Friday, October 31, 2014

#12 University of Albany Field Hockey Earns Program-Record 10th Straight Win to Take America East Regular Season Championship - UAlbany Sports 2014

Courtesy: UA Sports

BURLINGTON, VT. – No. 12 University at Albany field hockey (16-2, 5-0 AE) scored four unanswered goals in the first half and put Vermont (3-15, 1-4 AE) away 5-1 in Burlington on Friday afternoon. The Halloween victory makes UAlbany the America East Regular Season Champion; and the Great Danes return home to host Fairfield in the America East Semifinals at 1:00 p.m., on Thursday.

“We’ve been in a few high-pressure situations before,” said head coach Phil Sykes. Having gone through the tournament last season with a younger team puts us in a position to do the right things this year. The last several games we’ve used that experience to be a more mature team, and that’s something we’ll need to continue in the post-season.”

Getting off to a quick start, Paula Heuser and Anna Bottino knocked on the door in the first 10 minutes to set the offensive tone. The Great Danes recorded fives shots on goal and four penalty corners in the opening seven minutes of the contest.

After a number of substitutions and another shot on goal from Kelsey Briddell, Kelly Bonner finally cracked the seal on the Vermont goal on an assist from Amy Nicklin with just over 10 minutes left in the first half.

The Catamounts rebounded briefly for its first shot on goal, but the Purple & Gold regained possession and earned another penalty corner. Fiori Van Rijswijk made the insert, and after a stop from Laura Page, Paula Heuser scored her 25th goal of the season. Shortly after, the sophomore midfielder assisted on a 2-on-1 opportunity to Bonner to give UAlbany a 3-0 lead.

With less than five minutes left in the opening half, Nicklin tapped a penalty corner pass across the circle to find Van Rijswijk for the score.

The Great Danes took a 13-3 shot advantage and a 6-2 edge in penalty corners into the break.

Keeping up the defensive pressure despite the lead, an interception by Pahila Arnold gave UAlbany the ball deep in Catamount territory. A flick on from Bonner found Molly Mariano a look on net, but her attempt was saved off of the right post.

Vermont managed a goal on a penalty corner with 10 minutes gone in the second half.

With five minutes left UAlbany charged down the field on the counterattack, despite much of the second half taking place in the midfield. Arnold swung a grounder across the circle to Anna Bottino, who tapped the pass into the lower left corner of the cage.

UAlbany enters the America East Tournament semifinals on Thursday with a 10-game winning streak. It is the longest all-time single season winning streak in program history, besting last year’s nine-game undefeated run to open the season. The Great Danes are undefeated (8-0) at home for the first time since 2007, and will face No. 4 seed Fairfield at 1:00 p.m., on Thursday at Alumni Turf in the first America East semifinal.

All games at Alumni Turf, Albany, N.Y.

Thursday, Nov. 6
Semifinal 1: No. 1 UAlbany vs. No. 4 Fairfield – 1:00 p.m.
Semifinal 2: No. 2 New Hampshire vs. No. 3 Maine – 4:00 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 8
Winners of Semifinals – 1:00 p.m.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

University of Albany W Soccer Conquers League’s Top Defense, Shuts Down Maine 2-0 to Advance to AE Semifinals - UAlbany Sports 2014

Courtesy: UA Sports

ALBANY, N.Y. – Charged with facing the top defensive squad in the league, the UAlbany women’s soccer team scored two early goals and shut out Maine 2-0 at Bob Ford Field to advance to the America East semifinal round.

“From minute one, our energy was the highest it has been all season, the team understood the intensity and passion tonight was going to take, and we were the aggressor,” said UAlbany head coach Caitlin Cucchiella.

It is the first time UAlbany (7-8-5) has won an America East Tournament game by multiple goals and the first shutout since defeating Hartford 1-0 in the AE Semifinals in 2011.  It is also the first time an America East opponent scored multiple goals on Maine (4-8-6) this season.

Caitlyn Paltsios netted the long range goal from Celia Balf in the 13th minute to put UAlbany on the board.  America East Rookie of the Year Vivian Vega scored a goal, her ninth of the year to tie her for second in single-season goals in UAlbany history, off the pass from Kiana Rugar in the 19th minute to add insurance for the eventual 2-0 final score.

“It feels great and unreal, I am so proud of our team,” said Paltsios, an America East All-Conference Second Team midfielder. “I saw the goalie come off her line, so I took the quick shot.”

In goal, Alana Brennan saved eight shots and earned her fifth shutout of the season for the win, outdueling counterpart Claudia Dube-Trempe, the America East Goalkeeper of the Year, who had three saves in the defeat.

“It feels amazing, we were energized and ready to take on Maine tonight,” said Brennan.  “We more prepared for their aggressive play and counters, our coaches got us ready.”

4-seed UAlbany will take on 1-seed Hartford on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. on the road for the semifinal round.

“I am so proud of the team’s growth and development over the last year, and I cannot wait for Hartford,” said Cucchiella.

UAlbany served as the early aggressor as Alexa Schneider went for a long range shot in the 2nd minute, with Dube-Trempe getting the save. 

The other way in minute eight, Charlene Achille got a look on a header from a cross, missing left of the post.  UAlbany countered, kicked the ball around the penalty box and got a chance from Krista Fitzpatrick, being stopped by a diving Dube-Trempe.

In the 13th minute, Balf dribbled the ball up the midfield.  She passed to the near side to a running Paltsios.  The keeper ran slightly up as Paltsios kicked towards the goal.  The keeper got a hand on the ball on the dive, but could not stop the ball as it went into the left post for the score, putting UAlbany up 1-0.

Achille tried another long range shot in the 17th minute, with Brennan getting another save.

UAlbany struck again in the 19th minute.  Rugar about 35 yards out passed to Vega, who surged past the back line.  One-on-one with the keeper, she dribbled around Dube-Trempe and kicked a ground ball into the center of the net for the score, making it 2-0 UAlbany.

Maine nearly got a goal off a couple of shots from Achille in the 21st minute.  The first was stopped by Brennan, the next 20 seconds later was blocked by a defender.  UAlbany cleared and the threat was ended.

The visitors had a breakaway in the 33rd minute.  Eve L’Abbe took a very long shot, hitting the crossbar and staying in play.  On the rebound, Achille went for a header off the bounce, missing high.  L’Abbe had one more shot the rest of the half, being saved by Brennan.  UAlbany went into the locker room up 2-0.

Maine had the ball locked into the offensive third in the 58th minute, with an Achille shot being saved by Brennan.  Brennan’s punt was headed back towards the penalty area, seeing Ashley Robinson try a shot.  That too was saved by the UAlbany keeper.

UAlbany struck back in the 65th minute.  Paltsios went on another breakaway on the far side, trying a long shot.  A jumping Dube-Trempe punched the ball over the crossbar.  On the resulting corner, Fitzpatrick found Schneider for the header, with the attempt missing wide.

Paltsios had another chance in the 70th minute on a breakaway.  Going one-vs-two towards the goal, Dube-Trempe ran into Paltsios outside the box, drawing the yellow card.  Paltsios went for the cage on the free kick, seeing the attempt blocked by the Maine wall.

UAlbany protected against the Maine threat by keeping passes in the midfield.  Towards the end, Maine fired times at the goal, with Brennan saving one and the other four missing the net.  UAlbany held firm and won the game 2-0.

In other AE Quarterfinal action, New Hampshire advanced to the next round on penalty kicks 4-2 in a tie vs. Binghamton.  With that result, UAlbany finishes its home season at 7-4.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Heuser, Page Break All-Time University of Albany Field Hockey Program Records in 4-2 Victory at Yale - UAlbany Sports 2014

Courtesy: UA Sports

NEW HAVEN, CONN. – Despite a slow start on Sunday afternoon, No. 13 University at Albany field hockey (15-2, 4-0 AE) came away with a 4-2 win at Yale (2-13). The victory marks the ninth straight for UAlbany, in a three-way tie for the longest winning streak in the nation. Paula Heuser and Laura Page each topped an all-time single season offensive category.

"It was a tough game, and Yale played well," said head coach Phil Sykes. "We battled back, and I'm proud of Laura [Page] and Paula [Heuser] for breaking two long-standing records today."

Yale got out to an early 2-0 shot advantage at home, and with its first penalty corner of the game took a 1-0 lead.

The Great Danes responded with a series of penalty corners of their own, but Pahila Arnold and Heuser had their attempts stopped. In seven penalty corners during the first half, UAlbany failed to convert and went into the break down 1-0.

Heuser quickly took control in the second period, firing on all cylinders on an early penalty corner. The sophomore scored on the set piece from Fiori Van Rijswijk and Laura Page. The goal marked her 22nd of the season, and her 51st point. With the score, Heuser became the all-time single season leader in points. The midfielder passed UAlbany Division II powerhouse Tovah Atwell, who has held the record since 1998 with 50 points.

With the game tied, the Purple & Gold continued to battle in the circle for penalty corners. After recording seven shots in the first half, Yale failed to fire on-target in the second period.

Heuser spread the wealth on a penalty corner in the 53rd minute, as the sophomore found Van Rijswijk for the tally. Van Rijswijk notched a new single-game career high with five points against the Bulldogs. The tally for the 2-1 lead was also her fourth game-winner of 2014.

Just six minutes later, Heuser gave the Great Danes some breathing room with another penalty corner slam from Page and Van Rijswijk. With the assist, Page became the all-time single season leader in assists. The junior tallied her 20th for the 3-1 lead to break a nine-year old record.

The penalty corner trio teamed up for one last goal in the 63rd minute. Yale slid one past the Great Danes defense shortly after, but UAlbany held on for its ninth straight win.

Two other teams in Division I field hockey have a nine game winning streak, No. 2 Maryland and No. 3 Stanford. UAlbany handed Stanford its only loss of the season in Palo Alto on Sept. 14, 1-0.

Paula Heuser is now the all-time single season leader in points, smashing a record that stood for nearly 20 years. Her 56 points come off 24 goals and eight assists. Heuser is already the all-time single season leader in goals. She has 101 points for her career, ranking tied for second in Division I program history after just two seasons. The German ranks tied for second with former teammate Corrine McConville and current UAlbany assistant Michelle Simpson.  

Laura Page now has 21 assists in 2014, setting a new all-time record in single-season assists. She has 45 for her career, and is six shy of becoming the all-time leader in the category.

Four Great Danes have 20 points or more this season, including Heuser (56), Van Rijsiwjk (24), Page (23) and Anna Bottino (20).

No. 13 UAlbany field hockey concludes the regular season at Vermont (3-14, 1-3 AE) on Friday, Oct. 31 at 3:00 p.m. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

University of Albany's Fiacchi Leads #25 Football In Stunning, 24-17, Win Over Colgate - UAlbany Sports 2014

Courtesy: UA Sports

ALBANY, N.Y. – With the score tied and just 16 seconds remaining in Saturday evening’s contest at Bob Ford Field, redshirt senior quarterback Will Fiacchi scampered into the end zone, piloting the University at Albany football team to a 24-17 victory over Colgate. The win improved UAbany’s record to 6-2 on the season, while the Raiders fell to 4-4 overall.

Fiacchi had a hand in all three of the Great Danes’ touchdowns, as he completed 22-of-32 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for a career-high 37-yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.

“He’s a very capable runner, we just don’t want to run him a lot,” said Head Coach Greg Gattuso. “Trust me the play he made at the end of the game was really big.”

With his performance, Fiacchi became the first quarterback in UAlbany’s Division I FCS era to throw for over 6,000 yards in his career, currently with 6,134.

Spreading the wealth, Fiacchi connected with seven different receivers in the game, as freshman Josh Gontarek and redshirt freshman Brad Harris led the team with four receptions and 48 yards apiece. Redshirt senior wide receiver Cole King and tight end Brian Parker also had four receptions each for 45 and 42 yards, respectively. Redshirt sophomore tight end Nic Ketter recorded his first touchdown reception of the season and second of his career, totaling two receptions in the contest.

In the ground game, redshirt senior Omar Osbourne pounded his way through the defensive line for 101 rushing yards on 26 carries, marking his 13th career 100+ rushing game and sixth this season. He also had three receptions for a game-high 133 all-purpose yards.

Defensively, the Great Danes held the Raiders to 201 yards of offense and just four third down conversions in 11 attempts. Michael Nicastro led the team, with 13 tackles, including five solo, and one for a sack of five yards. Redshirt senior linebacker Christian Dorsey added 11 tackles and forced a fumble, while true freshman cornerback Jamal Robinson logged nine tackles (four solo).

The duo of nose guard Zach Troutman and defensive tackle Tim Kologrivov put heavy pressure on Colgate rookie quarterback Bret Mooney, as Troutman recorded three tackles for a loss of 18 yards, including an 11-yard sack. Kologrivov contributed two solo sacks, also setting the Raiders back 18 yards.

Winning the toss, UAlbany elected to receive and turned its first drive into a 3-0 head start. The Great Danes ate 8:11 minutes off the clock, using 16 plays to navigate 79-yards, ending in Patrick Toole’s 32-yard field goal.

In the Raider’s opening drive, UAlbany’s defense made a fourth-down stop, leading to another successful possession for the Danes. Converting on third down with a 6-yard pass to Ketter, Fiacchi found Osbourne for 19-yards and another first down before the Marcellus, N.Y. native rushed three times consecutively. Fiacchi capped the drive with a one-yard jump over the pile and across the goal line, giving UAlbany a 10-0 lead after Toole’s point-after with 13:49 remaining in the second quarter.

However, the visiting Raiders responded with10 straight points in the second quarter, as James Travellin rushed seven yards into the end zone with 8:13 remaining in the half.

Colgate’s Kyle Diener then intercepted Fiacchi’s pass at midfield, giving the Raiders possession at the 3:29 mark. The play was originally ruled an incomplete pass, but since official replay was being tested in the game, the video monitors ruled in Colgate’s favor. The Raiders turned the turnover into a field goal, as Jonah Bowman hit a game-tying 38-yarder with 18 seconds left before the break.

In the second half, the Great Danes struck first, driving 53-yards on 12 plays. Bearing down, UAlbany converted three times on third down, and Fiacchi capped with drive with a three-yard pass to Ketter with 5:40 remaining in the third.

Halting the Danes’s first drive of the fourth quarter, Colgate’s Kris Kent forced and recovered a fumble at the UAlbany 43 yard line. The Raiders again turned the miscue into points, tying the score, 17-17, with 10:57 remaining on John Wilkins’ one-yard push into the end zone.

“Colgate’s a good football team. What they do, the do really well,” said Kologrivov. Their offense is predicated upon missed assignments and the defensive line not being exactly where they need to be to take away one of their options. They put together a good drive.”

With time winding down, UAlbany looked to take the lead on Toole’s 33-yard field goal with 4:42 to go, but the ball sailed wide left.

However, the Great Danes’ defense rose to the occasion, forcing a three-and-out, giving the ball back to UAlbany with 3:03 remaining. Starting from the UAlbany-34, the Danes crossed midfield on Fiacchi’s 16-yard pass to Gontarek. Parker added a nine-yard reception, and then after a UAlbany timeout, Fiacchi rushed 26-yards out of the pocket and out of bounds at the 2-yard line.

Faking a handoff to Osbourne, the Raider defense swarmed UAlbany’s top running back, and Fiacchi scampered, untouched, into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown with just 16 seconds left on the clock. Toole’s extra point made the score 24-17.

UAlbany ended the game sacking Mooney twice to preserve the victory.

Mooney finished with 69 passing yards, completing 8-of-16 passes, while Demetrius Russell led the team with 63 rushing yard on 13 carries.

“I enjoy and appreciate every win,” said Gattuso. “I think it’s huge to get to six wins. As I keep saying, it gives us a chance to get seven.”

“Obviously we’re happy with where we are, but during the offseason and in camp this is what the guys in our locker room expected,” said Fiacchi. “We knew exactly what we had in the locker room, and we knew what we can achieve. We’re not done yet; we’re just getting started. We’re excited about where we can go from here.”

UAlbany returns to conference play for the remainder of the season, traveling first to face No. 3 New Hampshire on Nov. 1 at 6:00 p.m.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

University of Albany Field Hockey's Heuser Tops National Points Per Game Leaderboard for Second Consecutive Week - UAlbany Sports 2014

Courtesy: UA Sports

ALBANY, N.Y.- With just three regular season games left, No. 13 University at Albany field hockey continues to rank among the nation’s leaders in both team and individual categories. Sophomore midfielder Paula Heuser leads the nation in points per game (3.00) for the second consecutive week, as the Great Danes dropped to No. 13 in the NFHCA Poll.

The defending America East Midfielder and Rookie of the Year, Heuser is first in points per game (3.00) and second in goals per game (1.27). The sophomore has never dropped out of the national top-10 in either category this season.

Laura Page records her third consecutive week in the No. 2 spot for assists per game. She is joined this week in the top-20 by Fiori Van Rijswijk, who ranks 19th (0.67) in the category.

Defensively, Jordyn Homyak ranks 16th in defensive saves with three. Goalkeeper Maxi Primus is third in goals against average (0.75) and fifth in save percentage (.796). The sophomore has not dipped out of the top-10 in either category this season.

Monday, October 20, 2014

No. 25 University of Albany Football Reappears In TSN Rankings - UAlbany Sports 2014

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports

ALBANY, N.Y.  – Coming off a 20-7 conference win over Maine, the University at Albany football team has received a No. 25 ranking in The Sports Network Media Poll. After a two-week absence, the Great Danes are back in the Top-25 for the third time this season.

The Great Danes (5-2, 2-2 CAA) are one of five CAA teams in the rankings, as New Hampshire leads the conference at No. 3, followed by No. 5 Villanova, No. 16 Richmond, and No. 18 William and Mary. UAlbany’s final two road games of the season are against the Wildcats of both New Hampshire (Nov. 1) and Villanova (Nov. 15).

UAlbany leads the nation in turnover margin (+17/2.43) this fall and also ranks second in the conference for scoring defense (17.0) and total defense (339.4).

A national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries select The Sports Network Top 25. In the voting, a first-place vote is worth 25 points, a second-place vote 24 points, all the way down to one point for a 25th-place vote.

Up next, UAlbany steps out of conference play, hosting Colgate Saturday for a 3:30 p.m. contest at Bob Ford Field. Click here to explore ticketing options or call 518-442-DANE. The game will also air on Time Warner Cable Sports Channel in Albany/Hudson Valley and Syracuse.

TSN Top-25 Media Poll
#25 (Week 9)
#23 (Week 6)

#24 (Week 5)

TSN Top-25 Media Poll
#20 (Week 9)
#24 (Week 8)

AFCA FCS Coaches Poll
#18 (Week 9)
#20 (Week 8)
#T-22 (Week 7)
#24 (Week 6)

TSN Top-25 Media Poll
#23 (Week 5)

Team (First-place votes) 2014 Record Points Previous Rank
1. North Dakota State Bison (152) 7-0 3848 1
2. Eastern Washington Eagles (2) 7-1 3676 2
3. New Hampshire Wildcats 5-1 3402 3
4. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers 7-0 3353 4
5. Villanova Wildcats 6-1 3304 5
6. Jacksonville State Gamecocks 5-1 2996 6
7. Montana Grizzlies 5-2 2941 7
8. Southeastern Louisiana Lions 6-2 2683 8
9. Illinois State Redbirds 6-0 2448 10
10. Montana State Bobcats 6-2 2432 9
11. McNeese State Cowboys 4-2 2181 11
12. Fordham Rams 6-1 2129 12
13. South Dakota State Jackrabbits 5-2 1759 18
14. Bethune-Cookman Wildcats 6-1 1733 16
15. Chattanooga Mocs 4-3 1584 17
16. Richmond Spiders 5-2 1558 19
17. Youngstown State Penguins 5-2 1492 21
18. William & Mary Tribe 4-3 1191 15
19. Eastern Kentucky Colonels 6-1 1097 13
20. Southern Illinois Salukis 5-3 1014 14
21. Harvard Crimson 5-0 711 25
22. Indiana State Sycamores 4-3 563 22
23. Northern Iowa Panthers 3-4 402 20
24. Sacred Heart Pioneers 6-1 390 NR
25. UAlbany Great Danes 5-2 221 NR
Others receiving votes: Bryant 119, Charleston Southern 114, Liberty 113, Missouri State 87, Western Carolina 56, Sam Houston State 40, Northwestern State 40, Grambling State 37, Dartmouth 30, James Madison 29, Wofford 22, Alcorn State 22, Delaware 21, Central Arkansas 21, Bucknell 21, North Carolina A&T 21, Jacksonville 20, Stephen F. Austin 14, Tennessee State 14, Western Illinois 13, Presbyterian 13, Northern Arizona 12, Cal Poly 11, Yale 10, Southeast Missouri State 10, Furman 9, South Carolina State 8, Samford 7, Idaho State 3, Monmouth 3, Duquesne 1, Lamar 1.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Cal, UC Davis, Pacific, Stanford Added As America East Associate Members in Field Hockey

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The America East Conference announced today that four institutions - University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Davis; University of the Pacific and Stanford University - have been accepted as associate members for field hockey beginning with the 2015-16 academic year. 

The four schools, which will depart the NorPac Conference following the 2014-15 academic year, will join America East’s five full members that sponsor field hockey - University at Albany, University of Maine, UMass Lowell, University of New Hampshire and University of Vermont - to form one of the best field hockey conferences in the country. In total, the nine schools have combined to make 37 NCAA tournament appearances all time.

“We are excited to add these four elite institutions as America East associate members for field hockey,” said America East Commissioner Amy Huchthausen. “This will add depth to a sport that is already one of our strongest, preserve our automatic bid to the NCAA tournament and reinforce our commitment to broad-based, competitive athletics programs and championships.”

The associate membership agreement with each institution will be for two years, the 2015 and 2016 seasons. America East will have two field hockey divisions with Albany, Maine, UMass Lowell, New Hampshire and Vermont comprising the East Division and Cal, UC-Davis, Pacific and Stanford making up the West Division. The America East Field Hockey Championships will consist of eight teams for the next two seasons, four teams from each division, with the 2015 tournament taking place on the east coast and the 2016 championship being played on the west coast. The America East champion will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Field Hockey Championship.

“As coaches, we want our conference to be as strong and as competitive as possible,” said Maine head coach and America East coaches chair Josette Babineau. “The addition of these four programs will allow our conference to be even more competitive nationally and compete with the other large conferences and result in more of our programs having success in the NCAA tournament.”

Cal, UC Davis, Pacific and Stanford join a league that has established itself among the top field hockey leagues in the country. Five different schools have been ranked nationally while competing in America East since 2012, including Albany, which is currently ranked 11th in the nation and peaked at No. 7 this season. Maine is also ranked having entered the poll at No. 20 this week. Among the west schools, Stanford is nationally ranked, climbing to No. 3 in this week’s poll.

Fairfield University, which has been an America East associate member in field hockey since 2007, begins play in the MAAC starting next season

Founded in 1979, the America East Conference consists of nine member institutions: University at Albany, Binghamton University, University of Hartford, University of Maine, UMBC, UMass Lowell, University of New Hampshire, Stony Brook University and University of Vermont. The conference sponsors championships in 18 sports, including field hockey, and provides its member schools and their athletic programs a platform upon which student-athletes can achieve both collegiate and life success through the promotion and nurturing of athletic excellence, academic achievement and leadership, on and off the field

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Defense Shines in University of Albany Football’s 20-7 Win at Maine - UAlbany Sports 2014

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports

ORONO, MAINE - University at Albany football (5-2, 2-2 CAA) spoiled Maine’s homecoming on Saturday afternoon, coming away with a 20-7 win in Orono. Greg Gattuso’s Danes are now 2-2 in conference entering a league bye week next Saturday.

“To come to Maine and get a win is really good for our program,” said Gattuso. “We made some plays when we needed to make them, and that’s what you have to do to win games. “

The defense proved to be the offensive story for UAlbany in the first half, as a pair of fumble recoveries led to 10 points on the board and lead after Maine went up 7-0. Michael Nicastro topped the defense with 13 tackles, including six solo shots. Linebacker Christian Dorsey picked up a fumble for his first-ever touchdown return to conclude the first quarter, and forced a fumble in the second half.

Omar Osbourne recorded his fifth game with 100 or more rushing yards this season, capping off with 108. The senior running back his reached or surpassed the 100-yard mark 12 times in his career.

Will Fiacchi threw for 120 yards on 12-for-30 passing with one TD pass. The senior is nearing 6,000 passing yards for his career, with 5,903 to date.

UAlbany elected to receive after winning the toss, but the Great Danes took a delay of game penalty on the opening play to start with a 1st-and-15.

Three yards picked up on a run by Omar Osbourne on second down was lost on third down, in an attempt to hit Josh Gontarek on a screen play. The Great Danes ended the possession punting out of their own end zone.

The Purple & Gold hoped to make an immediate impact on special teams, as Maine fumbled on the kick return. The Black Bears managed to recover at their own 47 yard-line. UAlbany’s defensive line forced Maine into a three-and-out.

UAlbany found itself pinned deep in its own territory, starting on the 12 yard-line. After a five-yard run from Osbourne, miscommunication led to Gattuso burning his first timeout of the half.

On 2nd-and-5, Osbourne picked up four yards to give UAlbany a 3rd-and-one. Fiacchi’s pass to Jake Meek fell incomplete on the third down attempt, but a tripping penalty on the Great Danes put punter Jon Martin deep in his own end zone once again.

Maine picked up at its own 42 yard-line. Five plays and 2:32 later the Black Bears had a 7-0 lead with 8:20 left in the first quarter.

After two three-and-outs for the Gattuso’s squad, Josh Gontarek picked up UAlbany’s first third down conversion on a five-yard pass from Fiacchi to get the Purple & Gold to its own 30 yard-line.

Two incomplete passes brought Martin back on for a punt with 6:24 remaining in the first quarter.

With just one first down in four possessions, Neil Morrison provided some necessary spark with a big sack on 3rd-and-3. The play forced Maine to punt with time winding down in the first quarter.

UAlbany got the ball back with 58 seconds on the clock. Osbourne picked up seven yards on second down, but Fiacchi was sacked to bring on the punting unit. On the third-down play, flags flew for penalties on both sides, but Maine retained possession.

With the quarter needing to end on a play, not a penalty, Maine quarterback Drew Belcher fumbled. The ensuing recovery by Christian Dorsey went 60 yards downfield for a UAlbany touchdown. Before Dorsey’s run, the Great Danes had 16 total yards to their credit.

“They had an untimed down, and we knew we couldn’t let that slip away,” said Dorsey. “We ran the defense, and as I was dropping back I saw the quarterback lose the ball. I picked it up and ran as fast as I could. Coach told us, sometimes offense is going to win the game for us, and sometimes the defense is going to win the game. We needed our defense to step up today and that’s what we did.”

Despite having the ball back to open the second quarter, Maine suffered three personal foul penalties to end up in a 3rd-and-40 situation. The Black Bears punted away to put UAlbany on its own 36 yard-line.

Three Osbourne runs set up a 4th-and-1 on its own 46. Gattuso called timeout and went for it, with Osbourne making the one-yard run for the first down.

Fiacchi hit Cole King for 15 yards to pick up another first down, but a false start penalty and sack on 3rd down sent the ball back in the other direction.

Both teams came up empty-handed on their ensuing possessions, and Jojo McClary nearly pinned Maine inside its own five, but the touch-back prevailed.

On its first play of the possession, Maine coughed up a fumble forced by Dorsey. After another holding penalty and three incomplete passes, Patrick Toole nailed a 52-yard field goal to give the Great Danes their first lead. The field goal was Toole’s longest this season, and the second-longest field goal made in UAlbany’s program history.

The scoring drives for the Purple & Gold in the first half totaled 39 seconds of game time, and UAlbany took a 13-7 lead into the half.

Maine earned just three first downs in the third quarter, with the UAlbany defense limiting the Black Bears to 44 yards total and no passing yards.

With 6:53 left in the third quarter, UAlbany took over with its best field position of the day on the punt at its own 38 yard-line. Fiacchi ran for the first down to the 48 yard-line on 3rd-and-6 to keep the drive going. On 3rd & 5 at the Maine 43, the senior quarterback found Gontarek for a 15-yard completion.

Toole kicked a 46-yard field goal to give the Great Danes a 13-7 lead. The scoring drive killed 4:23 of clock, but the contest remained a one-possession game.

After going 2-for-8 in the first quarter and 3-for-11 in the second quarter on the pass, Fiacchi completed four of his seven pass attempts in the third quarter.

Fiacchi began connecting with fellow senior Brian Parker on the outside in the fourth quarter. Parker brought in a seven-yard pass to give the Great Danes a first down with 12:12 left on 3rd & 5.

The possession ended in a 32-yard punt, but  Maine could not take advantage on the other end, as tackles from Nicastro and Malachi Hoskins gave the Black Bears just 13 yards of offense on the drive.

UAlbany blew the game wide open after a 41-yard completion to Nic Ketter put the Great Danes on the Maine 19 yard-line. Three rushes by Osbourne put the Purple & Gold into scoring position with a 1st & goal.

Fiacchi completed a four-yard pass to Parker for the touchdown, with the PAT giving Gattuso’s squad a 20-7 lead with 3:22 remaining.

The Black Bears looked to rally, but a 15-yard penalty gave Maine a 1st-and-25 with two minutes left. After a sack by Cory Connell, the comeback proved out of reach.

UAlbany football (5-2, 2-2 CAA) returns to Bob Ford Field to face Colgate (4-3, 2-0 Patriot League) at 3:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

University of Albany Alum Jon Newhouse Signs Pro Contract with Buffalo Bandits in NLL - UAlbany Sports 2014

courtesy: UAlbany Sports

BUFFALO, N.Y. – UAlbany men’s lacrosse alum Jon Newhouse will play in the National Lacrosse League (NLL) ranks, signing a contract with the Buffalo Bandits this week.

In his four-year UAlbany career, Newhouse served as the team’s primary LSM the last three seasons, compiling 86 ground balls, 41 caused turnovers and three goals.  His junior season he scooped 44 ground balls and caused 22 turnovers.  He was part of a UAlbany defense that helped the Great Danes win a pair of America East titles in 2013 and 2014.

Last season, UAlbany alumni Joe Resetarits and Dave Brock each suited up for the Bandits.

Newhouse is the third UAlbany player to join the NLL ranks this season.  A couple of weeks ago, Miles Thompson was drafted by the Minnesota Swarm, while Ty Thompson was selected by the New England Black Wolves.

The Bandits begin their season on January 2, 2015 on the road, taking on Ty Thompson’s Black Wolves at 7 p.m. in Connecticut.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

University of Albany Football's Gontarek Named To Jerry Rice Award Watch List - UAlbany Sports 2014

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports

PHILADELPHIA -- University at Albany freshman wide receiver Josh Gontarek has been named to the 2014 Jerry Rice Award Watch List, announced by The Sports Network Wednesday.

Gontarek is one of 21 players on the Rice Award Watch List, including one of four athletes from the CAA. The top first-year player in the FCS, whether a true freshman or a redshirt freshman, will win the award named for the legendary wide receiver Jerry Rice, who played in the FCS (then Division I-AA) at Mississippi Valley State. The award will be voted on by a national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries following the regular season.

In his first season with the Great Danes, Gontarek has been named the CAA Rookie of the Week twice, and as well as the FCS National Freshman of the Week.

Through five games, the Mount Airy, Md. native leads UAlbany with 22 receptions, 264 receiving yards, and four touchdowns.

The first two recipients of the four-year-old award that honors the FCS national freshman of the year were from CAA Football -- Towson running back Terrance West and Villanova quarterback John Robertson.

"I love to give back and it is amazing to be able to award a deserving freshman based on his accomplishments," Jerry Rice said. "I think it's important to recognize people at all levels for their hard work and dedication."

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

University of Albany W Soccer Crushes Vermont 6-0 in Top Offensive Output Since 2012 - UAlbany Sports 2014

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports

ALBANY, N.Y. – The UAlbany women’s soccer team finished the weekend homestand in strong fashion, dominating Vermont in a 6-0 victory on Sunday.

“I am so proud and humbled by the performance our team put forth today,” said UAlbany coach Caitlin Cucchiella. “Over the last few games, we have decided to be more consistent and play for one another, and it has shown on the field.”

It is the top offensive output for the Great Danes since September 2nd, 2012, when the team defeated UNC Asheville 6-3 on the road.  It is the first 6-0 victory, and first win by six goals, since the team beat Howard 6-0 on September 24, 2006.  It is also the second six-goal performance at home for the Great Danes in DI history, with the other coming on September 17, 2006 in a 6-1 win vs. NJIT.

“I am very excited that multiple players have been integral on offense, making us dangerous,” added Cucchiella.

UAlbany (5-7-2, 2-1-0 AE) scored in the third minute off a Caitlyn Paltsios goal and did not relinquish the lead to Vermont (3-8-1, 1-2-0 AE) the rest of the game.  Leanne Miller scored two goals, including a key score with four seconds left in the half off a corner kick.

“I felt I had to get that shot, it gave us a lot of momentum to go into the next half,” said Miller.

Vivian Vega, Kiana Rugar and Allison Carhart all scored second half goals.  Alexa Schneider tied a school game-record with three assists, while Krista Fitzpatrick had a pair of assists.  Alana Brennan earned the shutout victory with two saves in 90 minutes.

“We did what we worked on all week, finishing on set pieces and doing well on crosses. We knew we had to fight for 90 minutes today,” said Fitzpatrick.

For Vermont, Ally Ramos got the loss, allowing five goals with nine saves in 67:52.

Off a corner kick from Fitzpatrick, Paltsios scored off the rebound for the goal to make it 1-0 in the third minute.

Vermont got opportunities in the coming minutes, with Dana Buckhorn sending two shots towards the goal and missing.

In the 18th minute, UAlbany had a chance with Vega taking aim for the goal, and Ramos making the save.  The ball came to Rugar, who kicked the ball over the crossbar.

Each side kept getting looks on the cage, but neither connected for most of the remaining minutes of the half.  In the final minute of the period, Carhart sent a long shot towards the goal, with Ramos punching the ball out of bounds.  Quickly Paltsios sent the corner into the box, with Miller kicking the ball just under the crossbar with four seconds left in the period to put UAlbany into the locker room up 2-0.

UAlbany had déjà vu with another quick goal near the beginning of the period.  Rugar took the ball down the sideline, crossing to Miller.  At the top of the box, Rugar netted the ball inside the left post for the score to make it 3-0 UAlbany with 47:29 elasped.

Following a saved Schneider shot, Vermont tried to go the other way quickly and lost possession.  UAlbany made a breakaway as Schneider made a long pass to a running Vega.  Vega ran down and shot the ball perfectly inside the right post from 20 yards out for a 4-0 UAlbany lead.

Not long later in the 61st minute, Schneider set up Rugar near the Vermont back line.  Around three defenders, Rugar shot to the net and scored, from 15 yards away to give the home team a 5-0 advantage.

The Great Danes added one more late in the 88th minute.  Carhart got the ball from Schneider on a breakaway in the penalty area.  Carhart got close and shot the ball, which was blocked by the new keeper Coco Speckmaier.  The ball went back to Carhart, who scored on a ground ball shot to give UAlbany the 6-0 score, the eventual final tally.

UAlbany hits the road next week, taking on UMass Lowell on Thursday, October 9th at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

#10 University of Albany Field Hockey Sets New Single-Game Points Record in 9-0 Rout of Siena - UAlbany Sports 2014

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports

ALBANY, N.Y. – University at Albany field hockey (8-2) extended its perfect all-time record against Siena (0-9) to 14-0 on Wednesday afternoon, downing the Saints 9-0 at Alumni Turf. UAlbany tallied 31 team points, while four Great Danes matched or marked career highs in the win.

“I think today’s effort shows how thrilled our team is to be home after a long stretch of away games,” said head coach Phil Sykes. “I was glad that we played hard the entire game today, and that effort goes a long way towards our first America East game on Saturday.”

UAlbany wasted no time getting on the board, as Anna Bottino scored twice in the first 1:30 of the game. Her first goal to the lower left corner came courtesy of Kelly Bonner streaking down the middle. Amy Nicklin found the freshman Clifton Park product to make the score 2-0.

Bottino posted a career high with two goals, but added another point to her total when she found classmate Pahila Arnold at the 16-minute mark. Arnold beat two Saints down the middle of the circle to tally her first career goal.

Paula Heuser took over for a significant portion of the first half and the beginning of the second period. The sophomore scored her first goal of the game off of a penalty corner in the 29th minute.  She then found Echo Bretz on the far side of the goal as time expired in the first half. Bretz tipped Heuser’s pass to Kelsey Briddell, who was wide open on the left side for the goal.

The Great Danes took a 5-0 lead into halftime behind a 25-0 shooting advantage and a 4-1 edge in penalty corners.

UAlbany began to pile on the penalty corners to start the second half. Heuser inserted directly to Fiori Van Rijswijk with five minutes gone in the period. The German-Dutch duo made the score 6-0 behind Van Rijswijk’s first goal of the match.

Bretz handled penalty corner insertions for the remainder of the game, and ended the match tying a career high in assists with three. The senior inserted to Laura Page for the stop, and Heuser finished the play with a rip from the top of the circle. The penalty corner conversion marked Heuser’s 12th goal of the season.

The Purple & Gold continued to distribute the ball well deep into the second half. Bretz connected with Emily White for White’s first goal of the season

Briddell wrapped up scoring for the Great Danes on a penalty corner tip-in with 15 minutes left in the contest. Arnold found the freshman forward after a penalty corner stop from Page.

No. 10 UAlbany set a new single-game team points and single-game assists record with 31 and 13, respectively against the Saints. The previous records were set last season against Sacred Heart in a 9-0 win. Every goal scored by the Great Danes on Wednesday afternoon was the result of at least one assist.

Laura Page’s two assists against Siena give her 34 for her career, ranking second in Division I program history. The junior midfielder has 10 to her credit in 2014. The all-time single season record for assists is 19, set by Arlette Westdrop in 2006.

Maxi Primus earned the shutout win in the cage. She has seven clean sheets this season and 15 for her career.

Paula Heuser’s six points advance her to No. 9 on the UAlbany Division I leaderboard for career points, in just her sophomore season. The midfielder has 31 points this season, 14 shy of her rookie season total. The all-time single season points record is 50, set by UAlbany Hall of Fame member Tovah Atwell in 1998 at the Division II level.

The 10th-ranked Great Danes will look to continue their undefeated 5-0 home winning streak this Saturday. Phil Sykes’s squad meets UMass Lowell (4-6) at Alumni Field at 1:00 p.m.

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