Wednesday, August 29, 2007

UAlbany Football Ranked Third in The Sports Network Preseason FCS Mid-Major Poll

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Philadelphia, Pa. -- UAlbany football is ranked third in The Sports Network’s preseason FCS Mid-Major Top-10 poll as announced on Wednesday, Aug. 29. The Great Danes, who are the coaches’ pick to win this year’s Northeast Conference title, received one first-place vote. San Diego, the winner of two consecutive Sports Network Cups as the top Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA) mid-major program, was the top pick on 15 of 17 ballots. Drake is second in the poll.

The Great Danes, who posted a 7-4 record one year ago, are coming off their best defensive campaign since moving to the Division I FCS level. UAlbany ranked among the top-five nationally in three categories, including points allowed (13.0 pg) and total defense at 240.8 yards per game. All-America linebacker Colin Disch and All-NEC defensive tackle Michael Dungey are among eleven returning starters. Offensive guard Sam Pagano earned All-NEC honors for a unit that averaged more than 190 rushing yards against conference opponents. Placekicker Jason Fralicker booted a school-record 13 field goals and all-league specialist Chris Lynch averaged nearly 39 yards per punt.

The Sports Network FCS Top-10 Mid-Major Poll
Team (First-place votes)
Previous Rank

1. San Diego Toreros (15)

2. Drake Bulldogs

3. Albany Great Danes (1)

4. Monmouth Hawks (1)

5. Duquesne Dukes

6. Central Conn State Blue Devils

7. Robert Morris Colonials

8. Davidson Wildcats

9. Dayton Flyers

10. Jacksonville Dolphins

Others receiving votes (in order of points): Stony Brook 17, Marist 16, Iona 4, Wagner 2.

UALBANY NOTES; Time Warner Cable (TW3) is scheduled to televise three games during the 2007 season ... TW3 will air this Saturday’s contest at Colgate, the home opener on Sept. 15 against Hofstra, and the match-up with conference-rival Sacred Heart as part of Homecoming & Family Weekend on Oct. 13 ... Rodger Wyland and Greg Tobben will handle the play-by-play and color analyst roles, respectively, on the home broadcasts ... Fox Sports Radio AM 980 will again air the entire UAlbany football schedule ... UAlbany and Colgate are meeting for the first time on the gridiron ... Bob Ford is second among active Division I FCS head coach in career victories with 217 ... ILB Colin Disch has been named to The Sports Network FCS Preseason All-America second team ... Disch, who has 346 career tackles, needs nine to become the program’s all-time leader ... DT Michael Dungey, OG Sam Pagano and P Chris Lynch joined Disch on the preseason All-Northeast Conference squad ... The Great Danes have reached the seven-win mark in eight of the last 11 seasons after posting a 7-4 record in 2006.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Athletic Director Lee McElroy Greets UAlbany Student-Athletes At Welcome Back Event

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. -- University at Albany Vice President and Director of Athletics Lee McElroy greeted nearly 425 student-athletes back to campus on the first day of classes at the athletic department’s annual Welcome Back event on Monday, Aug. 27. McElroy reviewed the success of the 2006-07 academic year, when the Great Danes won eight conference championships and sent five teams to NCAA Tournament play, and introduced the head coaches and administrative staff.

Director of the Office of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility Clarence McNeil went over the UAlbany Community Rights & Responsibilities Handbook. He urged all student-athletes to make a commitment to the program for a positive campus and social environment.

“We want to make sure that the student-athletes have an opportunity to immediately bond and meet the coaches and staff they will be working with during their time here,” McElroy said. “We also want them to understand the value of academics, athletic competition, and community responsibility. This is an event where we can have some fun and at the same time lay the groundwork for the upcoming academic year.”

UAlbany sponsors 19 Division I athletic programs, including eight for men and 11 for women. The Great Danes compete in the America East Conference and play football as an associate member of the Northeast Conference.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

UAlbany Volleyball Splits Matches on Second Day of NAU Tournament

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Flagstaff, Ariz. – The University at Albany volleyball team split two matches on the second day of play at the Northern Arizona Tournament. In the first match of the day, against the host Lumberjacks, the Great Danes dropped a 3-1 decision with scores of 27-30, 30-23, 30-27 and 30-26. In UAlbany’s second match versus the University of California-Davis, the Great Danes swept the Aggies, 3-0, with scores of 30-21, 30-27 and 30-23.

In the three-game sweep, UAlbany (1-2) had three players reach double-digit kill totals, led by senior middle blocker Ashley Crenshaw, who added four total blocks in the match en route to being named to the all-tournament team. Freshman outside hitter Amanda Cowdrey added 11 kills and 10 digs for her first collegiate double-double while junior middle blocker Kamisha Kellam recorded 10 kills and a match-high seven blocks.

UC Davis (0-3) was led by Kayla Varney with 12 kills. Avreeta Singh led the Aggies defensively with 13 digs while Carson Lowden tallied a match-high 31 assists.

UAlbany dropped the first match despite a career-high 28 kills from Crenshaw. Crenshaw, who also tied a career-best with six digs, recorded a match-high six total blocks. The Great Danes were led defensively by sophomore outside hitter Kate Eckhardt, who tallied 15 digs, and freshman libero Tawny Dahmes, who added 13 digs.

Northern Arizona (2-0) received a team-best 20 kills from Kim Babcock, who completed a double-double with 14 digs. Emily Osiadacz added 15 kills while Kelly Verboom had a match-high 52 assists. Brittany Stowers tallied a match-best 20 digs.

UAlbany will travel to Buffalo for the Western New York Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 1 and Sunday, Sept. 2.

Northern Arizona def. UAlbany, 3-1 (27-30, 30-23, 30-27, 30-26)

UAlbany def. UC Davis, 3-0 (30-21, 30-27, 30-23)

UAlbany Field Hockey Opens 2007 Season With 2-0 Win Over Appalachian State

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Harrisonburg, Va. – The University at Albany field hockey team opened the 2007 season with a 2-0 win over Appalachian State at James Madison’s Field Hockey/Track & Field Complex. Michelle Simpson and Kristen Holder each scored for the Great Danes.

The game was stopped seven minutes into play and was delayed for almost four hours due to inclement weather, before restarting at 5:30 p.m. The contest suffered another 25-minute delay later on in the game because of storms.

Simpson scored the games first goal, an unassisted tally, at the 22:27 mark of the first half, as she drove into the circle and drove a head on shot from eight yards out. Holder capitalized on an assist from Michele Polizois with 26:52 on the clock. Junior goalkeeper Ashley Ross made one save for the Great Danes.

Denise Adams made eight stops in the cage for Appalachian State (0-1).

UAlbany, which received votes in the STX/NFHCA Division I Preseason Poll, (1-0) will take on James Madison on Sunday, starting at 1 p.m. The Dukes were ranked 11th in the preseason poll.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Saddle Up and Ride with UAlbany

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Here’s your chance to travel with the Great Danes football team as they play at the University of Montana on Saturday, September 22. A charter flight will leave Albany International Airport on Friday morning, September 21 and return to Albany after the game on September 22. The package, which includes the charter flight, ground transportation in Missoula, MT, hotel room and ticket to the game will cost $1,100 per person, or $2,000 per couple. There are a limited number of seats available. Purchase must be made by Friday, September 7.

For more information or to sign up, please contact Matt Roche at (518) 442-3054. Please have the following information available when you call to make your reservations:

Address, phone number, birthdate, weight, and your method of payment for everyone in your traveling party.

UAlbany Men's Basketball Will Participate in O'Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters on Feb. 22-23

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. -- University at Albany Vice President and Director of Athletics Lee McElroy announced on Thursday, Aug. 23 that the men’s basketball has been invited to play in the sixth annual O’Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters series on Feb. 22-23, 2008. The Great Danes, who are participating for the third consecutive year, are among 100 teams selected to the pool. UAlbany, the defending America East Conference champion, is joined in the field by conference members Boston University, Vermont and Binghamton.

“BracketBusters has been a good event for our program and the University,” said UAlbany coach Will Brown, whose team has been involved in a pair of thrilling finishes against Virginia Commonwealth and Boise State the previous two years. “The game has provided great exposure, as our team has been featured on national television twice. It also allows us the opportunity to play a quality opponent that would not normally be on our schedule.”

In its sixth year, BracketBusters is an ESPN television property that provides potential NCAA Tournament-caliber teams a chance to meet in a two-day, 50-game event. A minimum of 12 of the 50 match-ups will be televised nationally, highlighted by a total of six games on ESPN2. An additional five games will be aired on ESPNU – ESPN’s 24-hour collegiate sports network which launched on March 4, 2005 – and one on ESPN Classic.

The match-ups for the BracketBusters series will be determined by ESPN in conjunction with the conference approximately three weeks prior to the event. As part of the agreement, home teams will play a “return” game at the home facility of their BracketBusters series opponent in November or December of the following season. UAlbany has been tabbed as a “road” team for the 2008 event, which will result in a home game versus its selected opponent during the 2008-09 season. The Great Danes have appeared on ESPNU in each of the last two BracketBusters, suffering an 83-82 loss at Boise State last February after falling 70-67 at Virginia Commonwealth in 2006.

In 2006-07, UAlbany reached the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season as the America East Conference champion. Brent Wilson, a third-team all-conference forward, leads a group of seven letterwinners who are back from last year’s 23-10 squad. Brian Lillis, the league’s defensive player of the year, and Jon Iati, one of the program’s all-time leading three-point shooters, also return. This year’s roster includes six newcomers.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

UAlbany Field Hockey Chosen Second in America East Preseason Poll

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Cambridge, Mass. – The University at Albany field hockey team has been picked to finish second in the America East Conference in the 2007 preseason poll, as voted by the conference’s head coaches. Boston University, which earned all five possible first-place votes, was unanimously chosen to finish first for the third-straight year. UAlbany claimed the final first-place vote and 21 points overall to place second in this year’s poll.

Vermont (16 points), Maine (13 points), New Hampshire (10 points) and new associate member Fairfield (5 points) round out the six-team poll.

UAlbany, which claimed a share of last season’s regular season crown, returns the conference’s offensive player of the year from 2006, Michelle Simpson, who finished third in the conference in both points (35) and goals (14). Also returning are A-East first team members Jess Lindsey and Ashley Ross, who both helped anchor a defense which allowed just 1.37 goals per game a year ago. Fourth-year head coach Phil Sykes will also welcome 10 freshmen to the UAlbany squad this season.

The Great Danes start play on Saturday, Aug. 25, at the James Madison Tournament. UAlbany will play Appalachian State on Saturday before facing off against the host Bulldogs on Sunday.

2007 America East Conference Preseason Field Hockey Poll

1. Boston U., (5) 25 points; 2. UAlbany, (1) 21 points; 3. Vermont, 16 points; 4. Maine, 13 points; 5. New Hampshire, 10 points; 6. Fairfield, 5 points.

*First place votes in parentheses ()

Monday, August 20, 2007

UAlbany Volleyball Picked Second in America East Preseason Poll

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Boston, Mass. – The University at Albany volleyball team has been picked to finish second in the America East Conference in the 2007 preseason poll, as voted by the conference’s head coaches. UMBC, which earned four first-place votes, was chosen to finish first. UAlbany, the defending champions, took first in the poll the previous two years. With 34 total points, the Retrievers replaced the Great Danes, who garnered three first-place votes and 30 total points, atop the poll. New Hampshire (23 points), Binghamton (22 points) and Stony Brook (21 points) filled the top five, while Maine (11 points) and Hartford (6 points) rounded out the poll.

UAlbany, which has won three straight regular-season America East titles, defeated UMBC in the conference championship last season, coming back for a dramatic 3-2 victory. Head coach Kelly Sheffield, the 2006 A-East coach of the year, returns all-conference players Ashley Crenshaw and Kamisha Kellam. Crenshaw led the conference in hitting percentage and was in the top ten performers in kills, blocks and points. Kellam led the conference with 1.37 blocks per game a year ago.

The Great Danes start play on Friday, Aug. 24, at the Northern Arizona Tournament. UAlbany will play New Mexico State on Friday before facing off against the host Lumberjacks and UC Davis on Saturday.

2007 America East Conference Preseason Volleyball Poll

1. UMBC, (4) 34 points; 2. UAlbany, (3) 30 points; 3. New Hampshire, 23 points; 4. Binghamton, 22 points; 5. Stony Brook, 21 points; 6. Maine, 11 points; 7. Hartford, 6 points.

*First place votes in parentheses ()

Friday, August 17, 2007

Former UAlbany Basketball Star Jamar Wilson Will Play Professionally in Belgium

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. – Former University at Albany basketball standout Jamar Wilson will play professionally in Europe with Verviers-Pepinster, a first division team in Belgium. Verviers-Pepinster reached the Belgian Cup semifinals the last two seasons.

“I am excited to be able to continue my career as a basketball player,” said Wilson, who led the Great Danes to a pair of America East Conference championships and back-to-back NCAA appearances. “Belgium has a lot to offer, the league is competitive, and it is a good place to start. It’s a bonus to get paid well for something you love to do.”

Wilson, a 6-foot-1 guard from Bronx, N.Y., led the Great Danes in scoring (18.8 ppg), rebounding (6.2 pg) and assists (4.8 pg) as the 2007 America East Conference Player of the Year. He became the fourth athlete in conference history to win consecutive player of the year awards, joining Reggie Lewis (Northeastern), Taylor Coppenrath (Vermont) and Malik Rose (Drexel). He finished his career as the UAlbany program’s all-time scorer with 2,164 points and ranked second in assists (488). Wilson also shattered the single-season scoring mark as senior when he totaled 620 points. He was named to the Associated Press All-America squad as an honorable mention selection for the second straight year.

“I am very happy for Jamar,” UAlbany coach Will Brown commented. “This is a great opportunity to play in one of the better professional leagues in Europe. Verviers-Pepinster made him a priority as he is the first import player they decided to sign. Playing in the first division will allow him to develop as a player and chase his dream of playing the game at the highest level.”

New York Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin Speaks to UAlbany Football Team

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. – New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin addressed the University at Albany football team following the Great Danes’ morning practice on Friday, Aug. 17. Coughlin, a former college head coach at Boston College and Rochester Institute of Technology, has guided the Giants to back-to-back postseason appearances for the first time since 1990.

“We don’t have it that hard, we’re in the greatest situation of our lives,” Coughlin said. “You guys are young, you’re representing a great University, you have a great coach. You have a guy that has been there when it was good and been there when it’s been bad.”

Coughlin continued, “You cannot sit on the fence gentleman. You can’t be there when it’s good and then not be there when it’s going bad. That is not part of the brotherhood. That is not loyalty. That’s not what this game is all about. So as you go forward, stick together gentlemen.”

UAlbany will scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 18 during the 9:00 a.m. practice session to end the second week of preseason camp. The Great Danes, who are favored to win this year’s Northeast Conference title, open their schedule at Colgate on Sept. 1.

The Giants conclude their twelfth summer training camp on the UAlbany campus on Aug. 23.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

UAlbany Football Favored to Win Conference Title; Four Players on Preseason All-NEC Team

Courtesy: UAlbany Athletics

Somerset, N.J. – According to a preseason poll of Northeast Conference head coaches, UAlbany has been established as the favorite to capture the 2007 NEC Football Championship. The Great Danes, who tied for second place in last year’s standings, received three first-place votes. Monmouth, the defending NEC champion, also earned three first-place votes and was picked second in the poll.

This year’s NEC champion will meet the winner of the Pioneer Football League in the second annual Gridiron Classic, an exempted postseason football game that takes place on Saturday, Dec. 1. The PFL champion will host the 2007 event.

“The voting represents a respect for the program, our defensive unit, and a pair of proven kicking specialists,” said UAlbany coach Bob Ford, who has 217 career victories on the collegiate level. “It’s the same story each year, but we need to stay relatively injury-free, reduce penalties, and improve our takeaway margin.”

The Great Danes, who posted a 7-4 record one year ago, are coming off their best defensive campaign since moving to the Division I FCS level. UAlbany ranked among the top-five nationally in three categories, including points allowed (13.0 pg) and total defense at 240.8 yards per game. All-America linebacker Colin Disch and All-NEC defensive tackle Michael Dungey are among eleven returning starters. Sophomore Frank Blasinsky has been installed as the No. 1 quarterback, while offensive guard Sam Pagano earned All-NEC honors. Placekicker Jason Fralicker booted a school-record 13 field goals and all-league specialist Chris Lynch averaged nearly 39 yards per punt.

2007 Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches Poll

1. UAlbany (3), 2. Monmouth (3), T3. Central Connecticut State, T3. Robert Morris (1), 5. Wagner, T6. Sacred Heart, T6. Saint Francis, Pa. ( ) – first-place votes


Somerset, N.J. – The Northeast Conference announced its 2007 preseason all-conference football team on Tuesday, Aug. 14. UAlbany had four players voted to the squad by the league’s head coaches.

Colin Disch, the 2005 and 2006 NEC Defensive Player of the Year, was named to last year’s American Football Coaches Association Division I FCS All-America squad. Disch, a senior inside linebacker who was also chosen as the Football Gazette FCS Mid-Major Linebacker of the Year, totaled 103 tackles, including 11 for a loss. He is currently third on school’s all-time tackles list with 346 and made double-figure hits in 21 career games.

Michael Dungey, a 6-foot-2, 275-pound defensive tackle, earned all-conference recognition for the second straight season. He had 34 tackles, eight hits for a loss and two sacks as a junior. A mid-major All-American and All-Northeast Region standout, Dungey led a defensive unit that ranked fifth nationally in rushing yards allowed at 90.2 per game.

Sam Pagano, a two-time All-NEC left guard, has appeared in 29 career games on UAlbany’s offensive line. He paved the way for an offense that averaged 296.0 total yards and 193.7 rushing yards against conference opponents. Lynch, a first-team mid-major All-American, averaged 38.8 yards per punt in 2006. He was selected to the all-conference first team. Lynch had five punts of 50-plus yards and placed 16 kicks inside the 20-yard line with five for touchbacks.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

University at Albany Football Begins 2007 Preseason Practice on Monday, Aug. 6

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. – The University at Albany football program begins preseason camp on Monday, August 6 with an afternoon workout, from 3:30-5:00 p.m. The Great Danes will conduct their preseason practices on the campus’ Dutch Quad intramural fields. UAlbany opens its 35th varsity campaign against Colgate on Saturday, September 1 in Hamilton, N.Y. Kickoff is 1:00 p.m. ET.

UAlbany made progress by recording a pair of top-25 wins and finishing in a tie for second in the Northeast Conference standings last season. But now the Great Danes want more, including a championship, as they enter their ninth season at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA) level.

"We should have a great defensive unit and a solid kicking game," explains UAlbany's Bob Ford, who is second among active FCS-I head coaches with 217 career victories. "We have veteran personnel at every spot and enough talent to be considered in the top echelon of the conference."

Ford continues, "The offensive line has a strong nucleus and the tight end situation is upbeat. We have a stable of running backs with a decent corps of wide receivers."

UAlbany has 41 letterwinners, including 11 starters, back from a team that produced a 7-4 record. The Great Danes have reached the seven-win mark five times as an FCS program.

"We certainly need to be more consistent on offense and reduce our penalties and turnovers," Ford evaluates. "Our quarterbacks had a good spring but still need to develop and take charge. We also have an untested group of cornerbacks."

UAlbany will again compete against a formidable list of non-conference opponents in preparation for the NEC season. A trip to perennial national power Montana and dates with Colgate, Hofstra and Fordham fill out the month of September.

OFFENSE: Coach Ford is making changes on an offense that ranked sixth in scoring and seventh in total yards among the conference leaders. Daniel Bocanegra, last year's starting quarterback, will move to flanker and work on special teams as a returner to take advantage of his athleticism. Sophomore Frank Blasinsky has been installed in the No. 1 position. He played in nine games as a true freshman, throwing for 258 yards and one TD. "He doesn't have to play out of his mind for us to be successful," offers Ford, who has help on the way with three incoming freshman QBs.

The Great Danes will have to replace three all-conference offensive linemen, including NFL free agent Jacob Hobbs. But both starting guards are back in Sam Pagano (6-3, 290) and Jeff Wentzell (6-4, 295). Pagano was named to the Football Gazette Division I FCS All-America Team as an honorable mention selection. Raphael Nguti (6-6, 330) and Boston College transfer Justin Tougas (6-6, 308) are ready to continue a long-standing tradition of great tackles. Sophomore center Kevin Richards (6-2, 280) is expected to anchor the line.

Omar Johnson is the top returning rusher with 435 yards and seven touchdowns. Johnson, a senior tailback, is among the school's all-time leaders with 17 career rushing TDs. Colin Simmons, who like Johnson missed spring practice while recovering from off-season surgery, ran for 215 yards as a freshman. Sophomores Justin Gannon and David McCarty, a converted flanker, worked at tailback throughout last spring. Fullback Dan Beigel (6-2, 230) has been productive throughout his career. He has run for nearly 600 yards and scored six TDs.

Irani DeAraujo and Mike Wall started at split end and flanker, respectively, last year. DeAraujo had a team-high 28 receptions for 270 yards. Mike Wall, who earned All-NEC honors as a kick returner, hauled in 15 passes for 217 yards and two TDs. He also ranked among the national leaders with a 24.9 kickoff return average. Marcus Miles (6-3, 240) and Dan Archer (6-3, 230) are capable tight ends with blocking skills.

DEFENSE: The Great Danes are coming off their best defensive campaign since moving to Division I FCS. UAlbany ranked among the top-five nationally in three categories, including points allowed (13.0 pg) and total defense at 240.8 yards per game.

Colin Disch is about to become the school's all-time tackles leader. Disch is the team's most decorated individual as he made the AFCA (first team) and Football Gazette (third team) All-America squads. He was also voted mid-major linebacker of the year and the NEC's top defender for the second season in a row. Disch, a senior, reached the 100-tackle mark for the third straight campaign (103). He has double-figure hits in 21 career games.

"He has the instincts that all great linebackers have," Ford says. "He can come over the top and underneath blocks with quickness and speed."

Tommy Genovesi (6-2, 225) and Mark Peretore (6-1, 230) are also positioned at inside linebacker. Genovesi made 36 tackles while playing in all 11 games. Peretore was fourth on the team in tackles (48), including 25 unassisted.

Trevor DuPont (6-1, 220) and Chris Simpson (6-0, 230) are penciled in at the outside spots. DuPont accounted for 34 tackles and scored on an interception return. Simpson showed great promise as a freshman by contributing on special teams.

UAlbany's defensive line performed at a high level throughout last season. Defensive tackle Michael Dungey (6-2, 275) earned mid-major All-America and all-region recognition and was a first-team All-NEC choice. He accounted for 34 tackles, including eight for a loss. Defensive ends Jon Volpe (6-1, 260) and Mark Sheehan (6-2, 260) have been integral in the line's rotation. Sheehan was second on the team in sacks (4.5) and reached paydirt on a 55-yard interception return. Tackle Tom Pandolf (6-0, 260) was the team's most improved player with 29 tackles and 4.0 sacks.

Graduation wiped out most of UAlbany's starting secondary. Cornerbacks Jean Juste (13 tackles) and L.B. McCloskey (10 tackles) each saw significant time last year. Dave Casale will get an opportunity at the free safety position. Safety Dave Nicomini is a physical defender who had 51 tackles and two interceptions as a sophomore. Dave West, an all-conference baseball outfielder, will also help at the safety positions.

KICKING GAME: Placekicker Jason Fralicker earned second-team All-NEC honors after booting a school-record 13 field goals and leading the team in scoring with 64 points. Fralicker, who also handled kickoffs, made all 25 point-after attempts. Chris Lynch earned first-team mid-major All-America and all-conference honors after averaging 38.8 yards per punt.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

UAlbany Tennis Team Earns Academic Recognition from ITA

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. – The University at Albany tennis team earned recognition as an Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-Academic Team for last season. In addition, five student athletes were honored by the ITA as individual scholar-athletes. Amanda Hall, Aimee Kern, Christina Suarez, Kim Weltman and Kim Westcott all earned ITA Scholar-Athlete status.

The ITA All-Academic Team award is open to any ITA program that has a cumulative team grade point average of 3.20 or above (on a 4.00 scale). All eligible student-athletes whose names appear on the NCAA/NAIA/NJCAA eligibility form and have competed in one or more varsity matches must average into the GPA for the current academic year (including fall 2006 and spring 2007).

In order to earn ITA Scholar-Athlete status a player must be a varsity letter winner, have a grade point average of at least 3.50 (on a 4.00 scale) for the current academic year, and have been enrolled at their present school for at least two semesters.

The Great Danes posted a 3.72 team GPA, which was the highest grade point average of any team in the America East Conference.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

AVCA Recognizes UAlbany Volleyball Program

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. РThe American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) has recognized the University at Albany program with the GamePlanä/AVCA Team Academic Award for the 2006-2007 season.

The award, initiated in the 1992-93 academic year, honors collegiate and high school teams that displayed excellence in the classroom by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale and a 4.10 cumulative team GPA on a 5.0 scale during the school year. Nominating head coaches must be AVCA members. Each school will receive a plaque, and each player a certificate commemorating the designation.

UAlbany was led both on the court and in the classroom by recent graduates Blair Buchanan, Ashley DeNeal and Shelby Goldman. The three student-athletes, who were all members of the America East Conference First Team as seniors, also earned spots on the conference’s all-academic squad.

DeNeal, the America East Tournament’s most outstanding player, was also a Chancellor’s Scholar-Athlete Award winner and earned the ECAC Merit Medal as the school’s top senior student athlete. DeNeal finished her four-year career as the program’s all-time digs leader.

Buchanan, UAlbany’s career assists leader, became the first player in NCAA Division I history to earn her conference’s player and setter of the year awards for three consecutive seasons. Buchanan was also a two-time Division I Honorable Mention All-American, and a three-time AVCA All-Northeast Region honoree.

Goldman became the program’s all-time kills leader as a senior, en route to her third straight all-conference first team award. She is a two-time member of the America East all-academic team and earned her second AVCA All-Northeast Region accolades last season.

The Great Danes, who became the first program in UAlbany’s Division I history to host an NCAA Tournament event, won their second America East championship in the last three seasons with a thrilling 3-2 victory over UMBC in the final. UAlbany will kick off the 2007 season at the Hilton Garden Inn NAU Invitational in Flagstaff, Ariz. on Friday, August 24.

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