Thursday, November 11, 2010

#15 UAlbany Set to Play #7 Ohio State in NCAA Division I Field Hockey Tournament

Albany, N.Y. - University at Albany will travel to State College, Pa. to take on 7th-ranked Ohio State in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Division I Field Hockey Tournament, as announced by the NCAA on Tuesday evening. The Great Danes, who are currently ranked 15th nationally, punched their ticket to the tournament with a 2-1 win over Rider on Tuesday afternoon in a play-in game.

Ohio State enters tournament play with a 16-4 overall record. The Buckeyes fell to Michigan, 2-1, in the Big Ten Championship, ending a ten-game win streak. Ohio State, who shared the Big Ten regular-season title with the Wolverines, is led this season by midfielder and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Aisling Coyle, who scored 22 goals and added six assists. Forward Paula Pastor-Pitarque was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year after recording seven goals and seven assists on the season. Pastor-Pitarque was the second consecutive Buckeye to win the league's top rookie award, following Berta Queralt, who was a 2009 All-American and currently leads the Big 10 with a Ohio State single-season record 26 assists.

"Ohio State is a very good program," said UAlbany head coach Phil Sykes, who is leading the Great Danes to their second NCAA Tournament appearance. "We played them four years ago, and we know the coaching staff pretty well. Big Ten field hockey is very physical and fast. We played Michigan earlier this season, and I think that was good preparation for the level of competition in that conference."

UAlbany (16-5) also advanced to the NCAA tournament in 2008, where the Great Danes fell to eventual National Champion Maryland. UAlbany is one win short of the school's all-time single-season record, as the 1997 team won 17 games at the Division II level. The Great Danes, who have won 10 or more games for the fifth consecutive season, is led by forward Christina Patrick. The America East Conference First Team member, who scored the game-winner in Tuesday's victory, is second on the program's single-season Division I goals and points chart with 15 goals and six assists. UAlbany is also paced by the league's rookie of the year and tournament MVP, Corrine McConville, and the conference's goalkeeper of the year, Kristi Troch, who leads the nation with a .822 save percentage.

"We were hoping to stay away from the top three teams in Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia in the first round," offered Sykes. "Ohio State is a physical team, but we are going to go out there to compete."

In the other regional game, host Penn State (14-5) will take on #4 Syracuse (15-4). The 10th-ranked Nittany Lions will play the Orange in the first game of Saturday's regional at 11:30 a.m. UAlbany and Ohio State will follow at 2 p.m. The winners will advance to the second round of regional play to take place on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Top-ranked Maryland will host the tournament's semifinals on November 19 and championship game on November 21 at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex in College Park, Md.

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

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