Wednesday, June 22, 2011

University of Albany Lacrosse All-America Nikki Branchini Chosen America East Woman of the Year - Ualbany sports 2011

Portsmouth, N.H. - University at Albany's Nikki Branchini has been selected the 2011 America East Woman of the Year, as announced on Tuesday, June 7 by Interim Conference Commissioner Shonna Brown. The honor recognizes the conference's senior female student-athlete who has best distinguished herself throughout her collegiate career in the areas of academic achievement, athletic excellence, service and leadership.

As America East Woman of the Year, Branchini's nomination will be forwarded to the NCAA Women of the Year selection committee, who will select the top 10 winners in each NCAA division (I, II and III). From among those 30 honorees, the committee will determine the top three in each division. Finally, the members of the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics (CWA) will vote from among the top nine to determine the 2011 NCAA Woman of the Year.

Branchini, a defensive midfielder on the women's lacrosse team, led UAlbany to its most accomplished season since the program became a varsity sport in 1992. The Great Danes won their first America East Conference championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament's quarterfinal, losing to eventual national champion Northwestern. UAlbany (18-1) was ranked in top 10 nationally in both polls for the first time.

A senior from Guilderland, N.Y., Branchini has a 3.83 cumulative grade point average in history with a minor in education. She was named to the Capital One/CoSIDA District I Academic All-America squad and has made the America East All-Academic Team on three occasions. She was recently awarded an ECAC Merit Medal as the school's top senior female student-athlete and was the recipient of the Chancellor's Scholar-Athlete Award. She has interned at the Albany County District Attorney's Office and at the Albany City School District as a tutor for special education students.

Branchini made her second straight appearance on the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) All-America Team as a second-team selection. She was also voted to the Synapse Sports All-America Team and earned first-team All-Northeast Region honors. During her career, she won or shared America East Player of the Year twice and became the third player in conference history to win multiple top player awards. Branchini is the first UAlbany player to be voted all-region three times and first-team all-conference in all four years. In 2011, she had 21 goals and three assists, plus ranked second nationally in draw controls at 5.26 per game.

Three finalists, which were announced on May 25, were selected from a pool of the nine America East institutional nominations. To be nominated, student-athletes must have completed intercollegiate eligibility in her primary sport by the end of the 2011 spring season, received her undergraduate degree prior to the conclusion of the summer 2011 term and had a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.500 (4.000 scale).

In conjunction with the changes in the nomination process for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, the America East Woman of the Year award was established for the 2005-06 athletic season. Beginning in 2006, the CWA started receiving conference-designated nominees in lieu of the previous institution- and state-based nomination format.


Year-by-Year America East Woman of the Year Honorees

2011 - Nikki Branchini, Albany (lacrosse)
2010 - Emily Pallotta, Boston U. (soccer)
2009 - Kristen Millar, Vermont (lacrosse)
2008 - Sarah Hudak, Boston U. (field hockey)
2007 - Marisa Ryan, Boston U. (cross country/track & field)
2006 - Ashlee Reed, Albany (volleyball)

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

University of Albany's Nikki Branchini & Taylor Frink on 2011 IWLCA All-America Squad as Second-Team Selections

Grand Lake, Colo. - University at Albany's Nikki Branchini and Taylor Frink have been chosen to the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Association Division I All-America Team. Branchini and Frink were each voted the IWLCA All-America second team.

A senior defensive midfielder, Branchini makes her second consecutive appearance on the IWLCA squad after earning third-team recognition last year. She was named first-team All-Northeast Region last week. During her career, Branchini won or shared America East Conference Player of the Year twice and became the third player in conference history to win multiple top player awards. A native of Guilderland, N.Y., Branchini is the first UAlbany player to be voted all-region three times and all-conference on four occasions. She totaled 21 goals and three assists and finished second nationally in draw controls at 5.26 per game this spring.

Branchini, who was also voted to the Synapse Sports All-America team, finished her career ranked first in draw controls (284), second in caused turnovers (85) and tied for tenth in ground balls (168) on the program's all-time lists. She added 44 goals and eight assists.

Frink was selected to her third All-America team this season after being chosen by and Synapse Sports. She led the nation in assists (2.58 pg) and was tenth in scoring at 4.76 points per game as a senior. A first-team IWLCA all-region selection, she established program single-season records for assists (49) and points (83). Frink became the first UAlbany player to be nominated for the Tewaaraton Award as the nation's top player.

A native of Baldwinsville, N.Y., Frink completed her collegiate career as one of the top attackers in school history. She is fifth in scoring with 171 points, first in assists (82) and tied for 10th in goals (89) among UAlbany's all-time leaders.

Branchini and Frink helped UAlbany (18-1) capture the conference's regular-season and tournament championships, plus register a school record for single-season victories. UAlbany made its first NCAA Tournament appearance since the program became a varsity sport in 1992, before losing to eventual national champion Northwestern in the quarterfinal round. The Great Danes were ranked in both the IWLCA and deBeer/Inside Lacrosse national polls for most of the 2011 campaign.


2011 Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association All-America Team
First Team - Allyson Carey, Jr., Vanderbilt, Midfield; Kitty Cullen, So., Florida, Attack; Brittany Dipper, Jr., Maryland, Goalkeeper; Jackie Doherty, Sr., Notre Dame, Defense; Corey Donohoe, Sr., North Carolina, Attack; Leslie Foard, Sr., Stanford, Midfield; Grace Gavin, Sr., Loyola, Attack; Emma Hamm, Jr., Duke, Attack; Mia Hurrin, Sr., North Carolina, Defense; Kristin Igoe, Sr., Boston College, Midfield; Christie Kaestner, Sr., Duke, Attack; Logan McCraw, Sr., Georgetown, Defense; Laura Merrifield, Sr., Maryland, Midfield; Sarah Mollison, Sr., Maryland, Attack; Katie Schwarzmann, So., Maryland, Midfield; Shannon Smith, Jr., Northwestern, Attack; Taylor Thornton, So., Northwestern, Defense

Second Team - Shaylyn Blaney, Sr., Notre Dame, Midfield; Nikki Branchini, Sr., Albany, Defense; Erin Brennan, Jr., Pennsylvania, Attack; Kat Collins, Sr., Dartmouth, Attack; Liz Downs, Sr., Virginia, Defense; Lizzie Drumm, Sr., Princeton, Midfield; Taylor Frink, Sr., Albany, Attack; Katie Gallagher, Sr., Maryland, Defense; Kristen Giovanniello, Fr., Dartmouth, Goalkeeper; Grace Golden, Sr., William & Mary, Midfield; Becky Lynch, Jr., North Carolina, Attack; Shannie MacKenzie, Sr., Dartmouth, Defense; Alayna Markwordt, Jr., Ohio State, Attack; Abby Rehfuss, Sr., Loyola, Midfield; Kat Thomas, Jr., Duke, Midfield; Kim Wenger, Jr., Duke, Midfield; Brittney Zerhusen, Sr., Ohio State, Attack

Third Team - Casey Ancarrow, So., James Madison, Attack; Ashley Bruns, So., Florida, Attack; Lindsey deButts, Jr., Princeton, Defense; Lauren Dykstra, Sr., Lehigh, Midfield; Bergan Foley, Sr., Louisville, Attack; Alex Frank, Jr., Northwestern, Midfield; Julie Gardner, Jr., Virginia, Attack; Ana Heneberry, Jr., Loyola, Defense; Sarah Jonson, Sr., William & Mary, Defense; Jackie Lyons, Sr., Massachusetts, Attack; Colleen Magarity, Sr., Northwestern, Defense; Lauren Schmidt, Sr., Stanford, Midfield; Maggie Tamasitis, Jr., Notre Dame, Attack; Sophia Thomas, So., Georgetown, Midfield; Erin Tochihara, Sr., Princeton, Goalkeeper; Brittany Wilton, Jr., Boston College, Attack; Laura Zimmerman, Jr., North Carolina, Midfield

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

UAlbany's Dave Kubiak Selected by Tampa Bay Rays in Major League Baseball Draft

Albany, N.Y. - University at Albany's Dave Kubiak became the seventh player in the baseball program's history to be chosen in the Major League Baseball Draft when the Tampa Bay Rays took him in the 36th round on Wednesday, June 8. Kubiak, a senior pitcher, was the 1,109th player selected in the 2011 MLB Draft.

Kubiak, a 6-foot-7, 245-pound right hander, was the Great Danes' ace pitcher, starting 14 games on the mound this season. He recorded a 4.72 ERA as a senior, and led the UAlbany pitching staff with 73 strikeouts, which tied for fourth on the single-season chart. He threw five complete games, including one shutout, and allowed just 43 earned runs in 82 innings of work. Kubiak finished his four-year career as the UAlbany program leader with 227 strikeouts and 278 innings pitched. His 82 innings this season was good for second on the single-season record board.

"We are very excited for Dave and his family as he takes on his next challenge," said UAlbany head coach Jon Mueller. "We wish him the best of luck in the future."

Kubiak, a native of Southold, N.Y., becomes the first UAlbany player chosen in the MLB Draft since first baseman Mike Konstanty in 2008. Konstanty was drafted in the 39th round by the Cincinnati Reds, following Tom Hill, who was picked by the Kansas City Royals in the 34th round of 2007's draft. Terry Kenny was the first Great Dane to be drafted in 1974, when San Francisco selected him in the ninth round. In the Division I era, Steve Checksfield (Houston, 10th round) was drafted in 2001, Mike Grasso (Atlanta, 11th round) was picked in 2002 and Adam Kroft (San Diego, 30th round was chosen in 2004.


UAlbany Baseball in the MLB Draft (Division I era)

2001 - Steve Checksfield, Houston, 10th round

2002 - Mike Grasso, Atlanta, 11th round

2004 - Adam Kroft, San Diego, 30th round

2007 - Tom Hill, Kansas City, 34th round

2008 - Mike Konstanty, Cincinnati, 39th round

2011 - Dave Kubiak, Tampa Bay, 36th round

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