five, Sykes later added two international student-athletes in Inge Baijens of the Netherlands and Tegan Brown, who hails from Australia. They join a strong group of newcomers, led by second-team All-America Tessa Knapp and goalkeeper Kristi Troch, who is the third player to come to UAlbany from Lehighton High School in Pennsylvania.

The Great Danes, who were receiving votes in the 2009 Kookaburra/NFHCA Division I Preseason Poll on August 25, were picked third in the America East Preseason Coaches' Poll. Bucknell was also receiving votes in the national preseason poll.

After Saturday's match-up, the Great Danes will play their second straight home game, hosting Radford at Alumni Turf Field on Sunday at 2 p.m.


- UAlbany was receiving votes in the 2009 Kookaburra/NFHCA Division I Preseason Poll, as announced by the organization on August 25. The Great Danes finished the 2008 season ranked 20th in the poll, after being ranked or receiving votes every week of the season.

- Head coach Phil Sykes added two international student-athletes to the 2009 roster after the initial signing period. Inge Baijens of Rotterdam, Netherlands and Tegan Brown from Victoria, Australia, joined the Great Danes in late summer. Baijens was Gemini College's top scorer for three straight seasons, leading her squad to three consecutive class championships. Brown led Berwick to the Victorian State Championship in 2006 and 2007 and won her school's Award for Athletic Excellence twice.

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Volleyball Drops Season-Opener to North Carolina, 3-1

East Lansing, Mich. - Seniors Branagan Fuller and Heather Brooks both recorded 15 kills to lead North Carolina to a 3-1 win over UAlbany in both team's season-opening match at the MSU Showcase on Friday evening. The Tarheels won the first two sets, 25-19 and 25-21, before the Great Danes posted a 25-23 victory in the third set. UNC closed out the match with a 25-15 win in the fourth.

The first set remained tight through the opening points before UNC took an 8-7 lead on a Fuller kill. The Tarheels then recorded six of the next seven points before UAlbany setter Brooke Stanley ended the rally with a kill. The Great Danes later got back-to-back kills from Teresa Coppiellie and Valerie Sourbeer to pull within 18-14. The teams exchanged attack errors and kills, but a block assist from Brooks and Courtney Johnston gave UNC match point at 24-19, setting up the final kill by Brooks.

UAlbany jumped out to an early 5-2 lead in the second set, but UNC tied the score at 5-5 by inducing two attack errors and getting a service ace from Aleksandra Georgieva. After a Tarheel error, the Great Danes scored three straight points to regain the lead, with a kill by Kalyn Mostert followed by back-to-back smashes by Hillary White. UAlbany held onto a slim 13-9 lead on a kill by Casey Wright (Ballston Spa), but UNC tied the game up with consecutive kills by Johnston and a UAlbany error. After a final tie at 16-16 on another Wright kill, the Tarheels pulled ahead, 20-17. Coppiellie pulled the Great Danes back within one, 20-19, but UNC wouldn't allow UAlbany to regain another lead, and kills by Brooks and Fuller ended the set.

The third set featured 10 ties in the early going before UAlbany started to pull away after knotting things up at 15-15 on a Sourbeer kill. The Great Danes scored five straight points to go from a one-point deficit to an 18-15 lead on a service ace by Abbey Wexel, her second of the set. UNC attempted to regain momentum with a kill by Suzanne Haydel, but Coppiellie recorded one of her team-high 12 kills and the Great Danes induced an attack error to hold onto a 20-16 advantage. Stanley and freshman Gabby Whitworth combined for a block assist to keep UAlbany ahead, but UNC rallied back to tie the game up at 22-22. Despite one final UNC push with a kill from Brooks, White recorded the last three kills for the Great Danes to give them the third-set win.

The Tarheels came out firing in the fourth, building up a 9-4 lead in the early going, getting three kills from Brooks. UAlbany was able to pull within 15-10 on a Coppiellie kill, but Brooks remained hot, smashing three straight kills to put UNC on top, 18-10. The Great Dane offense never got hot in the final set, as UAlbany only produced a .105 hitting percentage, while the Tarheels hit a match-best .382. Stanley and Sourbeer had kills in the late going, but it wasn't enough to stop UNC, as Megan Owens knocked down the game point on a set from Erica Behm.

Johnston finished with 10 kills for UNC (1-0), while Behm recorded 51 assists and nine digs. Haydel and Kaylie Gibson finished with 13 digs apiece for the Tarheels, while Brooks and Johnston both recorded three total blocks.

White recorded a double-double for UAlbany, finishing with 11 kills and a team-high 18 digs. Stanley also had a double-double, of the assist-dig variety, tallying 41 helpers to go along with 14 digs. Wright, who had a career-high seven kills, also totaled three solo blocks for the Great Danes, who out-blocked the Tarheels, 5-4.

UAlbany (0-1) will return to action at the MSU Showcase tomorrow, taking on the host Spartans at 10:30 a.m. before closing out the tournament against Southern California at 5:30 p.m.

North Carolina (1-0) def. UAlbany (0-1), 3-1 (25-19, 25-21, 23-25, 25-15)

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

University of Albany To Oversee Rockefeller Institute Think Tank - UAlbany News 2009

The State University of New York's Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute is in for some changes and possibly a higher profile. The venerable think tank, which focuses on state and local government finance, has been around since 1981, but not everyone knows what it does.

The most obvious change will be its absorption into the University at Albany campus, with the Institute's yet-to-be-named director reporting to UAlbany President George Philip.

But just as important, the coming changes at Rockefeller Institute may provide one of the first indications about how new SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher plans to put her stamp on the SUNY system and in the process take on its vast, Byzantine central bureaucracy and some of the entrenched players there.

Rethinking the Rockefeller Institute was occasioned when its longtime director, Richard Nathan, said he would retire at the end of the year.

Last winter, SUNY set up a search committee, but according to several sources familiar with the situation, the effort to find a new director appeared to be breaking down amid internal discord. Zimpher arrived in New York from Ohio in June and launched a tour of SUNY's 64 campuses, which is still ongoing.

Last week, Zimpher stepped in and via a memorandum to the search committee, told members that Philip would replace SUNY New Paltz President Steven Poskanzer as the chairman of the committee.

"I am grateful for the initial support and work Steve has provided as chair, and I know the committee will move ahead well in the capable hands of George Philip," wrote Zimpher.

Less clear was how much authority Zimpher would give to John O'Connor, SUNY's vice chancellor and secretary who served as Officer in Charge until Zimpher's arrival. According to several people familiar with the situation, search committee members complained O'Connor appeared to be taking charge of the Rockefeller Institute search.

Ultimately, the SUNY trustees have to approve the new director, but it would be unusual for them to reverse a choice by the search committee. That group is working with the Korn Ferry International search firm, which has been hired for $81,500.

SUNY officials wouldn't comment on the search, citing confidentiality in personnel issues. And several search committee members didn't return calls.

But others said O'Connor became a lightning rod amid fears that he was trying to influence the search.

From that standpoint, Zimpher's memorandum last week could be viewed as an attempt to assert her authority over O'Connor, who is viewed as one of the system's most seasoned insiders.

Regardless of the search to replace Nathan, a nationally recognized expert in government finance, the Rockefeller Institute will be in for some other changes.

It will open a New York City office and perhaps one in Washington, D.C., Zimpher said.

In her outline, Zimpher also noted the new director will be expected to develop a plan to increase revenues. Currently, the Rockefeller Institute operates on an approximately $3.5 million to $4 million budget, with about 70 percent coming from foundations, government agencies and contracts to conduct research and studies.

By Rick Karlin

Women's Soccer Edged By Sacramento State, 1-0, in Season Opener

Sacramento, Calif. - Junior Leah Larot's first marker of the season in the 29th minute of action led Sacramento State to a 1-0 victory over the UAlbany women's soccer team at Hornet Soccer Field on Friday, Aug. 28. The Great Danes held a commanding 16-9 advantage in shot attempts in their season opener, but Hornet goalkeeper Savannah Abercrombie turned away everything and got some help from her defense to earn her first shutout of the season and ninth of her career.

UAlbany (0-1) threatened to go ahead early when Maggie DeVerna, one of five freshmen starting for the Great Danes, took a cross and fired a shot to the far post that got past Abercrombie and appeared to be heading for the back of the net just 44 seconds after kick-off. However, Hornet defender Christina Trenton dove in front of the ball just in time and was credited with a team save to keep the match scoreless. Sacramento State (1-0-1), which opened its season with a 1-1 tie against rival UC-Davis earlier in the week, had a chance to get on the scoreboard in the ninth minute of action, but Ashley Forbes' shot attempt hit off the crossbar and was successfully cleared.

Following several more missed opportunities for both sides, the Hornets were able to break through with the only goal they needed in the 29th minute. Elece McBride made a cross from the right side towards the far post which was deflected by UAlbany freshman goalkeeper Breanna Maggio right to the foot of Larot, who slid the ball in the net to give the Hornets a 1-0 lead. UAlbany's Ashley Tirabassi made an attempt to tie the match up in the 32nd minute of play, but her shot hit the crossbar and the teams went to the recess with the Hornets still holding on to a one-goal lead.

UAlbany continued pounding Abercrombie with shots in the second half and had several chances to force overtime through the waning minutes of play. The team's best attempt in the stanza came in the 86th minute. Tirabassi sent a laser from 10 yards out on the right side, but Abercrombie punched away the ball into a group of defenders, and it was cleared out before any of the Great Danes up front had a chance to score the equalizer on the open net.

UAlbany's Maggio, who made her collegiate debut in goal for the Great Danes, turned away one of the five shots she faced in the first half and was credited with the loss. She was relieved by Cate Crenson in the second half, who stopped two Hornet shots on four chances. Abercrombie of Sacramento State recorded six saves on 16 opportunities and was credited with the win.

The Great Danes conclude their West Coast trip to begin the 2009 season when they visit Pacific University of the Big West Conference on Sunday, Aug. 30 at 3 p.m. ET.

UAlbany (0-1) 0 0 - 0
Sacramento State (1-0-1) 1 0 - 1

UAlbany: Scoring - None. Goalkeeping - Breanna Maggio (45:00, 1 GA, 1 save), Cate Crenson (45:00, 0 GA, 2 saves).

Sacramento State: Scoring - Leah Larot (1-0), Elece McBride (0-1). Goalkeeping - Savannah Abercrombie (90:00, 0 GA, 6 saves).

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Thursday, August 27, 2009

University of Albany FCS Football To Play Big East Foe Cincinnati In 2011 - UAlbany Sports 2009

University at Albany Vice President and Director of Athletics Lee McElroy announced on Thursday, Aug. 27 that the school's football program will play its first NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponent when the Great Danes travel to the University of Cincinnati for the projected 2011 season opener. UAlbany has competed at the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level since 1999.

"We continually ask our coaches and student-athletes to challenge themselves," said McElroy, who has directed an intercollegiate program that is currently celebrating 10 years of Division I athletics. "As universities, Cincinnati and UAlbany have similar missions as public research institutions. While we are a couple years away from playing, today's announcement signifies another important step in the evolution of a program that continues to distinguish itself throughout its brief FCS history."

One of the nation's oldest collegiate football programs, Cincinnati has had tremendous success under third-year mentor Brian Kelly, a two-time Big East Conference Coach of the Year. Kelly led the Bearcats to the Big East championship and an appearance in the 75th FedEx Orange Bowl against Virginia Tech last season. Cincinnati set a school record with an 11-3 campaign and posted back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time. The Bearcats, who were ranked No. 17 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Top 25 polls, won the 2007 Bowl in a 31-21 triumph over Southern Mississippi.

"This is a great challenge and an opportunity to see how far we have come over the last ten years," offered UAlbany coach Bob Ford, who has guided the Great Danes to four Northeast Conference championships in this decade. "It will be a true measuring stick against a very good opponent."

Cincinnati is the fifth-oldest college football program in the nation, behind Rutgers, Michigan, Navy and Minnesota. Nippert Stadium, which opened in 1902, has gone through a series of expansions. In 1991, the capacity was upped to 35,000. The stadium was one of the first in the United States to utilize FieldTurf, a grass-like synthetic surface.

UAlbany has competed as an NCAA Division I FCS program and as an associate member of the Northeast Conference since 1999. The Great Danes have won or shared four NEC titles in 2002, 2003, 2007 and 2008. In addition, UAlbany won last year's Gridiron Classic and captured the 2002 ECAC Bowl Classic. Coach Ford, who is the nation's winningest active FCS coach with 234 career victories, started the program at the club level in 1970. The Great Danes began NCAA Division III play in 1973, moved to Division II in 1995 and upgraded to its present level four years later.

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

University of Albany Lacrosse and Football Player: Dave Nicomini Highlighted - UAlbany Sports 2009

Warning signs aren't posted. It can happen in a flash. For Dave Nicomini, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound linebacker for the University at Albany football team, there wasn't even any contact.

Nicomini was running across the field during spring practice of 2008. "All of a sudden," recalled UAlbany coach Bob Ford, "he goes down, screaming. (Head trainer) Jay Geiger gets to him and says he probably broke his tibia. He had ripped the muscle right off the bone and ripped his knee up."

A senior who redshirted as a freshman, Nicomini would not play in what was expected to be his final season, an unfortunate ending to a promising career.

The university immediately applied for medical hardship, which would give Nicomini a sixth year of eligibility. He figured he had a 50-50 chance of resuming his college career. In January, he got the good news.

"That was a huge weight off my shoulders," said Nicomini, who is a team captain for a second consecutive season. "It's one thing to have that taken away from you like that, but once you get that opportunity, that you know you're going to be able to redeem yourself and come back, it gives you a second wind, it gives you that motivation back."

Nicomini, who was a bystander as his friends and teammates won the Northeast Conference and beat Jacksonville in the Gridiron Classic, should be a key figure if the Great Danes (9-3) are able to repeat those feats.

"It was kind of bittersweet," he said of last season. "You love how the team does great, and you wish the best for all your guys, but at the same time, a lot of those guys are my best friends. Not being able to play with them, I wasn't fully able to enjoy the experience like they were."

Before the injury, Nicomini was an all-Northeast Conference first-team player in 2007, finishing second on the team in tackles despite missing the first two games because of illness. He fits in nicely on a defense that hasn't lost a conference game since 2006 and returns seven starters besides Nicomini.

"Before he got hurt, he was a pro suspect," said Ford, using the term he applies to any NFL prospect. "He's about 6-2, goes maybe 230, and could run like hell. He's a big, tough, physical kid, so if he can play anywhere near where he was before he got the injury, he'll be looked at in the pros.

"He played lacrosse, and in lacrosse you're going to get banged around a little bit, too. He held up there, and he's held up so far here."

There aren't many players of that size playing lacrosse, but Nicomini used the sport to test progress on his knee as he waited for one final season on the football field.

"I talked to people who had similar injuries and have busted back, maybe six months and they're coming back," Nicomini said, "and I heard, 'I've torn it again,' or, 'We've got issues now.'

"It was an option that maybe I could have played maybe the end of the season, but I really just wanted to wait it out, because I knew if I injured it again, we're not just talking football, we're talking about having leg problems for the rest of my life. It was worth waiting."


University of Albany Announces Tournament Schedule for 2K Sports Classic, Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer - UAlbany Sports 2009

Albany, N.Y. - University at Albany Vice President and Director of Athletics Lee McElroy announced on Thursday, Aug. 27 the schedule for the 2009 2K Sports Classic, benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer. UAlbany will meet Syracuse in the regional round on Monday, Nov. 9 and then host the three-day sub-regional on Nov. 20-22 at SEFCU Arena on campus.

"We are pleased to conduct a prestigious college basketball tournament at SEFCU Arena for the second straight year," said McElroy, whose school also hosted last March's America East Conference Championship. "We also recognize the importance of playing a top-20 opponent on national television. This enhances the quality of our basketball program."

The Great Danes begin 2K Sports Classic play at the 33,000-seat Carrier Dome in Syracuse. The opener was moved back one day from its original date to accommodate ESPNU television. Tip-off is 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, who has 799 career victories, led the program to the 2003 national title. The Orange went 28-10 and reached the NCAA regional semifinals last season.\

In a continuation of the 2K Sports Classic, UAlbany's SEFCU Arena will host Alcorn State, Detroit and Robert Morris in a sub-regional. On Friday, Nov. 20, Detroit and Robert Morris will play the first game of a doubleheader at 5:00 p.m., while UAlbany and Alcorn State immediately follow. On Saturday, Nov. 21, Robert Morris and Alcorn State are scheduled for a 4:30 p.m. start, while UAlbany and Detroit meet in the second game. On Sunday, Nov. 22, Alcorn State and Detroit tangle at 2:30 p.m., while the Great Danes host Robert Morris in the final contest of the sub-regional.

Robert Morris, the defending Northeast Conference champion, went 24-11 last year and met eventual national runner-up Michigan in its NCAA first-round contest. Alcorn State returns the Southwestern Athletic Conference's top scorer in Troy Jackson, who averaged 20.0 points per game. Ray McCallum, who previously was the head coach at both Ball State and Houston, is in his second year directing the Detroit program.

For more ticket information, contact the UAlbany Athletic Ticket Office, at 518-442-4683. All six sub-regional games will be included in the UAlbany basketball season ticket package.
2K Sports Classic, Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer
Syracuse Regional, Carrier Dome, Monday, Nov. 9
UAlbany at Syracuse, 9:00 p.m. (ESPNU)

Albany Sub-Regional, SEFCU Arena
Friday, Nov. 20
Detroit vs. Robert Morris, 5:00 p.m.
UAlbany vs. Alcorn State, 7:30 p.m. (approx.)
Saturday, Nov. 21
Alcorn State vs. Robert Morris, 4:30 p.m.
UAlbany vs. Detroit, 7:00 p.m. (approx.)
Sunday, Nov. 22
Alcorn State vs. Detroit, 2:30 p.m.
UAlbany vs. Robert Morris, 5:00 p.m. (approx.)

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

University of Albany Marks 10th Anniversary of Division I Athletics During 2009-10 Academic Year - UAlbany Sports 2009

Albany, N.Y. (August 26, 2009) -- The 2009-2010 academic year marks ten years of competing at the NCAA Division I level for the University at Albany Great Danes. The University will begin a year-long celebration titled "10 at 2010" in honor of this accomplishment with the start of the first field hockey game on August 29. All 19 varsity sports have proven themselves true Division I competitors in the past decade, earning 37 conference championships and appearing in 15 NCAA tournaments since 1999.

"Our commitment to Division I athletics is part of a larger commitment to excellence in education," said UAlbany President George M. Philip. "Our first decade of Division I competition has yielded many far-reaching benefits. It has built pride in our campus community, strengthened bonds with our alumni, and advanced UAlbany's reputation as one of the nation's leading public universities.

"We owe our Division I success to the dedication and hard work of our athletic director, Lee McElroy, his coaching staff and administrators, and our talented student-athletes."

From 1972-1995, UAlbany was a Division III athletic institution; from 1995-1999, it moved up to Division II. When UAlbany stepped up to Division I athletics, many alumni and leaders felt it would take years to successfully compete at the top level, but excellent recruiting and student-athlete commitment served as the catalyst for success.

"I'm sure not many people seriously penciled us in to beat UConn [in the 2006 NCAA Men's basketball tournament East Regional]," said Jamar Wilson, UAlbany's leading basketball scorer, whose number 31 is the sole jersey retired in UAlbany history. "Although we didn't win, everyone in the country was sitting on the edge of their seat the entire game. Who would have thought such a program as relatively new as ours would put up a fight that had the potential of knocking out the number-one ranked team in the nation for the first time in history?"

The "why not us" slogan printed on the Great Danes' t-shirts that year has reflected the true competitiveness of the entire UAlbany athletics program ever since.

"We are truly excited to be celebrating our first decade of Division I athletics," said Lee McElroy, Vice President for Athletic Administration and Director of Athletics for UAlbany. "Our student-athletes, entire faculty and staff, alumni and the UAlbany and Capital Region communities have been supportive of the Great Danes throughout our transition and the years leading up to it. Their combined efforts and positive outlook have helped us reach and surpass the level of intensity and competition we envisioned ten years ago."

The Great Danes' successes throughout the past decade include:

• Sixteen student-athletes drafted into their respective professional sport
• Twenty-seven Division I All-Americans including Honorable Mentions
• The first SUNY school to play in the Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament (almost pulling off the greatest upset in NCAA history as a 16-seed versus the number 1 ranked team in the nation, UConn, in 2006)
• Four perfect softball games in one one pitcher, in 2009
• Volunteering more than 20,000 hours in 10 years to local charities such as the Salvation Army, American Cancer Society and Big Brothers/ Big Sisters

In addition to excelling on the field, nearly 50 percent of the current UAlbany student-athletes hold a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Great Danes have been honored with ESPN Academic All-American Awards, All-American Honor Awards, Chancellor Scholar-Athlete Awards, America East Conference Academic Honor Roll and University Presidential Leadership Awards.

"There is nothing quite like being a Division I student-athlete," continued McElroy. "While these kids train hard throughout the season, they are also working hard in the classroom and in the community. Our student-athletes are fantastic examples of the ideal NCAA student-athlete."

Building on a solid tradition of academics and athletics, the UAlbany Great Danes will honor past, present and future student-athletes and staff throughout each varsity sports' schedule. Events, promotions, ticket specials, alumni pick-up games and commemorative ceremonies will take place on the University's uptown campus spanning the entire 2009-2010 season.

Fans, alumni and community members can follow every detail of the year-long celebration of UAlbany Athletics on Twitter @UA10at2010, or on Facebook by joining the UAlbany - Celebrating Our First Decade of Division I Athletics group.

For more news, subscribe to UAlbany's RSS feed,

Educationally and culturally, the University at Albany-SUNY puts "The World Within Reach" for its 18,000 students. An internationally recognized research university with 56 undergraduate majors and 115 graduate degree programs, UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as public policy, nanotechnology and criminal justice. With a curriculum enhanced by 300 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers. For more information about this globally ranked institution, visit For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New York Giants Wrap Up Training on University of Albany Campus By Shattering Attendance Record - UAlbany Sports 2009

Albany, N.Y. - The New York Giants wrapped up their record-setting fourteenth summer training camp on the University at Albany campus with a morning practice on Tuesday, Aug. 25. The Giants set a camp attendance record, as 46,960 fans attended 26 practices over a 17-day schedule which started on Aug. 3. The previous standard of 45,040 was established in 2004.

Although it was the shortest camp since the Giants started training in the Capital Region in 1996, the attendance total went over the 40,000 mark for the fourth time. The Giants and UAlbany officials are still discussing the future of the training camp, as the current contract expired with the close of this year's camp.

"We've indicated things that we really think are important for coming back," New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "I just talked to (UAlbany) President (George) Philip and he's working hard to resolve all of those. I know (City of Albany) Mayor (Jerry) Jennings is doing the same thing. Obviously we've had an exceptional weather camp. We missed our conditioning run and that's all. That hasn't been the case in other years. As you know, when we do have rain we have no place to go. That was a major issue for me. The weather has been exceptional and the idea of us being all together and being in a camp-type setting - that's a really positive thing."

The Giants, who have also trained in the states of Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey, Wisconsin and Oregon, previously worked out at Fairleigh Dickinson University (1988-95) in Madison, New Jersey prior to their arrival on the UAlbany campus. Giants training camp was held for thirteen summers at Pace University in Pleasantville, N.Y. from 1975-87.

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Council of Counseling Psychology Training Programs Bestows Lifetime Achievement Award on University of Albany Provost Phillips - UAlbany News 2009

University at Albany Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Susan D. Phillips has been awarded the Council of Counseling Psychology Training Programs (CCPTP) 2009 Award for Lifetime Contributions to Education and Training in Counseling Psychology. The award recognizes faculty who have distinguished themselves through significant, long-term service and contributions to education and training in counseling psychology. The award was presented at the 117th annual convention of the American Psychological Association in Toronto, where Phillips was acknowledged for her instrumental role in shaping and advancing education and training in counseling psychology over the past 30 years.

"We are delighted Provost Phillips has been recognized for her prestigious record of contributions in Counseling Psychology," said UAlbany President George M. Philip. "On behalf of the University I congratulate Dr. Phillips, and thank her for her tireless dedication to UAlbany and her profession."

Phillips chaired the American Psychological Association's Committee on Accreditation -- one of the nation's largest professional accrediting agencies. She also served as CCPTP's chair, during which time she pushed successfully for CCPTP to have a voice in the national professional psychology debate. She was the 1991 recipient of the American Psychological Association Division of Counseling Psychology John Holland Award for Outstanding Achievement in Personality and Career Research, and has published extensively in career development and vocational psychology. Phillips is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and a licensed psychologist, and was named the 1998 Distinguished Psychologist by the Psychological Association of Northeastern New York.

Phillips currently serves as the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at UAlbany. Previously, she served the University at Albany as the dean of the School of Education, the chair of the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology, and the director of doctoral training for Counseling Psychology. She currently holds an appointment as professor in the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology. Phillips has also earned the University at Albany Award for Excellence in Teaching and the State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching (1995).

An internationally recognized scholar in vocational psychology, Phillips' research has focused on decision making and career development. Her recent research has examined factors that facilitate the school-to-work transition, and the role of relationships in career decision-making. She has also been instrumental in creating cross-disciplinary initiatives, including research defining state-wide models of the practices in higher-performing schools undertaken in a unique public-private partnership. She also helped in developing research capacity for university-community partnerships through the NIH-sponsored Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities.

University of Albany Alumna Jennifer Manner Is New Deputy Chief of Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau at Federal Communications Commission

UAlbany alumna Jennifer A. Manner (B.A. '86) is happy to be working again with former colleagues – who include other UAlbany alumni – at the Federal Communications Commission.

Manner is one of two new FCC deputy chiefs of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, as announced in July by Chairman Julius Genachowski, who was recently appointed by President Obama to head the agency.

Manner's primary role is to advise the bureau chief and the agency on broadband issues related to public safety and homeland security. She and her colleagues meet with stakeholders, including public safety officials, industry, and other government officials in order to meet the goal of ensuring that public safety and homeland security organizations have a resilient, reliable broadband communications network.

"The skills I learned at UAlbany, and the academic experiences I had laid the groundwork for me to engage in critical thinking and analytical reasoning necessary for this position," said Manner, who majored in political science at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy. She also studied theatre arts.

Rockefeller College Dean Jeffrey D. Straussman said, "Jennifer Manner's career is a wonderful example of how our UAlbany students build the knowledge and skills they first learned at the University to have an impact on public policy."

Prior to taking the new post, Manner was a principal at ZComm Strategies, LLC, where she advised telecommunications companies on regulatory policy issues. Before that, she was Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at SkyTerra Communications.

For a UAlbany graduate to go all the way to the Obama Administration "shows how important a good education is and demonstrates the value of a SUNYA education," Manner said.

A proponent of mentoring in professional life, Manner initiated an alumni mentoring program for UAlbany's Washington Semester intern students in 2007 in order to help students familiarize themselves with living and working in the nation's capital.

Manner grew up in Westchester County, and later lived in NYC and Washington, D.C.

After graduating from UAlbany, Manner earned her law degree cum laude from New York Law School, and later graduated with distinction from Georgetown University's master of law degree program in international and comparative law.

University of Albany Women's Tennis Program Conducts Fall Semester Tryouts - UAlbany Sports 2009

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. - The University at Albany tennis team will hold tryouts on September 2-3, and September 8, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. on all three days.

Those individuals expressing interest must complete and bring (1) complete NCAA compliance paperwork and (2) written documentation of an updated physical done by a physician at home, which states they are cleared to participate in athletic activities. Individuals who do not provide both pieces of paperwork before the start of the morning session will not be able to participate in the tryouts. The link for the NCAA compliance form can be found by clicking on the following link:

All individuals participating in tryouts must be registered with the NCAA Clearinghouse.

For more information, contact head coach Elissa Kinard by email:, or by phone: 518-442-3048.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

University of Albany Alum Thomson, Queener & Levine Help Toronto Nationals To 1st Major League Lacrosse Championship - UAlbany Sports 2009

After one of the most exciting championship weekends in MLL history, the Toronto Nationals made history of their own by winning their first ever MLL Championship by a score of 10-9 over the top ranked Denver Outlaws in a thrilling performance at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis this afternoon. With just 45 seconds remaining in the game, Toronto’s Shawn Williams scored his second straight goal to win it for the Nationals.

Other than Denver’s early four-goal streak, the game remained a back and forth battle between the top two teams in the league. Earning the Bud Light Playoff MVP was Toronto’s Merrick Thomson, who over the weekend helped seal the Nationals’ fate by scoring six goals in two games.

The first quarter showed promise for another exciting one as the score remained close at 2-1 in Toronto’s favor. To start things off, the Nationals got on the board in less than one minute with a goal from long stick Nick O’Hara. Next, Josh Sims of the Outlaws kept his streak alive after a four-goal performance yesterday by putting up Denver’s first mark of the championship game when he carried the ball from the midfield and fired one in over goalie Doc Schneider’s head. The next play served as one of the most exciting plays of the weekend as Canadian All-Star John Grant Jr. carried the ball around the crease and got around defender Brett Hughes with a behind the back shot that went top corner for the lead.

Both defensive systems came out on fire with attitudes to match as Toronto picked up 11 ground balls and Denver got 9 in the first quarter alone. Shane Walterhoefer, who was an all-star face-off specialist in college, also made his mark today winning 14-of-22 face-off attempts against Toronto’s Geoff Snider.

An uneventful first few minutes of the second quarter ended when Toronto’s Jeff Zwicki got on the board with Toronto’s third goal of the game. Then, after a clear from Denver goalie Jesse Schwartzman, who finished with 14 saves, rookie midfielder Max Seibald saw Matt Brown in front of the net for a goal with 8:42 remaining in the half. And it was only a matter of time before Brendan Mundorf got on a hot streak beginning with a crease goal off a pass from Drew Westervelt to tie it up 3-3. Mundorf followed his first goal with an assist to Brian Langtry from behind the net for a Denver behind-the-back powerplay goal before he scored his third point in just over two minutes to make it 5-3. Toronto’s Zwicki rounded out the first half scoring with a goal to make it 5-4 before the buzzer sounded.

After the break, Toronto Nationals goalie Brett Queener made his first appearance of the weekend in front of a roaring crowd after breaking his right hand during warm-ups at yesterday’s semifinal game. Queener, who is known for his passionate play and his memorable performance at this year’s MLL All-Star freestyle competition, leads the league in save percentage. Stepping in for rookie Schneider, who ended with 12 saves, Queener finished out the game with 11.

Thomson opened up the second half with his first goal of the day before Jeff Sonke took the Outlaws back into the lead, caitching a pass from Mundorf to make it 6-5. Then, Denver’s Mike Ward got on the board off an assist from Matt Bocklett to go ahead by two for the second time today. But the scoring streak would end there as Zwicki scored for a hat trick before Thomson got a goal on a powerplay to tie the game for the fourth time. Four minutes later, Mundorf scored his fifth point of the day to bring the Outlaws into the lead by one.

Despite coming out after tweaking his knee in the first half, Toronto’s John Grant Jr. came back in the game to score the first goal of the final period just 36 seconds into play to even it up at 8-8. But, Denver went ahead yet again with a second goal from Sims before Toronto got a mark from Shawn Williams to tie it at 9-9 with 4:30 left to play.

A grueling final few minutes saw both teams scrambling to get ahead when it mattered most. Then, with just 45 seconds left to play, Williams struck again off of an assist from Walters to finish off the Outlaws and win it 10-9.

By Morgan Kelly

Toronoto Nationals In Major League Lacrosse Championship Game Today @1pm On ESPN2

Neither rain nor lightning could stop the Toronto Nationals from clinching a spot in the MLL Championship game. After a five goal scoring streak that sent the Lizards past the Nationals early on, the league’s newest team defeated the Long Island Lizards 14-13 to advance to the Championships where they will face the Denver Outlaws tomorrow at 1:00 P.M.

Lizard midfielder Stephen Berger opened things up, scoring off of an assist from Matt Danowski at 2:31 into play. Toronto then answered with two goals beginning with one by the player of the game, Joe Walters, that went in and out of the goal behind Long Island goalie Brian Dougherty before Delby Powless got on the board to make it 2-1. Following the Toronto lead, the Nationals went on a five-goal run.

After another mark by Berger, a settled Lizard attack was finally able to convert a powerplay goal with 3:28 left in the first as Stephen Peyser netted one to get back in the lead 3-2. Chris Fiore scored next off an assist from Berger to close out the quarter.

Face-offs went entirely in Toronto’s favor in the first quarter as Geoff Snider won all of his three attempts to keep possession. Despite the wins, Toronto’s numerous penalties gave Long Island’s offense the advantage as they scored three of their four goals in the quarter on powerplays to push past the Nationals 4-2 before the quarter was through. The face-offs could have ultimately been the deciding factor as Snider went 17-for-30 at the X, while Long Island’s Pete Vlahakis won 13.

Long Island’s Sean Lindsey opened up the second quarter scoring an unassisted goal before Tim Goettelmann got on the board with a pass from Blake Miller to make it 6-2. Before long, Toronto defenseman Brodie Merrill scored on an unassisted play to make it 6-3 with just over two minutes left in the half. #22 goal at 14:01 in the second to make it 5-2. Lindsey then scored again for Long Island after he took his man one on one from the top weaving in and out before shooting on Doc Schneider from close range to put the Lizards up by four. Schneider, who usually splits time with Brett Queener, played the whole game stopping seven shots.

Toronto rookie Brad Ross took it upon himself to try and close the scoring gap when he caught a pass from Powless for a two-point sniper.Then, Merrick Thomson notched an unassisted mark as he pummeled through the Long Island defense, diving for a goal to bring the Nationals within one point 7-6.

With 1:37 left in the half, Matt Zash came down the field, hurling himself and the ball into the goal for a point. Seconds later, Keith Cromwell clinched another unassisted mark for the Lizards to make it 9-6 at the break.

Before a storm delay held off the game for just over 30 minutes, the Nationals and the Lizards played an even quarter, scoring two goals apiece. Danowski got on the board with the first goal of the half before Snider and Thomson each scored a goal for Toronto. Just as the weather worsened, Berger scored for the Lizards to make it 11-8.

Coming out of the delay in the pouring down rain, the Nationals wouldn’t let Hurricane Bill stop them from making it to the championships. With just over three minutes left in the third quarter, Merrick Thomson came in for a shot off a pass from Powless to make it 11-9. Long Island’s Peyser answered seconds later to regain the three-point lead to finish out the quarter.

As the Long Island defense attacked the Nationals’ offense like a swarm of bees, Toronto’s Walters, who ended with a hat trick, made a statement, opening the fourth quarter with two back-to-back goals before Jeff Zwicki got on the board off of an assist by Brodie Merrill to tie things up at 12-12. Shawn Williams then got a goal with over seven minutes left to play to move ahead to 13-12 over the Lizards.

Danowski came around the crease with under four minutes to play for an underhand goal that tied it up yet again at 13-13. As the rain poured, the lightening held out as the nail-biting contest continued with another Toronto goal from Thomson who scored off of a deflected save from Dougherty’s stick to seal the deal for the Nationals, making the score 14-13. Despite Dougherty’s 13 saves, the Lizards weren’t able to get past the Nationals for the win.

By Morgan Kelly

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Former University of Albany All-American Merrick Thomson Named to All-Major League Lacrosse Team - UAlbany Sports 2009

Annapolis, Md. - Former University at Albany star Merrick Thomson has been selected to the All-Major League Lacrosse team for the second consecutive year. Thomson leads his Toronto Nationals against the Long Island Lizard in Saturday's MLL championship semifinal round, played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

Thomson, who finished second to Boston's Paul Rabil in voting for MLL Player of the Year, leads the league in scoring with 44 goals, tying the sixth-best total in MLL history. In 2009, Thomson had two game-winning goals and a sparkling .500 shooting percentage. He was awarded Bud Light Player of the Game three times and twice was the MLL Offensive Player of the Week. As a professional, Thomson has 95 goals and 112 points. He was a unanimous selection to the All-MLL squad.

Thomson, who was voted 2008 Warrior Most Improved Player of the Year, has made two consecutive MLL All-Star appearances. He earned USILA third-team All-America recognition as a senior collegian when UAlbany won the America East Conference championship and advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals. A native of Stoney Creek, Ontario, Thomson is the school's all-time leader in goals (188) and points (244).

The Toronto-Long Island semifinal will air live on Canada's TSN2, beginning at 3:00 p.m. (also airs in Capital Region on Time Warner Cable, TW3). In addition to Thomson, the Toronto roster also features three other UAlbany standouts in goalkeeper Brett Queener, midfielder Jordan Levine and attackman Corey Small.

On the opposite side of the field, UAlbany Alum Frank Resetarits faces his old teammates.

Denver, the No. 1 seed, and Boston, will battle in Saturday's first semifinal at 12 noon, a contest to be televised on ESPN2. The semifinal winners will meet for the Major League Lacrosse championship on Sunday at 1:00 p.m., also shown on ESPN2.

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Major League Lacrosse's Toronto Nationals, Stock Full Of University of Albany Lacrosse Alum, Head Into Playoffs Today - UAlbany Sports 2009

Although the Toronto Nationals may reside north of the border, the team has taken this nation by storm. In their inaugural season, the Nationals have notched a 7-5 record, clinched a spot in the playoffs, and have taken down the number one team in the league. From boasting the league’s leading goal scorer to housing a Thriller goalie between the pipes, the Nationals have become increasingly popular, making headlines all season long.

Obtaining 10 players from last year’s MLL Championship team, the Rochester Rattlers, Toronto hoped to start its first season with a win. The team’s powerhouse of attackers consisted of Merrick Thomson, Joe Walters, Jeff Zywicki, and Colin Doyle. Newly acquired Geoff Snider assumed his position at the X. The defensive core was to be lead by none other than Brodie Merrill, who has been named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year for the past three years. Flanking Merrill on defense was New Jersey Pride’s Joe Cinosky and former Duke Blue Devil, Nick O’Hara. On paper, the team was stacked—full of raw talent and sheer athleticism. But how would this fledgling Canadian team fare against some of the veteran teams in the league? Let’s take a quick look back…

Season Recap:

Off to a Hot Start
“Explosive, temperamental, and hilarious.”

These are three adjectives that face-off specialist Geoff Snider used to describe his team at the beginning of the season. If Toronto’s penalty minutes are any reflection of the first two traits, then Snider hit the nail on the head. The Nationals currently lead the league in penalty minutes, with 69.5, and have led for a majority of the season. However, this attitude also fueled an incredibly hot start to the Nationals’ season, establishing them as one of the league’s teams to beat.

In the first two games of the season, the Nationals won their first game in franchise history as well as their home opener. Thomson, who netted a career high seven goals in the first and tallied three goals and an assist in the second, earned back-to-back Bud Light MVP honors for his performances. It was clear from the start who Toronto’s leading man would be. His initial supporting cast on attack included Zywicki, Walters, Doyle, as well as defender Brodie Merrill. In the net, former championship goalie for the Rattlers, Brett Queener, had an outstanding opening night against Washington, only letting in six of 19 shots. From the beginning, these players set out to prove that the Nationals were going to be a force to be reckoned with, and it appeared as though a winning streak was in the making.

The streak was short-lived, however, as the Lizards handed Toronto its first loss. The Nationals added newly acquired rookie Sid Smith to their defensive lineup for this game. On attack, Walters, Doyle, Stephen Hoar, and Delby Powless led the charge for the Nationals. Unfortunately, it was not enough to overcome Long Island’s newest weapon, Zack Greer. Despite this 13-9 loss, the Nationals remained undaunted and only looked ahead.
Regaining composure, the Nationals entered rounds two and three with the Bayhawks. Walters earned game MVP honors by netting five goals in the nail-biting, round two match-up. With this win, the Nationals regained momentum and got their confidence back. Advancing to 3-1, Toronto was at the top of league standings alongside the Denver Outlaws. Next on the to-do list? Sweep the Bayhawks.

The Nationals returned home to host the Bayhawks for round three and for some light housekeeping. Was it Walters’ two two-pointers, Thomson and Zywicki’s combined five goals, or Merrill’s two goals and 10 ground balls? Regardless, the Bayhawks could not keep up. Toronto dictated the pace the entire game, eventually handing Washington a 19-12 loss. New to the mix that week was recently acquired goalie, Doc Schneider. Fresh from the MLL Draft, Doc delivered a stunning 11 saves on 15 shots. Making it look easy, the Nationals advanced to 4-1 and were headed to Denver to duke it out for the top spot.

Rocky Road Ahead
After a sizzling start, the Nationals looked to keep on rolling. However, in what was supposed to be one of the top games of the season, the Outlaws jumped to an early lead over Toronto and never looked back. Despite a combined 20-save performance from Docand Queener, the Nationals could not tame the Outlaws’ assault on the cage. In their first head-to-head battle with the other top team in the league, the Nationals failed to get a rhythm going, and it came back to bite them in the end. It was time to regroup, rebound, and head to Beantown to take on the Cannons.

Although the score may not reflect it, the game against Boston was much closer than the scoreboard read. Snider led the charge with four goals, including a two-pointer, and defender Brodie Merrill held Boston’s Paul Rabil to a mere two goals and an assist for the entire game. Despite such performances, Toronto fell short for the second week in a row. With Denver next on the schedule, Toronto needed to rethink its game plan.

The score was closer this time around, but the Outlaws still managed to edge out Toronto 20-16. Rookie Corey Small was activated that week and suited up for his MLL debut against Denver. Thomson was back in full force, putting up five goals and one assist, and at his side were Walters, Powless, and Doyle, who combined for 10 points. Toronto had the firepower, just not enough hits to overcome the Outlaws. With an overall record of 4-4, the Nationals wearily looked ahead to their July 4th game against the Machine.

In a high intensity, high-scoring contest, the Nationals lost their fourth straight game. Despite seven goals from Thomson, six points from Doyle, five points from Walters, and multi-point games from several others, the Leveille brothers, who combined for 16 points, could not be contained. In a heartbreaker, the Machine walked away with the win.

Now at 4-5, the Nationals had everyone wondering, what happened to Toronto?

“We started out 4-1 after five games and we were feeling pretty good about ourselves, maybe a little too good,” comments Toronto attacker Joe Walters. “We hit rock bottom after losing the next four in a row. At that point I think the coaching staff did a great job figuring out who we were as a team and placing people in the right positions to give our team the best chance to win.”

“The biggest thing was figuring out how to play with each other and what everyone’s roles would be,” adds Toronto Head Coach Dave Huntley. “I think we know that now.”

And the outcome…?

Back in the Saddle Again
Looking for redemption and for a chance to get their season back on track, the Nationals traveled to Long Island. New to the lineup this week was rookie defender Brad Ross. From the starting whistle, the Lizards didn’t even know what hit them. Doc and Queener combined for 15 saves on 23 shots, Snider went 21-31 at the X, and the usual suspects were firing on all cylinders on attack. With 10 different players scoring against the Lizards, Toronto had a field day at Shuart Stadium, routing the Lizards 19-9. Next stop? Back home to Toronto to host the Cannons. And this time, playoffs were on the line.

In week 11, the Nationals not only beat the Cannons, but they secured their spot in the playoffs. Game MVP Thomson led the attack with five goals and three assists. This time, his supporting cast added some fresh talent. While Walters and Zywicki scored four points apiece, Powless, Shawn Williams,and Gavin Prout each had three. Rookie defender, Brad Ross also netted two goals. With every single player delivering on the field, the Nationals fought to the end, when Walters netted the game winner in OT. Back on track, Toronto had now reached the climax of their regular season: the final showdown against Denver.

The Toronto Nationals made a strong bid in the campaign for the post-season Steinfeld Cup by dominating the Denver Outlaws in week 13. After months of watching from the sideline due to injury, lacrosse prodigy John Grant Jr. took the field, and he took it by storm. The game MVP notched five goals in his first game back, complementing Thomson’s four goals and one assist quite nicely.

“They are both great players who don't miss when their hands are free,” says Huntley. “I think our other guys did a great job of getting them the ball in good spots.”

Leading from the first quarter, Toronto shifted into overdrive and never looked back. At the end of regulation, the Nationals had dethroned the Outlaws 16-10.

“We all agreed to just play the game of lacrosse the way we know how to, and the outcome has been pretty amazing,” says Walters. “We are playing well at both ends, and now we have two more games to win to go 5-0 like we talked about.”

Coach Huntley adds, “We were solid in all areas of the game. In order to compete with a balanced team like Denver you can't have any weak links, and we were pretty strong in all aspects.”

One aspect that deserves recognition is the fact that 12 of Toronto’s 16 goals were assisted—by seven different players. The Nationals have been successful when they stick to the selfless style of team attack that they do best and don’t fall into a selfish style of play. It clearly paid off in this game.

“Toronto Nationals lacrosse is not a one-on-one style,” admits Walters. “We are best when we move the ball, find the open man, and make that extra pass for easy shots close to the goal. Personally, I have tried using my athleticism to draw slides and move the ball, creating offense for our team. I am much more proud of my assist total this year than my goals.”

Spoken like a true team player, Walters leads the team in assists for the season with 17 thus far. The Nationals lead the league in assists with 110 total; the second closest team, Boston, only records 82. In addition to team attack, Toronto’s game has changed for the better in other ways as well.

Keys to Success

Focus and Finish
These are two things that Coach Huntley mentioned back in week eight when Toronto lost to the Machine. Since then, the Nationals have not lost a game. Looking at the box scores and stats on Point Streak, it is clear that the Nationals have remedied their problem with finishing. Toronto also currently leads the league in goals, with 184. So, could focus have been the missing link?

“We became more and more used to playing together and focused on doing the little things right,” says standout goalie Doc Schneider. “Also, Coach Huntley talked about focus and trust. We really trust each other out there now, and have been focusing on doing the little things in a game that makes or breaks a team.”

It seems that many of the players would agree with Doc on this point. Interestingly, when asked for three new words to describe the Nationals as a team now, Snider states, “Focused, motivated, hilarious.” With playoffs on the line, the Nationals quickly turned their season around and finished on a winning streak. Championship Weekend was all the motivation they needed. The focus and trust, however, came from the coaches and, most importantly, from each other.

Great Players, Better Chemistry
When given the opportunity to brag about his own personal play this season, Doc humbly refrains and replies, “Guys like Geoff Snider and Brodie Merrill are players that you can’t find all over the league—a face off guy [Snider] that is excellent at what he does but has over 20 points and is not a liability on defense, and a long pole [Merrill] who is the best cover guy and creates more offense then any defensive player in the league by far. I feel we have a great attack and defensive unit, but these special types of players are really big game changers.”

In addition to Merrill’s physical presence all over the field, he is also a steadfast leader. Thomson recently commented that Merrill was one of the best leaders that he has ever encountered. Is it his playing style? His dedication? His personality? Perhaps a little of each.

“I just try and lead by example and help support my teammates,” says Merrill. “It’s not something you are really conscious of. We have a great group of guys on the team, so it is an easy environment to lead; everyone is on the same page.”

Although these are just two examples, the Nationals are far from modest when talking about each and every one of their teammates. With such admiration and respect for each other as players, it’s no wonder why the Nationals are doing so well. Lacrosse is a team sport, and a team is only as strong as its weakest link. The Nationals have worked together the second half of the season to ensure that there are no weak or missing links, and that the team is striving for a common goal—the Steinfeld Cup.

The Road To Annapolis:
With the top four teams in the league heading to Naptown, fans are guaranteed an electrifying weekend full of hard hits and high scores. And with just two games in two days, the Cup is anyone’s for the taking. Is Toronto up to the challenge?

Looking ahead to next weekend, Merrill comments, “I think it was important for us to experience the highs and lows. I think we will be a little more prepared to handle adversity because of the nature of our season.”

For many of Toronto’s players, this will not be their first trip to Championship Weekend; however, for the Nationals as a team, it is a first. Rookie Doc Schneider is very excited to play in Navy’s stadium.

“I am very excited for Championship Weekend. The idea of winning a championship at this level is all the motivation I need,” Schneider adds.

In the battle for the championship, the team hopes to grow further as a cohesive group and come together for an intense weekend. “Our goal is to play well as a team and as individuals on every shift,” remarks Huntley. “If we do that, winning will take care of itself.”

Aside from the main objective to win the MLL title, the team also talks personal goals. Each player has high hopes and even higher standards when it comes to individual play.

“My personal goals for the weekend are to continue to play my role, lead, get our offense the ball, and do whatever it takes to win,” lists Snider.

Aiming even higher, Walters adds, “I want to win back-to-back titles. Last season I was fortunate enough to have a good weekend. I will do everything I can to duplicate that effort and help our team in any way to hoist the Cup on Sunday.”

But to get to Sunday, the Nationals must get through the Long Island Lizards on Saturday.

The One-Two Punch
Of the four teams, Toronto and Long Island are the only two to win their last regular season game. The history between the two includes a split series, lots of goals, and several hard hits; Saturday’s match-up should be no different. Looking to keep their season alive, the Nationals welcome the challenge.

“We are definitely prepared to take on Long Island,” states a confident Walters. “We have a great group of guys and keep getting better every game. Long Island has a very tough defense and the best goalie in the league. We know what we are up against and look forward to the challenge.”

In the other semifinal game on Saturday, the fourth-seeded Boston Cannons take on the top seed, the Denver Outlaws. Many expect to see Denver in the finals. However, given the format of the weekend, anything is possible.

“Much like the NCAA Tournament, you kind of have to expect the unexpected,” admits Merrill.

A quick turnaround, with two games in two days, levels the playing field. With less than 24 hours of rest, two teams will meet on Sunday to battle for the Steinfeld Cup. With typically one game each week, none of the MLL teams encounters such a turnaround during the season, so it may be tiring for some. However, many of the Nationals also play in Canada’s Major Series Lacrosse, which shares a season with the MLL. With MSL playoffs coming to a close this week, players have played back-to-back games during their two-week respite with the MLL. This may be the factor that gives Toronto the edge in Annapolis.

“Championship Weekend will come down to endurance,” says Snider. “The majority of our team is playing summer indoor lacrosse as well. We are all in incredible shape. I think the format for the weekend caters to our athleticism.”
With such a strong, close-knit team, the Nationals likely will go far next weekend. Fans will see the formidable tandem of Thomson and Grant Jr. running circles around their defenders while Merrill commands his defensive unit on the other end; and Schneider and Queener will deliver great saves as they always do. One thing is for sure though: regardless of the weekend’s outcome, the Nationals will play their game and leave it all on the field. Coach Huntley said it best when he spoke of his team regarding Championship Weekend:

“I expect everyone who suits up to be a standout player for us.”

By Lindsay Gaesser

Friday, August 21, 2009

University of Albany FCS Football All-American Plans On Career In U.S. Marine Corps - UAlbany Sports 2009

ALBANY — David McCarty, First Team All-American.

David McCarty, United States Marine.

“I’d love to be both,” University at Albany’s battering ram running back said at the Great Danes’ Media Day earlier this week.

If it’s a choice of one?

“No contest,” the former La Salle Institute two-way star said. “Being in the military is something I’ve wanted to do all my life. I’m a big history buff and a big military buff and I’ve been anxious to serve my country ever since 9/11.”

First, though, is the 2009 season.

McCarty is among 14 starters back from last season’s team that won all seven Northeast Conference games, went 9-3 overall and routed Jacksonville (28-0) in the Gridiron Classic.

McCarty rushed for a school-record 1,852 yards and 13 touchdowns and set another mark with 2,208 all-purpose yards. His 357 carries was four short of a 30-carry per game average. His rushing total breaks down to 154.3 yards per contest. He was second on the team in receiving with 27 catches for 356 yards and four TDs.

“Just an amazing season,” UAlbany coach Bob Ford said.

McCarty’s humility always precedes him.

He capped off his standout junior season with one of the best individual performances of the college football season — all divisions. He carried the ball 33 times for 271 yards and scored all four touchdowns on runs of 16, 1, 3 and 77 yards in the Gridiron Classic.

His reaction?

“It just felt good to make a contribution to my team’s victory,” he said.

Ford says McCarty “has been an interesting commodity at UAlbany.

“When we recruited him, he was a 167-pound, two-time runner-up in the state wrestling title,” Ford said. “He was just a real good high school back with great determination, average speed, good balance, great vision.

“Now he’s a 217-pounder with those same qualities,” Ford added. “Still above average speed, but not blazing speed. But a very, very tough kid. He’s a horse by coach’s terminology. He gets better as the game goes along, he has great endurance. So, he’s been a pleasure to have here.”

The Great Danes are a unanimous choice of Northeast Conference coaches to win the league championship again this season. That puts pressure on the team to win and McCarty knows much of that pressure is squarely on his shoulders.

“It is,” he said. “Because I take winning very seriously. I’ve been raised to be a very competitive person. When we lose, it sucks. When I lose, it sucks. I get down on myself (but) I try to figure out what we have to do to come back and win. Since I was a little kid, I’ve always been competitive. Playing anything. I just hate losing. I don’t take it very well. So, I do take winning this season, I do put it on my shoulders.”

McCarty is one of the Great Danes’ four captains; a quiet one.

“I’m not one to start yelling at kids to step it up,” he said. “I take in myself to do it (be example) and (expect) it of the other captains. They know what they have to do. I liked seeing my teammates picking me as a leader. That’s more of an honor to me to be a captain on this football team that any record, or any other award. These are my peers, my family, my friends. I’m more excited about that than anything else.”

McCarty doesn’t like talking about individual achievements, doesn’t think much about them. And he doesn’t have any numerical goals for his final collegiate season.

Has anyone mentioned “2000 yards” to him, he was asked.

“When I got interviewed by channel 9 or channel 23, they said, ‘is 2,000 in view?’ I told them the same thing I tell everybody:

“I don’t care about numbers,” he said. “I really don’t, as long as win and we get another ring, I couldn’t care less. I could get 200 yards in all 11 games, I don’t care. I just want to win.”

McCarty, a three-time All-American wrestler at La Salle Institute, was a Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly 1-AA) Third Team All-American last season.

Would he like to hear “First Team” this season.

“It’s always a good thing,” he said. “But as I said, it really doesn’t matter. I just want to win football games.”

In recent pictures, McCarty looks as much like a body-builder as a football player. How much bigger is he?

“Last year at this time, I was right around 200 (pounds),” he said. “Right now, I’m about 215 (217, Ford says). This summer I had an opportunity to work out every day and run every day, so I’ve been training pretty hard. I didn’t stop after the season ended. I was still lifting, still working out. All spring, same thing. It’s been a non-stop thing.”

Will his mobility be affected by the ripped upper body, some might ask, if he had to make an open-field tackle on an interception, or on a difficult pass reception.

“Not at all, not at all,” he laughed. “Am I gonna fall over, is that what you’re asking? I’ll be fine.”

McCarty has good speed for a college football running back. That kind of speed, despite his great balance and strength, means he’d likely be just a special teams player for a National Football League team. He could possibly be asked to carry the ball for a Canadian Football League team, which could delay his trip to Parris Island, S.C. — where the Marine Recruit Depot is located.

“If it comes down to it, yeah. I know times are hard right now, the economy is the lowest it’s ever been. When I graduate, that’s going to have to be one of the main concerns; am I going to be able to provide for a family down the road. If the money’s there, I’m going to take it. Nobody’s going to turn down money. We’ll see.”

That said, McCarty says it’s about “90 percent sure I’m going into the Marines. It’s not set in stone but that’s something I’ve always wanted.”

McCarty will leave as the Great Danes best offensive player ever.

He wouldn’t word it that way, though.

“My main goal when I first came in here was to put UAlbany on the map athletically and I think by the end of this season, hopefully, I’ve done that.”

By Ed Weaver
The Record

Defending Champion University of Albany Field Hockey Chosen Third in America East Preseason Coaches' Poll - UAlbany Sports 2009

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Cambridge, Mass. - Defending conference champion University at Albany has been chosen third in the 2009 America East Conference Field Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll, as announced by the league office on Thursday afternoon. New Hampshire, which last won the conference championship in 1998, garnered three of a possible five first-place votes and a total of 23 points to earn top billing in the poll.

Boston University had one first-place vote and totaled 20 points to finish second, while UAlbany garnered the final two first-place votes for 18 points. Maine (15 points), Vermont (nine points) and Fairfield (five points) rounded out the six-team ranking.

The Great Danes return seven starters from a team that claimed the program's first-ever America East title and NCAA Tournament berth last season. Senior midfielder Nicole Savage, a two-time all-conference selection, returns as the team's top scorer after tallying nine goals and two assists last season. Senior defender Jess Lindsey has already worked her way to the top of the UAlbany career assists chart, entering her final season with 39 helpers over the past three years. The Great Danes also return a strong corps of juniors and sophomores, led by all-rookie team member Christina Patrick, along with seven freshmen.

The top four teams during the regular season will compete at the 2009 America East Conference Field Hockey Championship on either November 6-8. The top seed will host the tournament, with the winner earning an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

2009 America East Conference Field Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. New Hampshire (3) 23 points; 2. Boston U. (1) 20 points; 3. UAlbany (2) 18 points; 4. Maine 15 points; 5. Vermont 9 points; 6. Fairfield 5 points. () - first-place votes

New York Giants Coach Tom Coughlin Helps Prepare University of Albany FCS Football For NEC Title Defense - UAlbany Sports 2009

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. - New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin spoke to the University at Albany football team following the Great Danes' morning practice on Wednesday, Aug. 19. Coughlin, who coached the Giants to the 2008 NFC East crown and the previous year's Super Bowl championship, addressed the UAlbany squad as they prepare to defend back-to-back Northeast Conference titles.

UAlbany will scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 22 during the morning practice session to conclude the second week of preseason camp. The Great Danes have 14 starters returning from a team that also won the Gridiron Classic against Pioneer Football League champion Jacksonville. The New York Giants end their record-setting 14th summer training at UAlbany on Aug. 25.

Transcript from Giants Coach Tom Coughlin's Speech to UAlbany Football Team
"The first thing I want to say to you today is a year ago when we were practicing we had a young man named Aaron Ross. His fiancée is Sonya Richards. Some of you may not know who Sonya Richards is. She was the gal who was supposed to win the gold medal in the 400 (meter dash) a year ago (in the OIympics). She did not win it. She was third. She got out to a heckuva of a start and then did not win the thing. You cannot imagine what the world press did to her. They just pounded her butt unbelievably.

"Yesterday, I pick up the paper in the morning and read that Sonya Richards goes to the World Games in Berlin, and she wins the gold medal. She is the world champion in the 400-meter dash, and she runs it in 49 (seconds) flat.

"What does that mean to any of us? We know our game and we know our business. Perseverance is huge. This gal demonstrated that she is a great example for all of us. You don't let other people tell you who you are. You believe in yourselves, you believe in each other, you fight for each other, you demand for each other and make sure that you are all on the same page. This is what our great game is all about.

"You guys are two-time conference champions and a bowl champion ... so I should have you speak to us (the Giants). But let me just say this to you. Two years ago when we won the world championship and the ink was not even dry, what do you think the media wanted to know? ‘Coach, what are you going to do with your team? Are you going to be satisfied? Are they going to be fat catish? They aren't going to be preparing themselves. It's going to be a short offseason program...'

"Well, you know what we did about that. We held that up in front of ourselves and we challenged ourselves to be better than we had been the year before. We went out and we were 11-1 right out of the starting gate. We were 11-1. Now we didn't finish as well, and I'll argue with anybody about the quality of our team at the end of the year, but that's not the point. The point of the matter is, yeah, you have to set high goals and, yes, you have to deny the fact that you are satisfied. You are never satisfied in this business. You've got to finish.

"The great John Wooden says what you did yesterday does not necessarily mean that is going to take place today unless you apply the principles, the values and the great work ethic which you have here, and I have watched you work. Unless you apply those principles, it doesn't mean that you are going to be able to be successful again. Every year is a new year. Every team is a new team. The fiber of that team is the most important thing, and that's what you are putting together right now.

"(Army Lieutenant Colonel) Greg Gadson spoke to our team the other day. Greg lost his legs in Iraq, and he has been a great, great friend of the New York Giants. I have told you his story before. I asked him to speak to the team the other day because he and I were having a conversation about focus and concentration. I have spent a lifetime trying to learn how to make people focus better and concentrate better.

"It's interesting how there is a parallel in terms of the military and our game. The military goes to what might as well be a training camp before they deploy for 30 days as they train and get ready to be deployed. So it's a lot like our game. There are stages in that game as well.

"I was in Iraq this summer, and I will tell you one thing which I also sent out to our players in bold letters. When you think you've got it tough... It was 125 degrees in Iraq. I went to Mosul, which is a hot spot, believe me ... 125 degrees and soldiers with full battle armor. Sixty pounds of battle armor, helmets, the whole bit, and the attitudes were incredible. The attitudes were as positive as you could possibly imagine under those circumstances, and I think that sets a great example for all of us.

"I ran into a guy who was a sergeant major over there and was a part of the group that captured Saddam Hussein. He gave me a medal. They call them coins over there, but it had the warrior ethos on it.

"The number one thing is the mission ... the mission. If every guy is on the same page, if every guy believes in what we're doing, and if every guy hangs in there together and fights their way through the tough times ... and you're going to have them ... you can accomplish that and be very proud of the group that you have.

"So I wish you guys luck with your season. Keep working hard and Coach (Bob) Ford, congratulations on this group of guys and good luck to you."

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