Saturday, November 29, 2008

UAlbany Men's Basketball Defeats UPenn At Sefcu Arena In Non Conference Showdown.

UAlbany Men's Basketball Defeats UPenn At Sefcu Arena In Non Conference Showdown. Freshman Anthony Raffa Leads Way With 22 points, Ambrose 19, Harris 14, Connelly 10. More to come...

Courtesy: UAlbany Athletics

Freshman guard Anthony Raffa had 16 of his career-high 22 points in the second half in leading UAlbany to a 73-63 non-league win over Pennsylvania in the first-ever meeting between the programs on Saturday, Nov. 29 at SEFCU Arena. The Great Danes extended their winning streak to four straight.

UAlbany (4-2) led 35-33 in the second half, before rattling off 12 of the game’s next 13 points. Will Harris, who is in his first year after transferring from Virginia, made a 6-footer in the lane to ignite that outburst. Raffa canned two 3-points field goals during that span, the first off a skip pass from Harris and the second from the right corner. Brett Gifford’s baseline jumper after an offensive rebound gave his team a 47-34 cushion with 11:58 to play.

Pennsylvania (1-4) cut into the margin when Kevin Egee scored in the lane off an in-bounds pass that pulled his team within 52-45 with 5:36 left. However, the Great Danes pushed their advantage to double figures over the next three minutes. Tim Ambrose, a 6-foot sophomore who had 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting, jump-started that stretch with a pair of free throws and a nifty drive in the lane. Brian Connelly’s jump hook from left of the lane provided his club with a 62-50 lead with 2:23 remaining.

“They are a good team that is difficult to defend,” said UAlbany coach Will Brown, whose squad held the visitors to 36.7-percent shooting. “They run dribble hand-offs, slips and back-doors, so I am pretty happy with the win. We responded well when they made plays and we become pretty tough to defend when we move the ball.”

The first half featured six lead changes and two ties. UAlbany pushed out to a 24-16 lead when Raffa drilled an 18-footer on the baseline. The Quakers, who have won 25 Ivy League titles and made 23 NCAA appearances in their storied history, came back with nine unanswered. Jack Eggleston, who had 13 points, converted in the lane and Tyler Bernardini followed with a reverse layup on the baseline. Freshman Zack Rosen, who had 13 points, eight assists and six rebounds, put his team ahead with a three-point field goal from the top of the arc.

Still trailing 28-26 later in the period, UAlbany went back in front by the intermission. Connelly, who had 10 points and seven rebounds, made a turnaround in the lane. Ambrose, who reached twin figures for the fourth consecutive game and added four assists, delivered a three-pointer from the right wing with 18 seconds left before the break.

“We have taken some big steps since the first two games with Villanova and DePaul,” offered Raffa, who made 7-of-14 from the floor and grabbed six rebounds in 33 minutes at the point guard position. “We are still trying to figures things out with all the new faces. I play with intensity and it was easy to feed off the crowd and the excitement.”

Penn’s Bernardini, last year’s Ivy League Rookie of the Year, finished with 19 points. Harris, a 6-foot-6 junior, totaled 14 points and six rebounds for the Great Danes, who shot 62.5 percent from the field after halftime.

UAlbany Volleyball Defeats Temple, 3-1, In Final Game Before The Start Of The NCAA Championship Tournament.

UAlbany Volleyball Defeats Temple, 3-1, In Final Game Before The Start Of The NCAA Championship Tournament. More to come...

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Philadelphia, Pa. – Sophomore outside hitter Amanda Cowdrey recorded her 13th double-double of the season with a team-high 18 kills and 17 digs to lead the UAlbany volleyball team to a 3-1 win over Temple in the regular-season finale. The Great Danes won the match with scores of 25-21, 22-25, 25-21 and 26-24.

Senior middle blocker Kamisha Kellam, the America East Conference Player of the Year, recorded 14 kills with a .500 hitting percentage in the match. Freshman Kalyn Mostert recorded a career-high 11 kills and added five digs and four assists for the Great Danes, while sophomore setter Brooke Stanley also tallied a double-double with a match-high 53 assists and 10 digs.

Yun Yi Zhang led all player with 22 kills for Temple, while Patricia Vernon added 14 kills for the Owls. Setter Jackie Morrison finished with a double-double, recording 47 assists and 10 digs, along with three block assists. Cayleigh Ashman added nine kills to go along with a match-high four total blocks, including three solo for Temple (15-15).

UAlbany (23-8) played the final match of the regular season after winning the America East championship for the third straight season, in preparation for the NCAA Tournament. The Great Danes, who have a chance to host the first round of the championship, will find out their fate on Sunday night, as the NCAA Division I Selection Show airs on ESPNU. The team will view the selection show in SEFCU Arena’s Hall of Fame Room.

UAlbany (23-8) def. Temple (15-15), 3-1 (25-21, 22-25, 25-21, 26-24).

UAlbany Men's Basketball Vs Penn @ Sefcu Arena - Game Writeups

The UAlbany basketball team is still a work in progress, and head coach Will Brown has decided — at least for now — not to anguish over it.

The up-and-down Great Danes are riding a three-game winning streak heading into

tonight’s home game against perennial Ivy League power Pennsylvania, but Brown knows it will still take a while for him to fully understand how to get the most out of his starting lineup, and how to utilize his entire roster.

“Have I figured this team out yet? No,” said Brown. “I’ve got to stop banging my head against the wall trying to figure everything out. I’ve got to take a deep breath with these guys, because it will take a little time. I’ve got to be more patient than I’d like to be. We’ll have our ups and downs, but at least we’ve had more ups than downs, so far.”

Brown said the 3-2 Great Danes have played well, for the most part, yet there are still many pieces of the puzzle that haven’t come together.

“We lost the two games that we were supposed to lose [against Villanova and DePaul of the Big East], but we won the three games I thought we should win,” Brown said.

“In the Bryant and Central Connecticut State games, we let big leads slip away, but it didn’t affect us that much. It almost bit us in the butt in the Central Connecticut game, but we won, anyway. Then, after the first eight or nine minutes of our last game against Columbia, we settled down and played very well the rest of the way.”

Brown admitted that many of the players in his normal rotation have surprised him.

“I was thinking about shortening our rotation before the last game. I thought Jerel Hastings wasn’t giving us anything offensively, and that was the area I was going to cut back on. But then during the Col­umbia game, I thought we needed a spark, and Jerel’s an energy guy. He goes out and scores 13 of his 15 points in the first half. If anything, Jerel made it even more confusing for me to figure out who will play and how much. He’s a mid-range shooter and is very athletic. If he’s more aggressive, like he was against Columbia, then he’ll get more playing time.”

Another confusing player for Brown is Will Harris, the 6-foot-6 transfer from the University of Virginia who was supposed to be one of Great Danes’ primary players. Harris scored in double digits against both Big East opponents and also had 18 points and nine rebounds against Central Connecticut State, but he was almost invisible against Columbia Tuesday night.

“His knee is still bothering him, but not to the point where he should have scored just one point the other night,” Brown said. “Right now, he’s unselfish to a fault. He played two solid games against Villanova and DePaul. He got hurt against Bryant, but he played well against Central Connecticut in the first half. He wasn’t that aggressive in the second half. The same was true against Columbia. There are only so many ways you can tell a kid to be aggressive. It’s a feeling out process for him. He’s trying to be a sponge, and learn everything so quickly.”

Sophomore guard Tim Ambrose paces the Danes in scoring at just under 14 points per game. Brian Connelly, who registered 11 points and seven rebounds against Columbia, Harris, freshman point guard Anthony Raffa and 6-11 junior center Brett Gifford are the other usual starters.

The Quakers, who have won 25 Ivy League championships and have made 23 NCAA tournament appearances, are off to a 1-3 start. Tyler Bernadini, the 2008 Ivy League Rookie of the Year, tops the team in scoring at 17.5 ppg. Other key players include 6-3 senior guard Kevin Egee (14.0 ppg), 6-7 Brennan Votel (10.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and 6-8 Jack Eggleston.

“Penn was a unanimous pick to finish second in the Ivy League. They might be the best team in the league,” said Brown. “They like to spread you out, and they use a lot of dribble-handoffs along with a lot of three-pointers. They play very little man-to-man defense. They’ll use a matchup zone, and they will force you to shoot jumpers. Two things will happen. Either you will be very aggressive and don’t settle for jumpers, or you have to make your jump shots. I don’t want us to take quick jump shots against them.”

By Bob Weiner - Gazette Reporter

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UAlbany tries to learn Penn's system - Team is similar to Danes' future opponent Hartford.

The University at Albany men's basketball team plays its first America East Conference game Saturday night, in a sense, even though the league opener is five weeks away.

The Great Danes (3-2) welcome the University of Pennsylvania to SEFCU Arena, an opponent that bears a striking similarity to one of UAlbany's America East rivals.

"This will be a great test for us because this team plays a lot like Hartford,'' Brown said. "They spread the floor out and really try to expose you, and if we don't communicate, it could be a long night for us.''

Like Hartford, the Quakers (1-3) like to shoot 3-pointers and employ a motion offense rather than using a lot of set plays. Penn also relies on a matchup zone defense, a favorite of the Hawks.

UAlbany struggled badly against Hartford's offense in a 68-63 loss at SEFCU Arena last year, allowing the Hawks to shoot 56 percent from the field in the second half.

Brown often talks about using his nonleague schedule to get ready for conference play, and this is a perfect example.

"It's a game that will help us get ready for a team like Hartford in our league that plays very similar,'' Brown said. "And it's a good challenge for us to see where we're at because this team plays differently than any team we've played so far (this season).''

And yet while Hartford is new to success, reaching the America East final for the first time last season, Penn is likely the most prestigious program ever to visit SEFCU Arena.

The Quakers have won 25 Ivy League championships and were picked second in the preseason coaches' poll behind defending champion Cornell.

They're led by 6-6 sophomore forward Tyler Bernardini, the 2008 Ivy League Rookie of the Year, who scored 26 points against top-ranked North Carolina in the season opener on Nov. 15.

"He can really shoot the ball,'' Brown said. "He's very crafty. He's one of those kids, you've got to make him work. He's not a guy that breaks you down off the dribble. He's a guy that scores out of their system.''

With that in mind, Brown worked his team extensively in practice the past two days in defending the dribble handoffs and ball screens that are staples of Penn's offense.

One emphasis was communication on defense, which Brown said has been a team weakness so far.

"We've got talk to each other,'' Brown said. "Let your teammate know what kind of screen is coming. Make sure we're in the right place at the right time. We haven't been consistent.''

UAlbany freshman point guard Anthony Raffa said Penn should be a challenge for a team with eight new players.

"They run many things that can confuse on the defensive end because they're a smart team,'' Raffa said. "In our program, there's a lot of new guys and we're trying to get communication with one another and work things out.''


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

University of Albany's Bob Ford Finalist for Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. -- University at Albany head football coach Bob Ford has been named a finalist for The Sport Network’s Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.

Ford, who is in his 40th season as a college head coach, led the Great Danes to its second consecutive Northeast Conference championship this season. UAlbany (8-3, NEC 7-0) became just the second team in conference history to go undefeated against league opponents in back-to-back seasons. The Great Danes have won 13 straight against NEC teams, the longest active Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) conference streak. UAlbany has tied its FCS single-season record with eight victories, including seven in a row.

Ford, who leads all active Division I FCS coaches with 233 career victories, has guided the UAlbany program from the club level in 1970, to Division III, to Division II, and its present Division I FCS status. At the FCS level, the Great Danes have won or shared four NEC championships (2002, ’03, ’07, ’08) and posted a combined 66-43 record.

UAlbany, the NEC champion, will battle Jacksonville, the Pioneer Football League champion, in the third annual Gridiron Classic on Saturday, Dec. 6 at University Field. Kickoff is 1:30 p.m. Eastern. YES Network will televise the exempted postseason game to a national and regional audience. Pack Network will stream video and audio of the Gridiron Classic nationwide.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

UAlbany Men's Basketball Wins Third In a Row In New York City

New York, N.Y. – Jerel Hastings had a season-high 15 points off the bench to pace three players in double figures in leading UAlbany to its third straight win in a 66-49 non-conference victory over Columbia on Tuesday, Nov. 25 at Levien Gymnasium.

UAlbany (3-2) led 33-26 early in the second half, but then pulled away with 11 of the game’s next 12 points. Brian Connelly, a 6-foot-8 senior, made two free throws and freshman guard Anthony Raffa converted a fastbreak at the start. Raffa later hit a driving bank from left of the lane before Hastings canned a 17-footer in the circle. Connelly split two foul shots for a commanding 44-27 margin.

Tim Ambrose, who had scored 24 in each of his last two outings, was active offensively with his club in the lead. The 6-foot sophomore made a conventional three-point play, a left baseline drive and delivered a slam dunk in transition over the final six minutes. Ambrose’s one-hander off the glass gave the Great Danes a 62-41 cushion with 2:59 remaining.

“I have no complaints,” said UAlbany coach Will Brown, whose team held Columbia to 32.6-percent shooting. “We were sluggish at the start but then we executed and kept the lead. The defense was solid for the most part. Columbia did an outstanding job defensively in the first seven or eight minutes, but I thought we wore them down by playing so many guys.”

The Lions, who were playing their third of five straight home contests, led 13-9 midway through the first half after Joe Bova buried a three-point field goal from the left wing. UAlbany regrouped with seven consecutive markers. Connelly, who recorded season-highs with 11 points and seven rebounds, split a pair of free throws to put his team ahead.

Still leading 16-15, the Great Danes ran off a string of nine unanswered. Hastings, a 6-foot-5 senior, ignited the stretch with a jumper in the circle and a three-point play when he was fouled while making an 18-footer. Jimmie Covington and Connelly each sank two foul shots to complete the run.

Hastings, who scored 13 in the opening period and reached double figures for the first time since Feb. 20th last year, later scored in the lane and drilled two from the stripe as his team took a 31-22 lead to the locker room. The Great Danes held Columbia to 29 percent from the floor, on 7-of-24 attempts, in the half and forced nine turnovers.

"I came ready to be aggressive this game,” explained Hastings, who made 6-of-8 from the field and grabbed four rebounds in 17 minutes. (After last game) the coaches told me to look for my shot and don't be passive. We are our own biggest opponents right now - we have to cut down on the turnovers."

The Great Danes countered their shooting woes (39 percent) and 17 turnovers by making 28 of 32 from the foul line. Ambrose was the third UAlbany player in twin figures with 11 of his 13 points after halftime. Columbia (2-3) had no one in double digits, as Noruwa Agho had eight points as a reserve. Patrick Foley, the team’s leading-scorer at 13.2 points per game, was held to six.

Monday, November 24, 2008

UAlbany's Tim Ambrose Named America East Conference Basketball Co-Player of the Week

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Cambridge, Mass. -- University at Albany’s Tim Ambrose has been selected as the America East Conference Co-Player of the Week in men’s basketball, as announced by the conference office on Monday, Nov. 22. Ambrose, a 6-foot sophomore, shared the award with Boston University’s John Holland.

Ambrose, who averaged 16.0 points and 4.7 rebounds in three games last week, scored seven of his 24 points in the final one minute and 49 seconds in last Saturday’s 68-67 victory over Central Connecticut State. He made the game-winning bank shot with 3.8 seconds to play. The Great Danes lost an 18-point lead in the second half and went down by four in the closing moments. However, Ambrose connected on a conventional three-point play when he was fouled on a driving layup before making the winning field goal.

Ambrose, who shot 56.8 percent from field last week, also scored 24 points in a 76-67 win against Bryant on Nov. 19. His scoring total matched a career-best at nationally-ranked Duke last year. He grabbed eight rebounds and tied a career-high with three steals. Ambrose leads the team in scoring at 14.0 points per game. UAlbany (2-2) meets Columbia on Tuesday, Nov. 25 at 7:00 p.m.

UAlbany Field Hockey Midfielder Michelle Simpson Selected to NFHCA All-America Second Team

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. – Senior midfielder Michelle Simpson was named to the National Field Hockey Coaches’ Association Division I All-America Team for the second consecutive year, as announced by the organization on Monday, Nov. 22. Simpson, a second-team selection, becomes the first UAlbany player to earn Division I All-America recognition twice.

Simpson, a native of Middlesbrough, England, was named the America East Conference Midfielder of the Year after leading UAlbany to its first conference championship and an NCAA Tournament berth. Simpson, a three-time all-conference first-team honoree, finished second on the team in scoring with 10 goals and 12 assists for 32 total points. Simpson, an NFHCA All-Northeast Region choice, recently was chosen to compete in the Division I Senior All-Star Game that took place in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 22. Simpson concluded her career with the Great Danes second all-time in career points (101) and fourth in career goals (37) and assists (27).

UAlbany finished the 2008 season with a loss to top-ranked and eventual national champion Maryland in the NCAA Tournament. The Great Danes, who posted a 12-10 record, captured the America East Conference title for the first time in the program’s history.

UAlbany Athletic Department Online Fundraising Auction of November Ends Soon

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

University at Albany’s Department of Athletics will hold an online fundraising auction that begins at 12 midnight on Saturday, Nov. 1 and continues through the entire month at UAlbany Online Auction Homepage. All proceeds benefit the Great Dane Athletic Scholarship Fund.

Twenty-five items will be bid upon in this online format, including a weekend with the UAlbany football team when the program travels to Georgia Southern for its 2009 season opener and a private children’s birthday party with the men’s basketball squad.

Other items for bid include serving as an honorary coach for this year’s men’s lacrosse game with America East Conference opponent UMBC on April 11. The UAlbany Alumni Association is providing an ultimate fan package for the Big Purple Growl and Ferocious Feast on Saturday, February 7 that includes premium seats and parking. A Night on the Town features a limousine from Premiere Transportation, dinner at Carmine’s Restaurant and four tickets to a UAlbany basketball game.

In addition, there is something for all kinds of sports fans, including a 2009 New York Giants Training Camp Package that offers VIP passes and parking. For more information, contact Mary Johnson, UAlbany Senior Major Gifts Officer, at (518) 956-7952 or

Auction items:

A Week at the Wyndham Bentley Resort in Hancock, MA - Provided by Juliette Zivic '72

Full Length Mink Coat - Provided by Furs by PK, Steven Pochtar, '79

Big Purple Package - Provided by UAlbany Alumni Association

NY Giants Camp Package - Provided by UAlbany Athletics

Men's Lacrosse Ball Boy for the Season - Provided by Coach Scott Marr

Men's Lacrosse Honorary Coach for UMBC game - Provided by Coach Scott Marr

A Night on the Town - Provided by Carmine's Restaurant, Premiere Transportation, and UAlbany Athletics

A weekend at Georgia Southern with the Great Danes Football Team - Provided by Coach Bob Ford

Men's Basketball Coach for the Day - Provided by Coach Will Brown

Dinner with Coach Mueller at Creo` - Provided by Coach Jon Mueller

Great Dane Cookie Bouquet - Provided by Cookies by Design, 378 Delaware Ave, Delmar

A day with the Great Danes Football Team vs. UMASS on 9/12/09 - Provided by Coach Bob Ford

NY Rangers vs. Montreal Canadians Tickets - Provided by John Fallon '77, '81

Women's Lacrosse Ball Girl for 4/11 game vs. UMBC - Provided by Coach Lindsey Hart

Field Hockey Ball Girl vs. Bucknell on 8/30/09 - Provided by Coach Phil Sykes

Men's LAX Signed Jerseys: Frank Resetarits & Merrick Thompson - Provided by Coach Scott Marr

Have a Great Danes Birthday Party with Men's Basketball - Provided by Coach Will Brown

Purple and Gold and green Pass - Provided by UAlbany Athletics

NY Knicks vs Philadelphia 76'ers Tickets - Provided by John Fallon '77, '81

Bat Boy/ Bat Girl for a day - Provided by Coach Jon Mueller

An Experience with the ladies of Great Danes Basketball - Provided by Coach Trina Patterson

Mike Eruzione Print - Provided by Henry Madej, '67

Game Day Ball Boy/Girl for a Men's Basketball Game - Provided by Coach Will Brown

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Northeast Conference Champion UAlbany Football Program Announces Postseason Awards

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. -- University at Albany’s David McCarty received the most valuable player award at the football program’s awards banquet, held at the Campus Center Ballroom on Sunday, Nov. 23. He was also voted the team’s top offensive back for the second straight year.

McCarty, a junior tailback, has established the school’s single-season rushing record with 1,581 yards and leads the team in scoring with 13 touchdowns. He also became the program’s all-time leader in rushing yards (3,082) and all-purpose yards (3,693) in the final regular-season game of the season, eclipsing Gary Jones’ career standards in both categories. McCarty currently ranks third in rushing (143.7 ypg) and seventh in all-purpose yards (174.7 ypg) among the NCAA Division I FCS national leaders. He has rushed for 100 or more yards in a school-record 10 games this season.

Senior offensive tackle Jon Leible (6-5, 285) picked up a pair of awards as the team’s most improved player and top offensive lineman. Leible, who became a starter for the first time in his career at right tackle, is blocking for a unit that averages 354.7 yards per game and is ranked 24th nationally in rushing (190.5 ypg).

Tom Pandolf (defensive lineman), Justin Brancaccio (linebacker) and Troy native Dave Casale (defensive back) won awards at each defensive position. Pandolf, a senior tackle, has 63 tackles and 2.5 sacks through 11 games. Brancaccio is the team’s leading tackler with 83. Casale, a junior free safety, has set the program’s FCS single-season mark with six interceptions, plus has 73 tackles and six pass break-ups.

Tim Bush was awarded top receiver after breaking Dan Gmelin’s single-season reception record that was established in 1997. Bush caught 58 passes for 697 yards and five touchdowns. Punter Chris Lynch, who is 29th among the national leaders with a 40.6 average, was voted most valuable special teams player. Lynch has five 50-plus yard punts this season, including a 75-yarder against Wagner.

Nine players received their fourth varsity letter, including offensive guard and Nik Schultz, tight end Dan Archer, wide receiver Daniel Bocanegra, cornerback L.B. McCloskey, offensive tackle Raphael Nguti, inside linebacker Mark Peretore, safety Dave West, Pandolf, Lynch.

UAlbany (8-3, NEC 7-0) captured its second consecutive Northeast Conference championship this season. The Great Danes will meet Pioneer Football League champion Jacksonville (9-3, PFL 7-1) in the third annual Gridiron Classic at University Field on Saturday, Dec. 6. Kickoff is 1:30 p.m. Eastern.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Tim Ambrose's Last-Second Field Goal Lifts UAlbany to 68-67 Win in Basketball's Home Opener

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. – Tim Ambrose scored 24 points and made a bank shot with 3.8 seconds remaining to lift UAlbany past Central Connecticut State, 68-67, in the Great Danes’ home opener before 3,241 fans on Saturday, Nov. 22 at SEFCU Arena.

Central Connecticut State (0-3) overcame an 18-point deficit in the second half to set up a wild finish. The Blue Devils, who trailed 51-33, reeled off 10 unanswered points to get back into the contest. Aaron Hall hit a slam dunk in transition and Robby Ptacek converted a fastbreak to end that run.

Still trailing 57-49, the visitors put together another string of 10 straight points to go ahead with 4:21 remaining. Ken Horton, a 6-foot-6 sophomore who tallied a career-high 33 points, drilled a 3-pointer from the left corner and sank two foul shots, before Ptacek canned a long-range jumper from the right wing to draw his team even. Horton, who made 11 of 15 from the field and 10 of 11 from the line, put the Blue Devils in front by cutting in the lane for a layup.

The game seesawed in the stretch with four ties until CCSU’s Shemik Thompson scored off a spin move in the lane for a 65-63 lead with 48.1 seconds to play. After UAlbany’s Will Harris missed a layup, Hall was fouled and made two free throws for a four-point advantage.

Ambrose, a 6-foot sophomore, sliced the margin to one when he made a conventional three-point play as Thompson fouled him on a driving layup. Ambrose then stole the inbounds pass but could not convert in the lane. After CCSU put the ball in play with eight seconds left, Ptacek stepped on the sideline against a defensive double-team. All of which set up Ambrose’s winning field goal from left of the lane.

“I just wanted to get to the rim,” said Ambrose, who tied a career-high scoring total and had four assists and three steals. “I think coach knew that I wanted it (the ball). We got up eighteen and got comfortable and didn’t execute. You can’t do that against a good team.”

The Great Danes used a run of nine consecutive points to take an early lead. Harris, a Virginia transfer, had 11 of his 18 points in the opening period en route to a 38-29 halftime advantage. UAlbany (2-2) ripped off nine in a row in the final period to build a 49-31 cushion. Brian Connelly, who had 10 points, put back an offensive rebound to ignite matters. Harris, who also had nine rebounds, made a three-pointer from the left corner following a steal and converted in the lane at the end of that stretch.

“There was a never a doubt that we were going to win,” said Harris, who made 7 of 11 from the floor. “We have a group of strong-minded individuals. We just have to be more focused and work on defense.”

Thompson, last year’s Northeast Conference Rookie of the Year, had 12 points and five assists for the Blue Devils, who lost a heart-breaking 58-57 decision to Colgate in their last outing. Freshman guard Anthony Raffa was the fourth UAlbany player in double figures with 11.

“We fell asleep when we were up eighteen,” said UAlbany coach Will Brown, whose team last posted a one-point win against Vermont last January. “We stood and didn’t attack. Central Connecticut never quit and got back into the game. We will take the win, but we need to get better on defense and learn to communicate."

UAlbany Volleyball - 2008 America East Conference Tournament Champions - On To The NCAA Tournament

UAlbany sweeps Binghamton in America East Conference Championship Tournament Final. UAlbany returns to the NCAAs again.

Set 1:
UAlbany 25 Binghamton 13
Set 2:
UAlbany 25 Binghamton 19
Set 3:
UAlbany 25 Binghamton 18

First/Second Rounds: (16) December 4-5, 5-6 or 6-7
Regionals: (4) December 12-13, 2008
Semifinals and Championship: December 18 and 20, 2008

The University at Albany Great Danes defeated Binghamton, 3-0, by set scores of 25-13, 25-19, and 25-18 Saturday afternoon to capture the 2008 America East Volleyball Championship for the third straight year and fourth time in five years. Great Dane senior outside hitter Kamisha Kellam earned the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament, held at Albany's University Gymnasium.

The Great Danes will learn their postseason fate during the NCAA Selection show on Sunday, November 30 live on ESPNU from 10-10:30 p.m. Albany won the conference's first-ever NCAA Championship match during last year's tournament, defeating Cleveland State, 3-0, before falling to eventual National Champion Penn State.

Albany came out strong from the beginning, hitting 13 kills at a .294 clip and holding Binghamton to a hitting percentage of -.023. Sophomore outside hitter Amanda Cowdrey, a member of the All-Championship Team, posted two solo blocks and hit five kills on seven attacks against no errors.

The hosts jumped out again in the second set to leads of 6-1 and 7-2. Laura Livergood had two aces sandwiching a Kalyn Mostert kill and a team block for four straight points and to give Albany a 16-7 advantage. Binghamton began to rally late in the set, going on their own five-point streak capped off by a Jaclyn Strader ace and an Anna Lejina kill. At 23-19 though, it was the closest the Bearcats would get, as Albany sealed the second set with two straight kills.

After the intermission, Binghamton gained some momentum jumping out to 4-1 and 10-5 leads. Albany, in front of their home crowd, refused to let down, rallying back to tie the set at 13-13 with a Brooke Stanley ace putting the exclamation mark on the come-back. The Great Danes took their first lead of the third set, 14-13, since 1-0 with a Hillary White solo block. Binghamton tied the set again at 14-14, but Albany went ahead 15-14 and didn't look back. The last point of the match was won by Kellam who rifled a kill onto Binghamton's side of the court.

Kellam finished with a team-high 10 kills with no errors and 21 attacks for a .476 hitting percentage. Cowdrey finished just a kill away from a double-double with nine kills and 14 digs. Cowdrey also added three total blocks. Albany sophomore setter Brooke Stanley dished out 28 assists and was also named to the All-Championship Team.

Binghamton's Michelle McDonough received All-Championship Team recognition after she posted a game-high 11 kills and six digs. Sophomore Anna Lejina also received the honor, joining McDonough in double-figures with 10 kills.

Maine's Laura Goettsch and UMBC's Ashley Oscars rounded out the seven-member All-Championship Team.

2008 America East Volleyball Championship
University Gymnasium, Albany, N.Y.
Friday, November 21 - Semifinals
#2 Binghamton def. #3 UMBC, 3-2
#1 Albany def. #4 Maine, 3-1

Saturday, November 22 - Final
Albany def. Binghamton, 3-0

Women's Basketball Upended by Richmond in Home Opener

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. – Sophomore guard Brittani Shells scored 16 points to pace four players in double figures as unbeaten Richmond upended women's basketball, 62-48, in the home opener on Saturday.

Richmond leaped to a 10-2 lead in the opening five minutes. Nikita Thomas, a 6-foot-2 junior, broke an early tie by scoring on the right baseline. Samantha Bilney and Johanna McKnight connected on back-to-back baskets following steals to end that stretch.

The Danes never found its rhythm on offense in the first half and committed 21 of a season-high 27 turnovers while shooting 4-of-18 from the field in the period. The Spiders, who are picked to finish fifth in the 16-team Colonial Athletic Association, took advantage by building a 28-13 lead at the intermission. Crystal Goring, a 6’3” senior who had eight points and eight rebounds, gave her team in its first double-figure margin of the half with a pair of free throws.

The Spiders, who opened with wins over Kennesaw State and George Mason, pushed their advantage to 38-21 with 13:23 remaining when freshman guard Abby Oliver, who had 10 points off the bench, canned a 19-footer from right of the key.

The Danes attempted to get back into the contest twice over the next five minutes. Sophomore guard Janea Aiken converted a conventional three-point play when she was fouled on a left baseline drive that sliced the deficit to 38-28. However, Shells drilled a three-pointer to stave off that spurt. Aiken later completed a fastbreak with a 3-pointer that got the lead down to 10 again. But Shells, a preseason All-CAA selection who added three assists and three steals, answered once more when she stroked a 3-point shot from the left corner off a skip pass.

“We were nervous and indecisive in the first half,” said UAlbany coach Trina Patterson, whose team shot 38.5 percent for the game. “We are trying to find our identity as a young team. Richmond has athletic post play and not a lot of weaknesses. When we had three or four people touch the ball we got good looks.”

Thomas finished with 12 points for the Spiders, who have won all four meetings in this series. McKnight, a member of the CAA’s all-defensive team, had 10 points and three steals. UAlbany’s Tiffanie Johnson totaled 11 points and seven rebounds, while Britney McGee scored 10.

“We came out not as confident,” explained Aiken, whose team had won five of its previous six home debuts. “We had unforced turnovers where we threw the ball out of bounds or were not paying attention. It’s a situation where we don’t know our roles yet. We calmed down in the second half and took our time.”

Yurkewecz and Panos Lead UAlbany Great Dane Harriers at IC4A and ECAC Championships

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Bronx, N.Y. – Brian Yurkewecz placed 10th overall to garner All-East laurels and Ally Panos placed 62nd to lead the University at Albany men’s and women’s cross country teams in the University Division races of the IC4A and ECAC Championships at Van Cortlandt Park on Saturday afternoon.

The men’s squad placed fourth among 26 scoring teams, while the women did not accumulate a team score. New Hampshire and Columbia won the men’s and women’s team titles, respectively.

Yurkewecz closed out his cross country career by earning All-East honors for the first time after finishing in the top 15 in the field of 235 runners. He navigated the 5-mile course in 26:00. R.J. Sniffen (Shaker) finished 20th overall and second on the team in 26:15. Rounding out the top five finishers for the Great Danes were freshman Ian Ellis (66th, 27:02), Jack Kelley (67th, 27:03) and Shaker’s Chris Manico (70th, 27:05).

“This was probably the toughest race in the history of the University Division at IC4A’s,” said head coach Craig McVey. “I couldn’t be more pleased with our effort, especially under the circumstances with the wind chill around 22 degrees and gusts reaching 25 miles per hour. Some of the teams we beat were well ranked, including Binghamton. It was a nice way for us to finish our season.”

Panos circled the 5,000-meter women’s course in 19:58 to pace the Great Dane women. She was followed by Laine Sefick, who was 78th overall in 20:10. Kristin Grab finished 108th in the field of 225 runners with a time of 20:27 to round out all finishers for UAlbany.


IC4A Men’s Team Results (University Division)

1. New Hampshire, 107 points; 2. Pittsburgh, 137 points; 3. Rutgers, 195 points; 4. UAlbany, 230 points; 5. Army, 232 points; 6. Fordham, 234 points; 7. Loyola, 237 points; 8. Manhattan, 238 points; 9. Sacred Heart, 241 points; 10. Binghamton, 255 points; 11. Bucknell, 276 points; 12. Temple, 282 points; 13. Colgate, 283 points; 14. Monmouth, 287 points; 15. Seton Hall, 356 points; 16. Wagner, 366 points; 17. Hofstra, 448 points; 18. Adelphi, 450 points; 19. Rider, 466 points; 20. Saint Francis, 477 points; 21. New Jersey Tech, 510 points; 22. Longwood, 568 points; 23. Fairfield, 596 points; 24. Philadelphia, 623 points; 25. Siena, 676 points; 26. Mercy, 848 points.

Individual Champion: Nicholas Descrescen, New Hampshire, 25:31.

UAlbany Finishers: 10. Brian Yurkewecz, 26:00; 20. R.J. Sniffen, 26:15; 66. Ian Ellis, 27:02; 67. Jack Kelley, 27:03; 70. Chris Manico, 27:05; 116. Jimmy Carroll, 27:48; 125. David Rothman, 27:57; 139. Paul LaRocca, 28:09; 150. Jon Juleus, 28:18; 196. Justin LaLiberté, 29:22.

ECAC Women’s Team Results (University Division)

1. Columbia, 107 points; 2. Sacred Heart, 118 points; 3. Army, 120 points; T-4. Binghamton, 137 points; T-4. Marist, 137 points; 6. Towson, 164 points; 7. Bucknell, 214 points; 8. Fordham, 248 points; 9. Rider, 255 points; 10. St. John’s, 263 points; 11. Holy Cross, 265 points; 12. Colgate, 294 points; 13. New Hampshire, 307; 14. Loyola, 321 points; 15. Monmouth, 416 points; 16. Manhattan, 473 points; 17. Fairfield, 500 points; 18. Wagner, 512 points; 19. Siena, 544 points; 20. Philadelphia, 559 points; 21. Temple, 611 points; 22. Seton Hall, 627 points; 23. Longwood, 643 points.

Individual: Elizabeth Campbell, New Hampshire, 18:29.

UAlbany Finishers: 62. Ally Panos, 19:58; 78. Laine Sefick, 20:10; 108. Kristin Grab, 20:27.

Friday, November 21, 2008

UAlbany Volleyball Advances To America East Championship Final

Albany, N.Y. -- Cate Eckhardt had 15 kills and added 10 digs as top seed UAlbany fought off Maine, 3-1, in the semifinal round of the America East Conference Tournament on Friday, Nov. 21 at University Gymnasium. The Great Danes, who won by scores of 20-25, 25-20, 28-26 and 25-20, will meet Binghamton for the championship and NCAA berth on Saturday at 4:00 p.m.

Maine took a commanding 18-13 lead in the third set, but UAlbany (21-8) clawed its way back into the match with six of the next seven points. Hillary White recorded a two-handed block of Lindsay Allman’s hitting attempt and then blasted a kill to tie the contest at 19 apiece. The set seesawed with seven ties over the next 14 points. Eckert, a junior outside hitter, broke the deadlock when she rifled a cross-court kill inside the right sideline. A kill attempt by the Black Bears went wide, and UAlbany took the set, 28-26.

The Black Bears, who lost twice in three sets to UAlbany during the regular season, led 15-13 in the fourth frame when Allman, a first-team all-conference selection, delivered one of her 15 kills. But the Great Danes regrouped with five unanswered points to go in front for good. Eckhardt, who posted her second double-double of the season, put her team ahead with back-to-back kills, including one off a service return. White ended that run with kill off a blocker from the middle of the floor. Amanda Cowdrey, a first-team all-league outside hitter, finished off the semifinal victory with a blast down the left sideline.

“They came to play,” said Eckhardt, whose squad won the regular-season crown and became the third team since 1998 to go undefeated in conference play. “We have had a target on us all year. (Setter) Brooke Stanley and I come early to practice every day. She gave me some great opportunities.”

The two teams split the opening two sets. The Black Bears snapped a 17-17 tie with four straight points in the first. Laura Goettsch, a 6-foot-3 senior, converted a service ace to complete that stretch. Goettsch, who led her club with 17 kills and 21 digs, helped Maine close out the first set, 25-20.

UAlbany held a slim 19-18 advantage in the second stanza, but then pulled away with five of the next six points. Kamisha Kellam, the America East player of the year, had three kills in that outburst. She scored with a two-handed stuff at the net and followed with a kill off a quick set. The senior totaled 13 kills and three blocks in the match.

“Nothing is going to come easy,” said Kellam, whose team will play for its third consecutive conference tournament championship. “They want to beat us and are going to bring their best. We made mistakes, but you have to shake that off quickly because these sets are over quickly. It certainly was a wake-up call. We just have to talk to each other and keep communicating.”

Cowdrey finished with 13 kills and 11 digs for the Great Danes, who extended their winning streak to 15 straight matches and have not lost since Sept. 27. Maine (14-12) had won seven of its previous nine contests coming into the semifinal.

Michelle McDonough had 21 kills and 11 digs in the first semifinal of the day. Binghamton (16-14) defeated UMBC in five sets, including 15-10 in the deciding frame.

UAlbany Women's Volleyball Set to Host 2008 America East Conference Tournament Today

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. – The UAlbany volleyball program is set to host the 2008 America East Conference Championship after finishing the season undefeated in conference play. The Great Danes, who earned the tournament’s top seed and hosting rights for the fourth time in the past five seasons, will be joined by Binghamton, UMBC and Maine in the single-elimination championship, which will take place Friday and Saturday, Nov. 21 and 22.

UAlbany (20-8, AE 12-0) completed just the third undefeated season in conference play since 1998, when the league began the current format of playing each conference opponent twice in a season. UAlbany is the two-time defending champion and has won three out of the last four championship titles, earning the conference’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament each time. The Great Danes are led by senior middle blocker Kamisha Kellam and sophomore outside hitter Amanda Cowdrey, who average 2.74 and 3.27 kills per set, respectively, along with sophomore setter Brooke Stanley, who leads the conference by handing out 10.51 assists per set.

Binghamton (15-14, AE 9-3) earned the second seed in the tournament after splitting on the final conference weekend with a win over New Hampshire and a loss to fellow tournament participant Maine. Besides UAlbany, Binghamton is the last team to win the America East championship title, accomplishing that feat in 2005. The Bearcats are led by sophomore hitter Anna Lejina who earned player of the week honors after averaging 5.22 kills per set on the week with a .389 hitting percentage.

UMBC (18-13, AE 7-5) entered the final weekend of regular-season play without an official playoff berth and moved into third place in the standings via a tiebreaker with Maine that came down to percentage of points won in head-to-head competition. The Retrievers, led by current setter of the week Kira Giles, return to the conference tournament after missing out last season.

Maine (14-12, AE 7-5) rounds out the tournament field after missing postseason play since 2005. The Black Bears are led offensively by Lindsay Allman and Laura Goettsch, while setter Jessica Wolfenden paces the Maine attack. Maine has not finished higher than third in the conference standings since 1999, but reached the title game in 2001 and 2004.

Binghamton and UMBC will face off in the first semifinal match at University Gymnasium on Friday at 4 p.m., while UAlbany and Maine will take the court at 7 p.m. The winners will meet in the championship match on Saturday at 4 p.m. with the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament on the line.


2008 America East Conference Volleyball Championship

University Gymnasium – Albany, N.Y.

Friday, Nov. 21 – Semifinals

#2 Binghamton vs. #3 UMBC, 4 p.m.

#1 UAlbany vs. #4 Maine, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 22 – Championship

Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 4 p.m.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

UAlbany Volleyball Garners Major Awards at America East Conference Banquet

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. – University at Albany’s Kamisha Kellam was named the America East Conference Volleyball Player of the Year, as announced by the league at the annual championship banquet held on Thursday evening at SEFCU Arena’s Hall of Fame Room. Sophomore Brooke Stanley earned the conference’s Setter of the Year award, while freshman Laurie Gonzalez was named the league’s Defensive Specialist of the Year.

Sophomore Amanda Cowdrey joined Kellam and Stanley on the all-conference first team, while Gonzalez and middle blocker Hillary White earned spots on the second team. Gonzalez and classmate Kalyn Mostert also earned all-rookie team honors.

A two-time all-conference first team member, Kellam led the conference, hitting at a .383 clip. She totaled 101 blocks, including 27 solo, which moved her into second place all-time in UAlbany’s career standings. In the conference regular-season finale against Stony Brook, Kellam recorded her 1,000th career kill. In America East matches, she averaged 2.78 kills per set with a .411 hitting percentage, tallying 1.00 block per set. Kellam becomes the fourth Great Dane in the last five seasons to receive the player of the year distinction from the conference.

Stanley averaged a league-leading 10.51 assists per set through the season. The most outstanding player of last year’s postseason tournament, Stanley quarterbacked the Great Danes to a league-high team hitting percentage of .277. The sophomore setter also averaged 2.30 digs per set, while finishing with 0.89 kills per set and recording 24 blocks and a team-high 31 assists. She also set an America East all-time best for hitting percentage in conference-only play, hitting at a .478 clip.

Gonzalez becomes the first rookie to win the defensive player of the year award since it was established in 2000. She averaged 4.08 digs overall and increased that average to 4.34 per set in conference play. Gonzalez had a streak of 15 straight matches with double-digit digs during the season, and recorded a season-high 28 digs in a five-set match against Long Island.

Cowdrey, last season’s rookie of the year, makes her first appearance on the all-conference first team after leading the Great Danes with 3.27 kills per set. She was also second with 2.85 digs and recorded 25 total blocks and 21 service aces. White, who returned to the court after missing last season, earned her second all-conference second team award, averaging 1.98 kills and 0.88 blocks per set. Mostert made an immediate impact on the court for UAlbany as a freshman, averaging 1.44 kills, 1.48 digs and 0.80 blocks per set.

UAlbany (20-8, AE 12-0) became just the third team to finish undefeated in conference play since 1998, when the league members began playing each other twice a season. The Great Danes claimed the regular-season title and will host the America East Conference Championship for the fourth time in the last five seasons on Nov. 21-22.

2008 America East Conference Volleyball All-Conference Teams

First Team

Amanda Cowdrey, UAlbany, Kamisha Kellam, UAlbany, Brooke Stanley, UAlbany, Anna Lejina, Binghamton, Michelle McDonough, Binghamton, Lindsey Mueller, Binghamton, Lindsay Allman, Maine

Second Team

Hillary White, UAlbany, Laurie Gonzalez, UAlbany, Alyssa Lang, UMBC, Bridget Scheetz, UMBC, Kirsten Bates, New Hampshire, Lindsay Fogarty, New Hampshire, Gulce Nazli Dikecligil, Stony Brook


Laurie Gonzalez, UAlbany, Kalyn Mostert, UAlbany, Alyssa Lang, UMBC, Allie Spaay, UMBC, Pauline Acres, New Hampshire, Lauren Laquerre, New Hampshire, Kelsey Sullivan, Stony Brook

Player of the Year: Kamisha Kellam, UAlbany

Setter of the Year: Brooke Stanley, UAlbany

Defensive Specialist of the Year: Laurie Gonzalez, UAlbany

Rookie of the Year: Alyssa Lang, UMBC

Coach of the Year: Glen Kiriyama, Binghamton

2007-2008 University News: Year In Review

UAlbany's Fenn Wins National Award in Mail Services

UAlbany invites visitors of the New York Giants Training Camp, in its 13th year at UAlbany, to tour the campus.

Nation's Top Health Care Researchers Gathering at UAlbany

UAlbany Class of 2008 Donates Largest Gift in University's History

Latest Gifts Bring Private Philanthropy Support for UAlbany's Cancer Research to $1.07 Million

Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary Performs Benefit Concert at UAlbany

Cancer researchers Martin Tenniswood and JoEllen Welsh have joined the University at Albany-SUNY from the University of Notre Dame as the Empire Innovations Professors of Biomedical Sciences.

UAlbany Initiative Provides Greater Access to College Degrees for Working Professionals

Donald Siegel Named Dean of UAlbany's School of Business

Former ABC News Correspondent George Strait Highlights Health Disparities Conference

UAlbany launches its first-ever branding initiative with the theme, "The World Within Reach."

UAlbany Graduate Programs Among Top 10 in the Nation by U.S. News and World Report

UAlbany School of Public Health Student Named Asia21 Fellow

l Named to Prestigious Institute of Medicine Committee on Health Effects in Vietnam Veterans

Top Allium Chemist Achieves 30 Years of NSF Funding at UAlbany

Hoff Appointed to Institute of Medicine Committee on Vaccine Development and Immunization

The UAlbany Community Congratulates the New York Giants, 2008 Super Bowl Champions

UAlbany Lacrosse Faces Johns Hopkins to Kick Off ESPNU Coverage

Heart Patients Who Undergo Artery Bypass Grafting Survive Longer than Patients Treated with Drug-eluting Stent

UAlbany Professors Study State of Writing Instruction In Schools Across Nation

UAlbany Establishes Endowed Scholarship for City of Albany High School Students

University at Albany School of Public Health Earns Full Seven-Year Accreditation from Council on Education for Public Health

UAlbany Bestows Medallion of the University on Mayor Gerald D. Jennings for Extraordinary Service and Leadership

School of Education Garners Three National Top 10 Rankings

National Science Foundation Funds UAlbany Research on the Evolution of the Human Skull

Housing Market and Monetary Policy Focus of First UAlbany Econometrics Research Institute Lecture Series

AAAS Honors UAlbany Researchers for Studies in Bacterial Genes, Urban Health

UAlbany Dedicates Massry Conference Center at Gen*NY*Sis Center for Excellence in Cancer Genomics

Kelly Horner Named Director of UAlbany's Sexual Assault Resource Center

UAlbany Cancer Researcher's $2.2 Million Grant Funds Ground Breaking Human Genome Study

USAID Awards $2M to University at Albany's Center for Legislative Development

SUNY Interim Chancellor Clark Appoints George M. Philip as University at Albany Officer in Charge

Federal Reserve Governor Kevin Warsh Addresses UAlbany School of Business

UAlbany Honors 60 Minutes' Steve Kroft for Commitment to Journalistic Excellence

UAlbany Dedicates Practice Field in Honor of New York Giants Owners Wellington Mara and Bob Tisch

UAlbany Remembers Kermit Hall, 17th President of the University

UAlbany Cancer Center and St. Peter's Hospital Partner for Prostate Cancer Drug Research

University of Albany - 2008 - College of NanoScale Science and Technology ranked #1 in World

University of Albany - 2008 - School of Education Garners Three National Top 10 Rankings

University of Albany - 2008 - Economic Impact on City of Albany Estimated at 1.3 - 1.5 Billion

University of Albany - 2008 - College of NanoScale Science and Technology World Class Research

University of Albany - 2008 - NY Private Universities Want Public Aid, To Steal Share of $4B State Endowment

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tim Ambrose's 24 Points Leads UAlbany Men's Basketball to First Win of Season Against Bryant University

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Smithfield, R.I. – Tim Ambrose equaled a career-high 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds in leading UAlbany to its first win of the season in a 76-67 non-league decision over Bryant on Wednesday, Nov. 19 at Chace Athletic Center.

Ambrose, a 6-foot sophomore, used his athletic skills to score his team’s opening nine points of the second half, as UAlbany (1-2) built a 47-28 margin. He hit a basket after a steal and finished off that stretch with a conventional three-point when he was fouled on a fastbreak layup.

The Great Danes, who opened their schedule with Big East Conference opponents Villanova and DePaul, still held a 20-point cushion later in the period. But Bryant (0-1) would not fold and eventually attempted a run at the lead. Chris Birrell, a junior guard who had 12 points and seven assists, drilled a three-point field goal to close the gap to 64-52 with 4:49 remaining.

UAlbany’s Brian Connelly answered with a basket in the paint off a feed from Virginia transfer Will Harris and Mike Johnson, a junior college transfer, sank two foul shot to help their team pull away. The Bulldogs stayed within striking distance over the final three minutes behind the play of Barry Latham, who had 20 points and 11 rebounds.

“Give Bryant credit,” said UAlbany coach Will Brown, whose team opened with three road games for the first time since the 2004-05 campaign. “They threw every zone at us and ran about 20 different offensive sets. I thought we were flat in the first half and tired in the second, but I am glad we got a win.”

The Bulldogs, who were playing their first game as a Division I program after making the NCAA Division II tournament field in each of the last five seasons, jumped out to a 9-4 lead when Nick Pontes drilled a right baseline jumper. Bryant was still leading 11-9 when the Great Danes scored five unanswered to go in front. Freshman Louis Barraza, who had nine points off the bench, buried a three-point field goal from the right wing to break the tie.

UAlbany was ahead, 23-18, later in the stanza, but then rattled off seven of the game’s next eight points. Freshman guard Anthony Raffa canned a 3-pointer from the top of the arc against a zone defense, before Ambrose hit a layup following his steal and Scotty McRae made a transition jumper in the lane. Ambrose, who had 11 first-half points, scored with 24 seconds left before the break for a 39-25 halftime advantage.

“I took a deep breath before the game,” offered Ambrose, who made 10-of-17 from the field to match the same point total he had at nationally-ranked Duke last year. “I was trying to go right after it in the first two games. I just need to be patient and let the game come to me.”

Cecil Gresham, a 6-foot-5 junior, was the third player in double figures with 12 for the Bulldogs, who will travel to the Capital Region on Dec. 1 in the second meeting of the season between these two teams. Raffa, who dove over the media courtside table twice in the contest chasing loose balls, finished with nine points and three assists. McRae had six points and four rebounds.

Women's Basketball Drops Meeting With Cornell

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Ithaca, N.Y. – Allie Fedorowicz scored a game-high 19 points, including a key three pointer late in the game to lead Cornell to a 50-46 win over UAlbany in non-conference women’s basketball action on Wednesday evening at Newman Arena. The Big Red moved to 1-1 in the young season, while the Great Danes dropped to 0-3.

UAlbany, which held a one-point lead at halftime, built up a six-point advantage, 42-36, halfway through the second half on a Janea Aiken jumper in the paint. Cornell would then embark on an 11-0 run over the next seven minutes to take a 47-42 lead with 3:05 left to play. Aiken, who scored a team-high 14 points, ended the Big Red rally, converting an assist from Tiffanie Johnson into a jumpshot to cut the Cornell advantage to three.

With under a minute to play, Fedorowicz knocked down her fifth trey of the night to keep the Big Red ahead, 50-44. UAlbany senior Amira Ford hit a layup with 22 ticks remaining to cut the lead to four, but would miss a wide-open opportunity in the waning seconds that would allow Cornell to seal up its first win of the season.

UAlbany used a strong first half by Johnson to take a halftime lead. Cornell built up a seven-point advantage, 15-8, at the 12-minute mark, but the Great Danes used a 9-3 run to cut the lead to one with just under six minutes to play. After Britney McGee hit a layup to end a Cornell run, Aiken recorded a block on the defensive end to put the ball back in UAlbany’s hands. McGee passed the ball ahead to Johnson, who hit a jumper to cut the lead to three. Fedorowicz took a pass from Lauren Benson and hit a shot from beyond the arc, but Johnson nailed one of her two three-pointers in the contest to slash the advantage to one, 18-17, with 5:57 left to play.

The Great Danes took their first lead since the opening minutes at 4:14, as freshman Shelby Coon took a backdoor pass from Ford on the baseline and laid the ball in off the glass to put UAlbany on top, 19-18. Consecutive baskets by Aiken, followed by a free throw, put the Great Danes ahead by six, 24-18 with just over two minutes on the clock. Fedorowicz, who shot 55.5 percent from behind the arc, nailed a long-range basket at 2:06 to cut the lead to three. UAlbany missed two three-pointers of their own in the closing minutes, while Christine Vlasic hit a layup with 16 seconds remaining, but the Great Danes were able to hold onto the 24-23 advantage heading into the locker room.

"This loss was a tough one to swallow,” said UAlbany head coach Trina Patterson, whose team was held to 33.3 percent shooting from the floor, despite causing 16 Cornell turnovers. “We still have to find the right combination of players and play the full 40 minutes."

McGee and Johnson both finished with 10 points for the Great Danes, while both players also grabbed a team-high five rebounds, along with sophomore Kim Clements. Shanna Scarselletta grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds for Cornell, while Benson finished with seven points, nine assists and two steals.

"This was supposed to be our game to take home,” said Aiken, who shot 6-of-15 from the floor and handed out a team-high five assists. “When we have a lead, we need to learn how to keep it. We can't go five or six minutes without scoring. We need to be able to grind it out for the second half and the whole game."

Three UAlbany Players Named to NFHCA Division I Field Hockey All-Northeast Regional Team

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. – Senior midfielder Michelle Simpson was named the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division I All-Northeast Regional First Team for the second time, as announced by the organization on Wednesday. Senior defender Michele Polizois and junior forward Nicole Savage earned all-region second-team honors for the first time in their careers.

Simpson, the America East Conference Midfielder of the Year, finished second on the team in scoring with 10 goals and 12 assists for 32 total points. Simpson, a three-time all-conference honoree, was recently chosen to compete in the NFHCA Division I Senior All-Star game, to take place at Louisville on Nov. 22. Simpson concluded her career with the Great Danes second all-time in career points (101) and fourth in career goals (37) and assists (27).

Polizois was named the conference’s defender of the year after leading the America East with 14 goals and seven assists for 35 points. Polizois, who earned all-conference accolades for the second time in her career, is ranked on several of UAlbany’s career charts, finishing her four-year career fifth in points (87), goals (34) and assists (19). Savage earned all-conference first team honors after being named to the second team last season. She scored nine goals this season and added two assists for 20 total points.

UAlbany finished the 2008 season with a loss to top-ranked Maryland in the NCAA Tournament. The Great Danes, who posted a 12-10 record, won the America East Conference Championship title for the first time in the program’s history.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The University of Albany and Keybank Partner to Bring Junior FIRST Lego League Expo To The Campus

KeyBank and the College of Computing and Information partner to host a Lego-inspired expo designed to help youngsters make connections between technology and the real world.

KeyBank has partnered with the University at Albany's College of Computing and Information (CCI) to host a Lego-inspired expo designed to help youngsters make connections between technology and the real world. KeyBank's partnership will support CCI's goal of involving more women in computing and information fields through its Women in Technology (CCIWIT) program.
The College will host the Junior FIRST Lego League (JFLL) Expo on Saturday, November 22, 2008, 1- 4:15 p.m. at the University at Albany's Campus Center Ballroom. Faculty, staff, and students from CCI and KeyBank volunteers will participate with teams of 6 to 9 year-old girls and boys from local schools to develop Lego-based projects around the theme of Climate Connections.

This year's Expo features 13 teams of as many as six children per team, plus a team coach and mentors who are elementary school teachers, CCI students, and parents. Through the project, the grade schoolers will exhibit projects and posters to demonstrate how Lego technology can be used to problem-solve and describe climate issues, while CCI undergraduate and graduate students gain a broader view of computing and information. Reviewers, including local weatherman Noah Francis, will discuss the models and posters with the grade-schoolers, and the teams will participate in an award ceremony.

"I am grateful for KeyBank's support and shared vision for the Lego League Expo and for the future of technology," said CCI Dean Peter Bloniarz. "It represents a first and early step in providing students with a practical experience that blends technology and how it will be used."

"Providing today's kids with opportunities to gain confidence and build knowledge is an investment in developing tomorrows leaders," said Jeffrey Stone, president, Capital Region, KeyBank N.A. "It is with great pride that Key supports FIRST and the Junior Lego League. In addition to introducing kids to technology, the experience of teamwork and accomplishment will motivate them to strive for even greater achievements in their lives."

CCI’s Women in Technology program is dedicated to encouraging girls and women to pursue undergraduate and graduate studies in the fields related to computer science, informatics, and information science. Nationally, women represent 59 percent of undergraduate degree recipients, while women comprise just 21 percent of computer sciences graduates. Research shows that more than one million new computer and information-related jobs will be added to the U.S. job market by 2014, yet the nation's universities will only graduate enough computer science students to fill about half of these positions.

"New courses emphasizing today’s reality in the computer sciences -- multimedia, robotics, virtual worlds -- are increasingly being used to add zip to introductory computing classes," said CCI Dean Bloniarz. "Students are responding well. But the future of computing lies in recruiting and educating a diverse pool of students -- we need to gain the acceptance and interest of girls at an early age so that by the time they come to university they are energized about computer science and all it has to offer, including solid employment."

The JFLL program is designed by the company FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and LEGO for children 6 to 9 years old to introduce children to basic design skills and a hands-on approach to science and technology through the familiarity and fun of LEGO building.

Contact(s): Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

UAlbany Basketball's Second-Half Charge Held Off By Big East Opponent DePaul, 75-64

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Chicago, Ill. -- Dar Tucker had 23 points and Will Walker added 19 in leading DePaul to a 75-64 victory over UAlbany in the home team’s season opener at McGrath Arena on Monday, Nov. 17. The Blue Demons, who compete in the highly-talented Big East Conference, have won 20 of their last 21 home debuts.

DePaul (1-0) led 19-13 midway through the first half, but then ripped off 11 of the game’s next 13 points. Walker, a 6-foot junior, was fouled while making a layup following his steal for a three-point play to begin that run. Jabari Currie, a senior who tallied all 11 of his points in the period, added another conventional three-pointer when he hit a scoop shot and was fouled. Jeremiah Kelly, a freshman guard, then buried a long-range 3-point shot for a 30-15 advantage with 7:49 left in the period.

After UAlbany’s Brian Connelly canned an 18-footer to close the gap to 34-25, the Blue Demons ran off nine straight points. Tucker, a 6’5” sophomore, tallied the first seven markers in that outburst. He connected on a layup following Kelly’s steal, added another three-point play when he finished off Mac Koshwal’s outlet pass, and delivered a slam dunk for a 41-25 lead with 2:20 remaining before the break.

UAlbany (0-2) still trailed 55-38 in the second half, but then gave its Big East opponent some anxious moments the rest of the way. The Great Danes went on a 13-2 run to get back into the contest. Mike Johnson began that stretch when he beat the shot clock with a long-range jumper. Freshman Louis Barraza, who had 13 points as a reserve, canned a pair of 3-pointers, including one from the right wing that brought his club within 57-51 with 8:18 to play.

The Blue Demons, who were playing a regular-season game on campus for the first time since 1999, would eventually push the lead back to double figures. Walker, who scored 12 in the final stanza, buried a step-back 19-footer, before Koshwal made one of two foul shots for a 63-53 margin. UAlbany whittled the lead to six points two more times, including 65-59 when Johnson put back Connelly’s missed jumper at the 2:11 mark. Johnson, a junior college transfer, finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

However, DePaul would use free throws to keep its lead safe by making its next 7-of-8 from the line. Tucker, who connected on 7-of-16 from the floor, and Koshwal, a 6’10 center who also earned Big East all-rookie honors last year, each made two from the charity stripe. Walker, who canned 8-of-14 field goals, later sealed the verdict with a steal and a layup.

“Our guys played hard, but they don’t play smart right now,” said UAlbany coach Will Brown, whose program was facing consecutive Big East opponents for the first time since December 2004. “We gave up too many transition points in the first half, but our defense was better in the second half. We didn’t help ourselves again with the turnovers and gave them too many opportunities. We are playing fast and are too impatient.”

DePaul’s Kelly was the fourth player in double figures with 10 points. The Blue Demons, who have won all 11 meetings with America East Conference teams in their history, forced the visitors into 20 turnovers. UAlbany’s Will Harris, a Virginia transfer, had 11 points and seven rebounds. Scotty McRae added nine points, all in the opening half, off the bench.

NEC Football Champion UAlbany Awaits Opponent for Gridiron Classic on Saturday, Dec. 6

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. – After winning its second consecutive Northeast Conference football championship last Saturday, UAlbany awaits its opponent for the Gridiron Classic, an exempted postseason game that the Great Danes will host on Saturday, Dec. 6 at a time to be determined. The Pioneer Football League champion will be decided on Nov. 22 when Dayton travels to Jacksonville.

UAlbany (8-3, NEC 7-0) became just the second team in NEC history to go undefeated against conference opposition in back-to-back seasons with last Saturday’s 30-11 victory over Wagner. The Great Danes, who own the longest active Division I FCS conference streak with 13 straight wins in league play, captured their fourth NEC crown and third championship outright.

A clash of high-caliber defenses and offenses will be featured in Saturday’s Pioneer League championship game. Dayton (9-2, PFL 6-1) is ranked No. 1 in rushing defense (53.5 ypg), plus is ranked fourth in points allowed (15.0 ppg) and fifth in total defense (250.4 ypg). DE Scott Vossler (37 tackles, 7.5 sacks) and S Scott Vossler (67 tackles, 10 PBUs) lead the unit. Jacksonville (8-3, PFL 6-1) is 14th nationally in scoring offense (34.7 ppg) and 22nd in total offense (402.9 ypg). RB Rudell Small, the league’s offensive player of the week, is averaging 112.1 rushing yards and has scored 15 touchdowns. The Dolphins are coached by former University of Florida and professional quarterback Kerwin Bell.

UAlbany Paw Prints

... UAlbany will make its second consecutive Gridiron Classic appearance on Dec. 6 ... Dayton defeated the Great Danes, 42-21, at Welcome Stadium last year ...

... the Great Danes have posted seven straight wins, tying the third longest active streak among NCAA Division I FCS programs ... James Madison (9) and Appalachian State (8) are the lone teams with longer streaks ...

... UAlbany has the longest active FCS conference streak with 13 straight wins against league opponents ...

... UAlbany is the second team in NEC history to go unbeaten against league opponents in back-to-back seasons ... Robert Morris accomplished that feat in 1999 and 2000 ...

... the Great Danes have tied their highest single-season win total at the FCS level ... UAlbany went 8-4 in both 2002 and 2007 ...

... TB David McCarty (LaSalle Institute) shattered five school records last Saturday, including career rushing yards (3,082) and single-season rushing yards (1,581) ...

... WR Tim Bush (Saratoga Springs) caught 10 passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns vs. Wagner, and broke Dan Gmelin’s single-season receptions record (58) ...

... McCarty has won or shared NEC Offensive Player of the Week honors five times this season ...

... the Great Danes' defensive unit has held five consecutive opponents under 300 total yards ...

... FS Dave Casale (Troy) set the the program’s FCS single-season standard with his sixth interception ...

Monday, November 17, 2008

UAlbany Men's Basketball Continues Against The Big East's DePaul Blue Demons

There is a difference between respect and fear.

The University at Albany’s basketball team will be a huge underdog against a Big East opponent for the second straight game, but the Great Danes won’t be intimidated when they visit DePaul tonight at 8:30 at the McGrath Arena.

UAlbany opened the season with a 78-60 loss at Villanova Friday night. After falling behind, 40-24, at halftime, the Danes whittled their deficit to 11 points late in the game, only to see the 23rd-ranked Wildcats pull away.

Albany head coach Will Brown liked what he saw from his young team, which has eight new faces from last year’s 15-15 club. He took the team to the Indiana Pacers vs. Chicago Bulls NBA game Saturday night to help get them in the mood to play the Blue Demons.

“I thought our team was fearless, probably to a fault,” said Brown. “We played really hard against Villanova, but we just didn’t make the best basketball decisions. That was the tough thing.

“Our energy was good, and our effort was good, but we need to get better at paying attention to the details. Villanova was an experienced, talented team, and they pressured us into making too many mistakes.”

The Great Danes committed 20 turnovers against Villanova, including several late in the game when they were trying to make their comeback bid.

“Overall, I think we played well. We got within 11 points, and we had the ball with about five minutes left. But we missed the front end of a one-and-one. Then Villanova gets a shot off just as the shot clock expired, they get the rebound and they score. That happened a couple of times to us.

“Throw in the fact that we were only 9-for-19 from the line and turned the ball over 20 times, and you can see that we didn’t do enough to help ourselves. I truly believe that should have been a single-digit loss.”

Freshman point guard Anthony Raffa and junior swingman Will Harris, a transfer from Virginia, led the Great Danes with 13 points each against the Wildcats.

Raffa’s total was the best colleg­iate debut for a Great Dane since Jon Iati scored 15 against Siena on Nov. 21, 2003.

Sophomore guard Tim Ambrose, senior forward Brian Connolly and junior center Brett Gifford, who grabbed a career-high sevenrebounds against Villanova, are the other likely starters for the Danes against the Blue Demons.

DePaul returns five letterman and three starters from a year ago. Mac Koshwal, a 6-foot-10, 240-pound center, averaged 10.7 points and 8.4 rebounds last year. Dar Tucker, a 6-4 sophomore,

produced 13.6 ppg, while junior guard Will Walker added 9.6ppg.

Other key players for DePaul are 7-2, 260-pound center Kene Obia and 6-11, 245-pound center Krys Faber. Both are freshmen. Point guard Jabari Currie, a 6-4 senior, is the first player since Rod Strickland to lead the Blue Demons in assists his first two sasons.

This will be the first-ever meeting between the teams.

“They’ve got two NBA-type players in Koshwal and Tucker,” said Brown. “Koshwal is a big, athletic post player, while Tucker is a terrific perimeter shooter.

“I expect them to play an up-tempo game. They’ve got a lot of guys who can score the ball, and they’ll try to run often. When Tucker gets the ball, he just turns toward the other basket and starts dribbling as quickly as he can.”

Courtesy: Bob Weiner

Regular Season Champion UAlbany Volleyball Set To Hold America East Volleyball Championship This Weekend

The Great Danes, by virtue of their number one seed, wrapped up the right to host the event last weekend and will face fourth-seeded University of Maine at 7 p.m. Friday, November 21 in the semifinals. The other semifinal will pit two seed Binghamton University and three seed UMBC at 4 p.m. The final between the two semifinal winners is scheduled for Saturday, November 22 at 4 p.m.

The Great Danes wrapped up just the third undefeated America East regular season since the conference moved to the current format of playing each league team twice. Albany has hosted the tournament four of the last five years, with the exception of last year's championship, and is the two-time defending champion. The Great Danes have won three out of the last four championships, earning automatic berths into the NCAA Tournament each time.

Besides Albany, Binghamton is the last team to win the tournament title, doing so in 2005. Binghamton dropped both matches to the Great Danes this year, but is 3-1 against the rest of the championship competition this season.

UMBC, entering the weekend still without an official playoff berth, moved into the third spot in the standings via a tiebreaker with Maine that came down to percentage of points won in head-to-head competition with the Black Bears. The Retrievers, who came one set away from winning the 2006 trophy, returns to the tournament after missing out on a berth last season.

Maine also returns to the America East Championship after a brief drought. The Black Bears made their last appearance in 2005 and are still looking for that elusive first championship title. Maine has not finished higher than third since the program began in 1999 and but has reached the title game in 2004 and 2001 via semifinal upsets.

The 2008 America East Volleyball Championship will be held at University Gymnasium on the Albany campus and will begin this Friday, November 21. The champion, who will receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Championship, will be crowned on Saturday, November 22. The Championship banquet will take place the eve of the tournament, also on the Albany campus.

2008 America East Volleyball Championship
University Gymnasium, Albany, N.Y.
Friday, November 21 - Semifinals
#2 Binghamton vs. #3 UMBC, 4 p.m.
#1 Albany vs. #4 Maine, 7 p.m.

Saturday, November 22 - Final
Binghamton/UMBC vs. Albany/Maine, 4 p.m.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

UAlbany Women's Volleyball Finishes Regular Season Undefeated At 12-0 In America East Conference Action

UAlbany Women's Volleyball Finishes Regular Season 12-0 In America East Conference Action. The Great Danes wrapped up the regular season America East title last weekend. They will host the America East Conference Championship Tournament starting this Friday at University Gymnasium. More to come...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

UAlbany Wins Second Consecutive Northeast Conference Football Championship in 30-11 Triumph

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. – David McCarty rushed for 104 yards and one touchdown and Tim Bush caught a pair of scoring passes, as UAlbany won its second consecutive Northeast Conference championship with a 30-11 victory over Wagner on Saturday, Nov. 15 at University Field. UAlbany (8-3, NEC 7-0) became the second team in league history to go undefeated against conference opposition in back-to-back seasons.

The Great Danes, who have earned a Gridiron Class berth against the Pioneer League champion on Dec. 6, led 9-5 in the second quarter, but then ripped off 21 unanswered points to take control. In a penalty-filled game, UAlbany executed an 11-play, 91-yard scoring drive late in the period. Quarterback Vinny Esposito hit fullback Chris Kenneally with a 30-yard pass to move across midfield, before delivering a pair throws to Bush to get into the red zone. McCarty then busted through the left side and dragged a couple of tacklers across the goal line on an 11-yard run with 1:16 left before halftime. The junior tailback set the program’s career and single-season rushing records on the touchdown blast.

The two teams traded punts in the early part of the third quarter until Wagner (3-8, NEC 1-6) advanced near midfield. But quarterback Matt Abbey was picked off in the left flat by cornerback Daniel Avery and the redshirt freshman raced up the sideline on a 56-yard touchdown return. The Great Danes pushed out to a 30-5 lead with 12:49 remaining in the final period. Esposito, who completed 15 of 25 passes for 197 yards, hooked up with Bush on a 27-yard touchdown strike. Bush hauled in a career-high 10 passes for 141 yards in the contest.

“It is hard to beat anybody,” said UAlbany coach Bob Ford, whose team won its fourth NEC title and third conference crown outright. “We have all seen favorites get upset and we have all seen good football teams lose. It is hard to beat anybody, it is hard to go undefeated, and it is hard to go undefeated two years in a row when you are picked to win the championship.”

In the second quarter, the Great Danes snapped a 3-3 deadlock with a short drive that was set up by Justin Gannon’s 32-yard kickoff return. After two runs by McCarty, Esposito connected with Bush on a 35-yard post pattern for a touchdown. But the extra point attempt was blocked by linebacker Jason Haskins and defensive back Jorel Joseph returned the loose ball 82 yards for a defensive two-point conversion.

The Seahawks, who were held to 154 total yards, scored with three minutes remaining in the final stanza when reserve quarterback Tyler Newberry tossed a 2-yard pass to tight end Morgan Mizell. Wagner’s three quarterbacks combined for 11-of-37 through the air and were intercepted three times.

“When we (the seniors) first came in we realized how much work it takes (to win a championship), said defensive tackle Tom Pandolf, who had four tackles and helped limit Wagner to 85 net yards on the ground. “You wouldn’t want to go out any other way. We just tried to treat each game like a championship.”

UAlbany’s defense kept its fifth consecutive opponent under 300 total yards in a sparkling effort. Freshman tailback Prince Young managed just 65 rushing yards on 17 carries. Linebacker Chris Simpson and defensive end Eddie Delaney each had a team-high seven tackles, as their squad tied the program’s Division I FCS record for single-season wins and extended its winning streak to seven in a row, tying another FCS mark.

McCarty shattered five school records on the day, including the single-season mark for 100-yard rushing games with 10 and the career standard with 18. ““It feels great,” he said. “This is something to be proud of, but we still have another game to play. It shows what kind of offensive line you have. I tell them every day that they do a heckuva of a job. All of the guys on the perimeter do a great job. I praise the whole offense.”

UAlbany Field Hockey Falls to Top-Ranked Maryland, 4-2, in NCAA Tournament

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

College Park, Md. – Susie Rowe recorded two goals and one assist to lead No. 1 Maryland to a 4-2 win over No. 20 UAlbany in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Division I Field Hockey Tournament on Saturday afternoon at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex.

The Terrapins jumped out quickly, scoring two goals in the first 10 minutes of play. Nicole Muracco struck first at 3:43 with a hard shot from the middle of the circle. Rowe added her first goal in the eighth minute, as Katie O’Donnell gathered the ball in a scramble in front of the cage and passed over to Rowe, who slipped the ball past UAlbany goalkeeper Ashley Ross. The Great Danes would get on the scoreboard before the end of the first half, as junior forward Nicole Savage dribbled in and knocked an unassisted shot into the cage at 26:46.

Maryland (19-2) went ahead 3-1 early in the second stanza, as Danielle Keeley took an assist from Rowe on a penalty corner in the 39th minute. Rowe then gave the Terrapins their largest lead of the game with a penalty corner goal at 53:29 off an assist by Alexis Pappas. Jess Lindsey would cut the Great Danes’ deficit in half late in the game on UAlbany’s only penalty corner of the game. Senior Michele Polizois passed the ball back to Lindsey off the initial insert and Lindsey was able to shoot the ball past Maryland goalkeeper Alicia Grater.

Maryland outshot the Great Danes, 20-7, and held an 8-1 advantage in penalty corners. Grater made two saves in the cage for the Terrapins while Ross stopped nine of Maryland’s 13 shots on goal in the game.

“It was a very good experience overall,” said UAlbany head coach Phil Sykes, who led the Great Danes to the program’s first-ever conference title this season. “We came out a little nervous in the first 10 minutes, but we calmed down. We had several good opportunities in the second half to make it an interesting game, but we couldn’t capitalize. The team didn’t get overwhelmed with their opponent or the situation and I’m really proud of them for that.”

UAlbany finishes the season with a 12-10 overall record, and ends the year in the national rankings for the second consecutive season.

#20 UAlbany (12-10) 1 1 - 2
#1 Maryland (19-2) 2 2 - 4

UAlbany: Scoring – Nicole Savage (1-0), Jess Lindsey (1-0), Michele Polizois (0-1). Goalkeeper – Ashley Ross (70:00, 4 GA, 9 saves).

Maryland: Scoring – Susie Rowe (2-1), Nicole Muracco (1-0), Danielle Keeley (1-0), Katie O’Donnell (0-1), Alexis Pappas (0-1). Goalkeeper – Alicia Grater (70:00, 2 GA, 2 saves).

UAlbany Field Hockey Enters NCAA Tournament 1st Round Against #1 Seed Maryland Today At 11:30

Courtesy: UA Sports Info

UAlbany (12-9) was ranked or receiving votes in the NFHCA Division I National Coaches’ Poll every week this season. The Great Danes jumped back into the national rankings after winning the conference title, standing at 20th when the poll was released earlier today. UAlbany faced several nationally-ranked teams during the regular season, including NCAA participants Syracuse, Connecticut and Michigan. The Great Danes defeated the Wolverines, 3-2.

UAlbany, currently on a five-game winning streak, is led by all-conference performers Michele Polizois and Michelle Simpson. Polizois, the America East’s defensive player of the year, leads the team with 14 goals and six assists for 34 total points. Simpson, the conference’s midfielder of the year in 2008 and an All-America performer last season, added 10 goals and 12 assists for 32 points. Senior goalkeeper Ashley Ross, a four-time all-conference honoree, started all but one game in the cage for the Great Danes, recording 94 saves for a 1.98 goals against average. UAlbany is coached by Phil Sykes, who was recognized as the America East coach of the year for guiding the Great Danes to their first-ever conference championship and NCAA berth.

“This has been a very unique year for college field hockey,” said Sykes, now in his fifth season at the helm of the UAlbany program. “There has not been the usual four or five extremely dominant teams. In years past this match up would have been pretty daunting, but based on how tough our schedule was, we feel like we can compete with anyone.”

Maryland (18-2) earned the NCAA Tournament’s top seed after winning its seventh Atlantic Coast Conference championship in thrilling 4-3 triumph over Wake Forest on Nov. 9. Missy Meharg, a six-time NFHCA national coach of the year who is in her 21st season, has led the Terrapins to four national championships (1993, 1999, 2005 & 2006). Senior back Susie Rowe was recently named the 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year. A two-time first-team All-America selection, Rowe leads her team in scoring with 23 goals and 15 assists. Katie O’Donnell, a sophomore forward, was voted this season’s ACC Offensive Player of the Year after accounting for 18 goals and 20 assists. She earned first-team All-America recognition as a freshman. Goalkeeper Alicia Grater has allowed just 20 goals and made 68 saves in 20 starting assignments.

“It is a great feeling making history for the UAlbany field hockey program,” Simpson said. “We are going to approach it just like any other game. We know Maryland is a good team, but we also know that we have a lot of talent, and we’re playing the best field hockey that we can right now.”

Duke and Connecticut will square off in the other first-round game in College Park, Md. The winners of the two opening-round games will play a second-round contest on Sunday, also on the campus of Maryland.

2008 Division I NCAA Field Hockey Championship
First Round, College Park, Md.

Saturday, Nov. 15
Maryland (18-2) vs. UAlbany (12-9), 11:30 a.m.
Connecticut (17-3) vs. Duke (14-5), 2:00 p.m.

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