Thursday, October 30, 2014

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

Courtesy: UA Sports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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