Thursday, May 6, 2010

Women's Lacrosse Drops 11-9 Decision to UMBC in America East Conference Semifinal Round

Albany, N.Y. - Sophomore attack Emily Coady had three of her four goals in the second half, as UMBC knocked off top seed UAlbany, 11-9, in the semifinals of the America East Conference Tournament on Thursday, May 6 at John Fallon Field. UMBC will meet five-time defending champion Boston University, a 10-6 winner in its semifinal, in Saturday's championship.

UMBC (11-6) trailed by three at the break, but regrouped with three unanswered to draw even at five apiece. Alicia Krause intercepted Christine Grueniger's pass at the top of the scoring zone and drove the length of the field to find the net. Amanda Pappas tied the contest by converting a bounce shot in a free-position situation.

UAlbany (13-3) went back in front when Melanie Sosnowski drove between two defenders and hit the upper left corner. The Retrievers answered with four consecutive goals over the next 10 minutes. Pappas tied the contest with a bounce shot, before Coady put her team ahead by working on a defender and spinning to her right shoulder. Coady slid across the top of the crease, moving right to left, for a two-goal margin. Bria Phillips ended the run by driving in the middle and placing a shot just under the crossbar.

The Great Danes, who won the conference regular-season title for the first time since joining the league in 2002, fought back with back-to-back goals by Olivia Jarem and Grueniger. Jarem fired a free-position shot to right of the goalkeeper, before Grueniger sent another free-position chance inside the left post with 3:58 remaining.

The Retrievers, who avenged an 11-10 loss to UAlbany on their home field during the regular schedule, thwarted any comeback attempt with a pair of goals 32 seconds apart. Lindsay Cox drove into the middle of the zone and sent a high shot into the cage. Coady scored on a wraparound, moving from behind to the left of the cage, for an 11-8 lead with 2:20 to play.

"Draw controls are obviously a big part of the game," UAlbany goalkeeper Ashley Ross explained. "When we are not getting in our attack, it is kind of hard to play defense for the whole second half. It is very frustrating to live through, but UMBC is a good team. If they get on a run, they seem to get going. We didn't do enough to step up and stop those runs."

The Great Danes built a 4-0 lead midway through the first half. Grueniger took a pass from Taylor Fink, one of her three assists on the day, and scored from left of the crease with one minute and 23 seconds elapsed. Jarem then split two defenders on a drive from the left side. Rachael Burek and Grueniger found the net 19 seconds apart to complete the outburst. Nikki Branchini keyed the fourth goal when she won the draw that led to the scoring play.

Ashley Stodter, who scored twice, converted a free-position attempt that bounced under the crossbar to get the Retrievers on the scoreboard. UMBC cut the deficit to 5-2 by halftime when Meagan Linkous caused a turnover that led to Coady's fastbreak goal with 19.3 seconds remaining in the period.

"It was an interesting game," offered UAlbany's Lindsey Hart, the America East coach of the year. "I think the tough thing was that early on we probably should have been up more (than we were). We played a lot of defense in the first half, and I think it just wore us down a little bit. I think we really never got into our groove. Even when we were up by a couple, we were concerned and we weren't clicking. They were fighting as hard as they could, but it just wouldn't come through for us today."

UAlbany's Grueniger and Jarem each had three goals, while Ross stopped a career-best 13 shots. UMBC goalkeeper Kate Quick made eight saves.

"It was an awesome four years playing with these girls and for Lindsey (Hart)," said UAlbany senior Kayla Best, who finished her career second on the all-time scoring list. "I will look back four years down the road and I'm sure that (the program) will win the America East (championship). I will then be able to say, ‘hey, I was a part of that.' It was a great experience."

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

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