Sunday, September 30, 2012

#23 UAlbany Field Hockey Defeats #25 Louisville, 3-1

Courtesy: UAlbany Athletics

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Jessica Longstreth scored the gamewinner, and also added an assist to lead #23 UAlbany to a 3-1 victory over #25 Louisville in non-conference field hockey action on Sunday afternoon at Alumni Turf Field. The Great Danes improve to 5-6 on the season.

The two teams played a scoreless first half before UAlbany got on the board just two minutes into the second half. Brianna Schwoyer crossed the ball in front of the cage where Kelly Bonner got tipped the ball behind Louisville goalkeeper Erin Conrad. The Great Danes doubled their score in the 55th minute, as Longstreth picked up a rebound off Corinne McConville's initial shot on a penalty corner and connected for a goal.

UAlbany took a 3-0 lead at 60:25 when Voormolen hit a hard shot from the left top of the circle on a penalty corner. Longstreth passed the ball directly to Voormolen, who connected for the score. Louisville tried to rally, getting on the board a minute later on a goal from Amber Thomas, with an assist to Alyssa Voelmle. The Great Dane defense held on, despite several late penalty corners for the Cardinals, defeating the 25th ranked team in the country for the second week in a row.

The Great Danes continued to control the stats sheet, outshooting Louisville, 22-7, and holding a 13-5 advantage in penalty corners. UAlbany goalkeeper Kristi Troch made two saves in a complete-game effort, while Conrad stopped 11 shots for Louisville (7-5).

Saturday, September 29, 2012

UAlbany FCS Football Hammers Monmouth Hawks, 55-24, In Program's 250th Win

ALBANY, N.Y. - The University at Albany football team proved once again its readiness to play at the next level Saturday afternoon at University Field, as the Great Danes earned a commanding, 55-24, victory over the visiting Monmouth University Hawks. With the varsity program's 250th win, UAlbany improved to 4-1 on the season and 2-0 in the Northeast Conference. Monmouth dropped to 3-2 and was handed its first league loss of the fall (2-1).

"I think we played, at times, absolutely lights out. As good as we could play," said Head Coach Bob Ford.

Combining for 263 rushing yards, senior Drew Smith piloted the ground game with 109 rushing yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns in the victory. Kevin Chillis averaged 28.7 yards per carry, as he totaled 86 yards and a touchdown on three carries. Likewise, Presley Beauvais handled the ball three times, contributing a 67-yard touchdown run. All three Great Dane players single-handedly out-rushed the Monmouth team as a whole, as the Hawks managed just 53 rushing yards against the UAlbany defense.

Quarterback Will Fiacchi recorded his third 200-plus yard passing game this season, as he completed 16-of-30 attempts for 248 yards and two touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Ryan Kirchner was the go-to man of the afternoon, hauling in five passes for 121 yards and a score. With 142 receptions, he is now just five catches away from tying the program career receptions record. Chillis was also key in the passing game, with twocatches and a touchdown for a 52receiving yards. The junior from Buffalo, N.Y. totaled a career-high 196 all-purpose yards in the victory.

As a whole, the UAlbany offense was outstanding, going 11-for-18 on third-down conversions and 1-for-1 on fourth-downs. "That's phenomenal," Coach Ford commented. "Against that defense, that's phenomenal. I give Ryan McCarthy and our offensive staff and Mike Simpson and our defensive staff a lot of credit. I think we're well prepared going into ball games and it shows."

Defensively, the Great Danes stepped up to the challenge of facing the NEC's top offensive team on paper. Not only did the UAlbany defense hold the Hawks to 53 yards on the ground, they disrupted the passing game with three interceptions. Senior Jon Morgan led the team with seven tackles, including six solo, while also breaking up two passes. Chris Wilk brought down five, as Dean Mercuris, Jake Dwyer, and Tramaine Wilson recorded picks and ran for over 10 yards each.

On their first drive of the afternoon, the bus ride up from Jersey seemed to have no effect, as the Hawks took a quick 7-0 lead, following a 12-play, 82-yard drive down the gridiron. However, that would be the last lead for Monmouth the rest of the way.

What looked like a quick three-and-out turned out to be the turning point of the game. With fourth-and-10 on the 23-yard line, Coach Ford called for a fake punt, resulting in Chillis running for 77 yards into the end zone.

“I thought we could (convert)," said Ford when questioned on the spectacular and surprising play call. "And because I’m 75-years-old and I can call anything I want to call.”

With the game tied, 7-7, after Sean Kenny's kick, the Danes' defense forced the Hawks to punt. On the very first play of the drive, Fiacchi passed to Kirchner down the left sideline, and the Rumson, N.J. native legged out an 81-yard touchdown to give UAlbany the lead for good.

With 1:27 to go in the first quarter, Smith gave the Great Danes a 21-7 advantage, following a 61-yard rushing touchdown past the Hawk's secondary.

The pace slowed slightly in the second quarter, as both squads traded field goals, starting with Kenny's 18-yarder at the 8:47 mark. On their next drive, Monmouth's kicker, Eric Spillane, responded with one of his own from 38 yards out, making the score 24-10.

Out of the halftime break, UAlbany struck first, with Smith's four-yard rush across the goal line with 11:08 on the clock. After Wilson's interception put the ball back into the hands of the host team, the Great Danes widened the gap with Kenny's 49-yard field goal. Not only was it a career-best for the reigning NEC Special Teams Player of the Week, but it also tied for the second-longest made field goal all-time at UAlbany.

Despite trailing by 24 points mid-way through the third quarter, the Hawks did not go silently. Monmouth quarterback Kyle Frazier completed a 38-yard touchdown pass to Neal Sterling and on the kickoff following the score, the Hawks forced and recovered the Great Danes' fumble, putting the ball right back into their hands. The Hawks capitalized and made it a 10-point game, 34-24, heading into the fourth quarter.

However, mirroring the first period, UAlbany put 21 points up on the board in the final stanza, while the defense shut out the visitors. It only took one play for the Great Danes to end the drought, as Fiacchi connected a 44-yard pass to Chillis who accelerated out of the Hawks' reach.

Defensive end Dean Mercuris quickly gave the Danes possession once again, snagging the ball off the line and ran 17 yards before being brought down at midfield. Smith entered the end zone for the third time, capping the 11-play, 53-yard drive with a seven yard explosive run up the middle, doubling up the Hawks, 48-24, with 7:20 on the clock.

With just under a minute and a half to go in the game, Beauvais, a redshirt freshman, recorded his first career touchdown, breaking away with a 67-yard scamper to give UAlbany their last points of the day.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

UAlbany Women's Soccer's C. DeVerna Nets Two Goals To Lead UAlbany Over Stony Brook

ALBANY, N.Y. - Senior midfielder Chelsea DeVerna tallied two goals in UAlbany's win over Stony Brook, 4-1, on Thursday, September 27 at the Plumeri Sports Complex. Teammate senior midfielder Maggie DeVerna helped with one goal and twp assists to improve to 1-1 in America East Conference play.

Down one to begin the second half, UAlbany (4-7-1, 1-1 America East) used just 46 seconds to tie the match at one. Midfielder Despina Psomopoulos sent a cross into the box, which was headed off a Stony Brook defender but Chelsea DeVerna took posession of the ball at the top of the box and sent in her fourth goal of the season.

Then the Great Dane offense took off in the final six minutes of the match, scoring three goals. Psomopoulos added to her team-leading assist total with a thru ball at middle field for Maggie DeVerna to score the eventual game-winning goal in the 85th minute.

UAlbany came right back, 28 seconds later, when Maggie DeVerna sent a pass up field to allow Shayla Bergeron score her team-leading seventh goal of the season. Chelsea DeVerna tallied her second goal of the match in the 90th minute to secure the Great Danes first conference win and fourth overall on the season.

In the first half, Stony Brook (6-3-2, 0-1 America East) put up the game's first goal in the fifth minute. Forward Taryn Schoenbeck sent a cross into the box and teammate Larissa Nysch tallied her third goal of the season.

UAlbany goalkeeper Alana Brennan recorded just three saves on four chances for her fourth win of the season. Stony Brook goalkeeper Ashley Castanio made five saves on nine chances to fall to 6-3-2 overall.

The Great Danes look ahead to Binghamton, on the road, on Thursday, October 4 at 7 p.m.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

UAlbany Field Hockey Ranked 23rd in Weekly National Poll

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The University at Albany field hockey team remains among the top-25 Division I programs in the nation, as announced by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association on Tuesday afternoon. The Great Danes, who have been ranked since the first week of the 2010 season, come in 23rd on this weeks poll.

UAlbany (4-5) went 1-1 last week, falling to #18 Lafayette - who moved up to 14th in the poll this week - and defeating #25 Massachusetts, 3-2, over the weekend. The Great Danes were led by junior Corrine McConville, who scored all three goals for UAlbany against the Minutewomen. McConville converted a penalty stroke with 25 seconds left to play in regulation to give the Great Danes the victory. She scored her other two goals on penalty corner opportunities.

UAlbany will continue its tough schedule this weekend, kicking off America East Conference play on Friday, hosting #12 Boston U. (6-3) before welcoming #25 Louisville (7-3) to Alumni Turf Field on Sunday.

Following the Louisville game, the Great Danes will be hosting a Stick it to Cancer clinic on the turf. The clinic, open to all field hockey players from grades 7-12, will take place from approximately 4:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The clinic will cost $5 per participant, and all proceeds will go to the National Foundation for Cancer Research.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

#21 UAlbany Defeats 25th-Ranked UMass, 3-2; McConville Records Hat Trick

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

AMHERST, MASS. -- Junior Corrine McConville recorded a hat trick to lead #21 UAlbany to a 3-2 win over 25th-ranked Massachusetts in non-conference field hockey action on Sunday afternoon at Garber Field.

UMass jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half with goals just under six minutes apart. Lindsay Bowman scored first for the Minutewomen, taking an assist from Alexis Sikalis at 16:54. Nicole Cordero doubled the score for UMass at 21:02, as Brooke Sabia passed the ball into the circle, where Cordero got her stick on it for the score. McConville got UAlbany on the board before the end of the first half, on a penalty corner in the 23rd minute.

UMass held onto the 2-1 lead for most of the second half, and it looked like the Minutewomen were going to hold on for the upset. McConville wasn't done, however, and scored her second penalty corner goal of the game, taking assists from Jessica Longstreth and Laura Page on the insert and stop in the 64th minute. As the game ticked towards the end of regulation, UAlbany had just one more shot.

With just 26 seconds left on the clock, the Great Danes got a call in their favor in the circle, leading to a penalty stroke opportunity for McConville. The junior defender flicked the ball past UMass goalkeeper Sam Carlino and gave UAlbany the victory.

UMass (4-6) held a slight 5-4 advantage in shots, while the Great Danes had a 4-3 advantage in penalty corners. Kristi Troch made four saves in the cage for UAlbany, while Carlino stopped two shots for the Minutewomen, both in complete-game efforts.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

UAlbany FCS Football Knocks Off #23 Maine, 30-20

ORONO, Maine - The University at Albany football team continued to impress all those who have witnessed their play this season, as the Great Danes overcame the No. 23 Maine Black Bears, 30-20, Saturday night at Alfond Stadium.

The Great Danes (3-1) now own a 4-2 series advantage over Maine (1-2) and a 7-5 all-time record against Colonial Athletic Association opponents. In addition, the victory marked the first over a ranked opponent for the UAlbany program since Sept. 19, 2009 when they also beat Maine (ranked 20th), 20-16.

“We looked like two lightweight boxers trading little puffy jabs in there for about three quarters,” said head coach Bob Ford. “We just couldn’t seem to get enough offense going and they couldn’t either to deliver any kind of knockout punch. And then we finally got on track a little bit and got enough offense to hold them off in the end.”

Kicker Sean Kenny made a name for himself, tying the program record with three made field goals in the contest, representing the first nine points of the game. Tailback Drew Smith led the offense with 114 rushing yards on 18 carries, 144 all-purpose yards, and two touchdowns, while Kevin Chillis rushed twice for 88 yards total and accumulated 158 all-purpose yards. Quarterback Will Fiacchi completed 13-of-29 pass attempts for a total of 132 yards.

Totaling 25 yards on three catches, senior Ryan Kirchner moved into sole possession of second place all-time at UAlbany with 137 career receptions. He is now 10 away from tying the program record.

Defensively, Dave Plungas led the squad with nine tackles, while Olatunji Idowu and Jon Morgan each brought down eight.

While neither team scored in the first quarter of play, there was still plenty of drama to keep the fans entertained. After both squads were forced to punt in their opening drives, the Great Danes started their drive with a big carry by Smith. However, as the Guilderland native reached 17-yards, the final hit knocked the ball loose and the Black Bears took over on the visitor's 42-yard line.

In good field position, Dean Mercuris' monstrous sack for a loss of nine yards set the Black Bears back, and UAlbany's defense snuffed out Maine's run game. Maine looked as though they were going to win the race onto the scoreboard with a 31-yard field goal, but the Great Danes special teams, who have been stellar all season long, played spoilers. Jon Morgan batted the kick into the hands of Justinian Mason and the Danes took control of the ball.

UAlbany broke the stalemate with Sean Kenny's 44-yard field goal with 10:45 remaining in the first half, following a nine-play, 25-yard drive.

Kenny put one through the uprights again with 6:12 to go in the half from 39-yards out to give the Great Danes a 6-0 lead.

Making himself the story of the stanza, Kenny finished a perfect 3-for-3 in the second quarter, making a 25-yard field goal in the final seconds of the half to send the Great Danes into the locker room with a 9-0 lead.

Out of the break, Maine scored the first touchdown of the contest at the 10:40 mark in the third quarter. Black Bear quarterback Damarr Aultman connected a 19-yard pass to Marcus Wasilewski to cut the deficit to two points.

However, 18 seconds later the Great Danes responded with Kevin Chillis' 74-yard scamper into the end zone to take a 16-7 advantage after Kenny's extra point.

With 4:10 remaining in the third quarter, the Black Bears slashed into UAlbany's lead with a 31-yard field goal by Brian Harvey, making it a four-point game, 16-10.

For the fourth time in the game, Maine entered the red zone after a 45-yard pass downfield. But, the stellar UAlbany defense forced the Black Bears to settle for a field goal from 30-yards out with 11:59 remaining in the game, and the Great Danes continued to hold a double-digit lead, 23-13.

Although UAlbany was forced to punt on their next possession, a misplayed catch on the falling pigskin at the other end of the field put the ball back into the hands of the Great Danes at the 17-yard line. JoJo McClary recovered the fumble that slipped through Maurice McDonald's arms and put the Danes in great position to put the game away with 10:18 remaining.

However, it was all for naught, as Maine's James Kendall intercepted Fiacchi's pass at the three yard line less than 30 seconds later. Fortunately, UAlbany's spectacular defense did not allow a single yard in the three-and-out, making the Black Bears punt from the back of the end zone.

Drew Smith took advantage of the Great Danes' field position, powering through the defense for a 27-yard rushing touchdown, giving UAlbany a commanding 30-13 lead with 5:48 to go in the game.

In the waning minutes, Maine worked its way down the field for a short pass into the end zone, cutting the deficit to 10. However, that would be as close as the Black Bears would get, as UAlbany ran the clock out the rest of the way.

“It felt good that we went in there and played with them,” said Drew Smith. “Talent wise, we compete with the best of them and we came out here and proved it. We want to prove that we can play in the CAA and we hope we answered some questions tonight.”

The Great Danes return home next Saturday to take on Northeast Conference foe Monmouth University at 1:00 p.m.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

#20 UAlbany Field Hockey Unable to Complete Comeback; Falls to #10 Iowa, 2-1

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

IOWA CITY, IOWA -- Daphne Voormolen scored late in the game to attempt to spark a comeback, but #20 UAlbany fell to 10th-ranked Iowa, 2-1, in non-conference field hockey action on Sunday afternoon at Grant Field. The Great Danes drop to 3-4 on the season, while Iowa improves to 5-2.

The Hawkeyes struck first, early in the game, as Kelsey Mitchell took an assist from Corinne Allen just 3:26 into the game. Allen passed across the cage, where Mitchell got her stick on the ball to slip it into the cage past UAlbany goalkeeper Kristi Troch. Mitchell struck again early in the second half, taking an assist from Marike Stribos and converting a shot from five feet out.

UAlbany got in the ball in the 68th minute, as Voormolen scored on a direct shot on a penalty corner attempt. Jessica Longstreth passed the ball out to Laura Page, who stopped the ball at the top of the circle for Voormolen, who sent a hard shot sailing into the back of the cage behind Iowa's Kathleen McGraw.

The Great Danes controlled the stats sheet, out-shooting Iowa, 15-11, and holding an 11-5 advantage in penalty corners, including 6-0 in the second half. Troch recorded six saves between the pipes for UAlbany, whiel McGraw stopped eight Great Dane shots for the Hawkeyes.

UAlbany will return to action on Saturday, Sept. 22, hosting Lafayette at 1 p.m.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

UAlbany FCS Football Edged By #5 Youngstown State, 31-24

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - In the battle to stay perfect, the University at Albany football team had the hosting No. 5 Youngstown State University Penguins on the ropes deep into the second half. However, the nationally ranked squad held off the rising Great Danes down stretch, as UAlbany fell, 31-24, Saturday evening at Stambaugh Stadium in front of a crowd of 15,840.

Sophomore quarterback Will Fiacchi was impressive again; totaling a career-high 228 yards passing, completing 23-of-35 pass attempts, and throwing two touchdowns. In the first half, the Marcellus, N.Y. native was nearly perfect completing 14-of-15 with a throw-away. Cole King was his go-to for the second straight game, as he made seven catches for 115 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, Jon Morgan led the Great Danes with 10 tackles, followed by Chris Wilk's nine.

For the first time this season, the Great Danes struck first. On the Guins' first drive of the afternoon, safety Brandon Baylor's hard hit spoiled the Penguins' opening drive, popping the ball into the hands of teammate Justinian Mason. UAlbany's offense quickly took a 7-0 lead on a spectacular flea-flicker play called by offensive coordinator Ryan McCarthy. After two flicks of the ball, Fiacchi found a wide open Kevin Chillis 44-yards down the middle of the gridiron, who stepped easily into the end zone.

However, in the seesaw game, Youngstown State quickly responded with a touchdown of their own, following a 10-play, 87-yard drive down the field. Jamaine Cook capped the possession with a two-yard rush to even the score, 7-7, after the kick.

In their next drive, the Penguins scored in similar fashion, as Cook jaunted seven yards across the goal line with 13:27 remaining in the second half.

Despite allowing 14 straight points to the hosts, UAlbany fought back with an eight-play drive, finished by Omar Osbourne's 32-yard dance through the Guins' defense. Sean Kenny's extra point tied the ball game
Scoring his third straight touchdown for YSU, Cook gave Youngstown State the lead again with another seven-yard rush. Cook finished the day with three scores and 161 rushing yards.

Unwilling to go away after traveling nearly 500 miles for the contest, the Great Danes matched the Penguins heading into the half, after Fiachhi connected with Drew Smith on a nine-yard pass to the left side of the end zone with just nine seconds remaining before the break.

Unfortunately that would the closest UAlbany would get, as YSU held the lead the remainder of the way.

After a very offensively heavy first half, defense ruled in the second, as both squads were forced to punt away in their opening drives. After the third straight punt, Youngstown State broke the stalemate with David Brown's 25-yard field goal with 2:15 to go in the third quarter.

Trailing, 24-21, the UAlbany offense was forced to punt after a three-and-out with 5:28 remaining in the game, but YSU's Ali Chealb got a hand on it and put the Penguins in good scoring position. While the UAlbany defensive line held strong, including a huge third-and-one stop on the goal line, the Guins found the end zone on their fourth-and-goal attempt to take a 10-point lead.

The Great Danes still hung in there, marching down the field from their own 20. Unable to get into the end zone, Kenny made it a one-possession game with his 30-yard field goal with 57 seconds remaining in the contest.

Youngstown State was able to handle the on-sides kick and ran out the clock to keep their 3-0 record unblemished, while UAlbany fell to 2-1 on the season.

"We knew we were going to have trouble containing them but we held them to a respectable point," said head coach Bob Ford. "We had some big plays, we had a chance to win it in the fourth quarter. I told the kids just to keep it close heading into the fourth quarter and we did that."

"It was a great game against a great team. I wish them well," added Coach Ford.

UAlbany will play its third straight road game next Saturday when the Great Danes travel to take on Maine. Kickoff is set for 6:00 p.m. in Orono.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Phil Sykes Earns 100th Career Win as #20 UAlbany Field Hockey Defeats Missouri State

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

IOWA CITY, IOWA -- UAlbany head coach Phil Sykes earned his 100th career win at the helm of the Great Danes, as 20th-ranked UAlbany defeated Missouri State, 3-0, in non-conference field hockey action on Friday afternoon at Iowa's Grant Field. UAlbany improved to 3-3 on the season.

UAlbany scored 10:28 into the game, as Echo Bretz collected a rebound off an initial shot and found the back of the cage past Missouri State's Andrea Bain. The Great Danes held onto the 1-0 advantage through the first half, while outshooting the Bears, 11-0.

UAlbany doubled its advantage early in the second half, as Nina Walters capitalized on a rebound in the 38th minute. The Great Danes wrapped up the scoring in the 68th minute on a penalty corner attempt. Jessica Longstreth passed out to Laura Page, who stopped the ball to allow Daphne Voormolen to take a hard shot from the top of the circle.

UAlbany outshot the Bears, 25-0, in the game, and held a 19-1 advantage in penalty corners. Troch played all 70 minutes in the cage, and did not have to make a save. Bain played just over 52 minutes for Missouri State (2-4), making three saves. Back up keeper Katie Mulloy played the final 17:57, stopping four UAlbany shots.

The Great Danes will return to action on Sunday, taking on Iowa at noon.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

UAlbany Uses Second-Half Offensive Surge To Defeat Cornell In Women's Soccer Action

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

ALBANY, N.Y.- Senior forward Shayla Bergeron's second consecutive multi-point match leads UAlbany over Cornell, 5-2, on Sunday, September 7 at the Plumeri Sports Complex. Bergeron has now tallied three goals and two assists in the last two matches to help the Great Danes go on a two-match winning streak and improve to 3-3-1.

"I was excited to see 5 of our seniors get involved and score some great goals tonight", said head coach Mary-Frances Monroe on the win. "Their leadership on the field really sets the tone for this group on game day".

With the Great Danes leading 1-0 at the half, UAlbany (3-3-1) had a big offensive surge for the second consecutive match. Senior forward Despina Psomopoulos lead the charge just ten minutes into the half, scoring the Danes second goal of the match. Then in the 68th minute, senior forward Shayla Bergeron, who tallied the match's first goal, lofted a pass to teammate Maggie DeVerna who would use her head to add to the lead and go up 3-0.

Cornell's Xandra Hompe would stop the bleeding in the 69th minute with the Big Red's first goal. Hompe was assisted by Maneesha Chitanvis to cut the deficit to two, 3-1.

The Great Danes Chelsea DeVerna and Regina Nowick, however, would add insurance goals in the 71st and 81st minutes of the match to give UAlbany its third win of the season.

UAlbany goalkeeper Alana Brennan would tally a career-high nine saves on 11 chances and record her third win of the season. Cornell goalkeeper Tori Crist would make two saves on five chances in the loss.

The Great Danes prepare for a two-match road trip that begins against Rhode Island on Friday, September 21 (7 p.m.).

Monday, September 3, 2012

UAlbany Men’s Soccer Blanks Yale Bulldogs 2-0

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

NEW HAVEN, CONN.- Sophomore goalkeeper Tim Allen recorded his first career clean sheet as a Great Dane to secure the victory over Yale, 2-0, on Monday, September 3 at Reese Stadium. UAlbany improves to 2-1 overall with the win and Yale falls to 0-2.

Allen made all eight saves on the game to secure his first shutout at UAlbany. Yale (0-2) goalkeeper Bobby Thalman tallied five saves on seven chances in the loss.

UAlbany (2-1) sophomore forward Brandon Wilson carried over his overtime game-winning header against Towson with a header at the 42nd minute to give UAlbany the 1-0 lead. Freshman midfielder Michael Schneider came off the bench and set up the goal with a cross from nine yards out of the box.

With the 1-0 lead, the Great Danes tried to add to their score in the 80th minute as Wilson rattled a shot that was save by Thalman. Then off the redirect Schneider looked to side-step the Bulldog goalie but Thalman would recover and make a great save to keep Yale within one.

As time ticked down, senior forward Quintel Gates dribbled the ball down the near sideline of the Yale defense and sent a cross to a wide-open freshman midfielder Anthony Rozzano who would finish off the play to give the Great Danes the insurance goal in the 90th minute.

UAlbany would hold the advantage in corner kicks, 3-2, and Yale would tally more shots, 17-15.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

UAlbany FCS Football Romps Colgate, 40-23, In 2012 Season-Opener

ALBANY, N.Y. - The University at Albany football team literally kicked off the 2012 season with a bang Saturday night at University Field, as they stood beneath a postgame fireworks display with a 40-23 victory over Colgate gleaming on the scoreboard. In front of 6,194 fans, the Great Danes improved to 1-0 on the season, marking their first victory over the Raiders in program history.

It was a good ballgame, and a great win," said Bob Ford who is in his 44th season as a head coach and leads all active coaches with a 256-178-1 career record.

The Danes' defensive line was the story of the night, blocking two punts for eight consecutive points on a safety and touchdown, in addition to breaking up four passes as the airborne ball crossed the line of scrimmage. The Great Danes' defense also forced the Raiders into two fumbles and an interception. Senior Jon Morgan led the squad with nine tackles, including eight solo, while senior linebacker Dean Mercuris broke up a game-high three passes.

"People don't understand how important the tipped pass is," said Ford. "Any time that you can't get to the quarterback, you need to move into the passing lane and get your hands up. It can alter the game."

Offensively, senior Drew Smith and sophomore Omar Osbourne both rushed for career highs, as Smith led UAlbany with 174 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. Osbourne also broke his career best in two categories, rushing 113 yards while logging 146 all-purpose yards. Making his debut as starting quarterback, redshirt sophomore Will Fiacchi completed 16-of-25 pass attempts for 143 yards.

After Colgate narrowly edged the Great Danes last season in overtime, the momentum appeared to still be in the Raiders' favor as Colgate took a 10-0 head start. After a 12-play, 76-yard drive down the field, Colgate's Andrew Burgess gave the visitors a 3-0 lead with a 21-yard field goal with 4:02 minutes remaining in the first quarter. In their next possession, the Raiders crossed the goal line on Kevin O'Connell's 20-yard reception for a 10-point lead.

However, that would be the last time Colgate controlled the game, as the Danes came storming back. Osbourne rushed 30 yards on four carries in the 4:20 minute drive, putting junior Kevin Chillis in position to score. Chillis' 21-yard end zone run through the Raiders' defense, followed by Sean Kenny's point after kick, cut the deficit to three.

In Colgate's next possession, UAlbany's defense forced a three-and-out and capped the stifled drive with Ocieka Bakou's punt block that ricocheted into the end zone, forcing Colgate to push the ball out the back to settle for a safety.

Trailing 10-9 with the ball back in their hands, the Danes looked in great position for another quick score with a second-and-goal on the five yard line, but the Raiders' Mike Armiento picked off Fiacchi's pass in end zone and took a knee for a touchback.

However, UAlbany's defense suffocated Colgate again, forcing a punt from the Raiders' 35-yard line. Like déjà vu, Bakou got a mitt on the ball, sophomore Kyle Jordan picked it up and ran it back to give the Danes' a 16-10 advantage after the extra point, as well as the lead for good with 3:01 minutes left in the first half.

“On the sideline you could just sense it. We were with whipping them," said Ford. "You have to break a team’s spirit. You have to break them down. And I think we did that early in the game.”

UAlbany struck first after intermission, as Tramaine Wilson intercepted Gavin McCarney pass on Albany's three yard-line and ran it 33 yards before coming down. The Danes used eight plays to march down the field and Osbourne finished the drive with a 22-yard and a four-yard rush, consecutively, into the end zone at the 6:31 mark in the third quarter.

However, the Raiders got the seven points back on their next possession, using five plays to cross the goal line on Jordan McCord's 15-yard rush, making the score 23-17.

From there, the Great Danes hit the accelerator, scoring 10 straight points after Sean Kenny's 41-yard field goal with 3:23 to go in the third, and Drew Smith's two-yard push after a run-heavy 66-yard, six-play march down the field for a 33-17 lead.

Colgate made one last stride in the final quarter, as McCarney connected with CJ Stempeck for a 26-yard touchdown pass.

Albany dotted the exclamation point with 1:50 minutes to go, running the ball nine times for 48 yards, capped by Smith's 1-yard run and his second touchdown of the night.

“It’s great,” said Smith. “We did very well. We finished. We executed. We put our foot on the gas and took it until it was over.”

The Great Danes hit the road for three consecutive road games, starting next Saturday at Robert Morris. Kickoff will be at noon at Joe Walton Stadium.

Quick Hits: Tonight's win kicks off the 40th varsity season in program history as well as Coach Bob Ford's 40th season as head coach of the Danes ... The win over Colgate is UAlbany's first in history ... The Danes are now 2-1 in home season openers and 5-9 in season openers ... The last time the Great Danes won the season-opener was in 2010 when they topped Maine, 3-0 ... UAlbany's 40 points marks the most since they beat Monmouth, 41-24, on Nov. 12, 2011 ... Drew Smith recorded his 19th 100-plus yard rushing game ... Drew Smith moved up two spots in the career rushing ladder, now ranking 6th in program history with 2,369 yards ... The 6,194 fans in attendance marks the ninth highest home crowd in program history and the 10th time since 1973 that there were more than 6,000 fans ... Coach Ford now owns a 247-157 record at UAlbany and 256-178-1 overall record ...The Danes have now blocked punts that were returned for a touchdown in two consecutive games (the last was vs. Stony Brook by Brian Parker on 11/26/11).

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