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.

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.

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