Monday, September 14, 2015

#7 University of Albany Field Hockey Hands No. 8 Maryland Third Straight Loss 2-1 in 2014 NCAA Second Round Rematch

COLLEGE PARK, MD. – Proving last year’s NCAA Second Round win was no fluke, No. 7 University at Albany field hockey (4-0), downed No. 8 Maryland 2-1 in College Park on Friday afternoon. Paula Heuser had one goal and one assist in the victory. Anna Bottino notched one goal for the second-straight contest. Maxi Primus proved the star of the game with 13 saves. “Since our NCAA run last year, everyone is excited for our success which is a great feeling,” said head coach Phil Sykes. It was important to remember today that we’re a new team, and this is a new year. This was an impressive performance for us, because it was a really important defining moment for our team identity this season. I was particularly proud of the way our defense played today.” UAlbany took advantage of a quick Maryland miscue to open the game, as Kelsey Briddell turned in the circle to shoot wide left. The Terrapins countered, maneuvering past Maxi Primus. Freshman defender Annie Klinger slid across to clear the ball away and maintain a 0-0 score. The Terrapins earned their first penalty corner at the 10-minute mark. Maryland found the back of the cage, but the attempt was called off on a dangerous play. Both teams struggled to settle their offense in the early-going. On a restart deep in the UAlbany defensive end, the back line was caught off-guard, but Primus slid in across two Maryland players to cut off any shot on goal. The junior made another big stop on the ensuing penalty corner. The Danes regained possession, but Maryland responded with a three-on-two opportunity downfield. Primus came out of the cage for her fourth save of the game with just 13 minutes past. Behind a number of penalty corners, the Terrapins continued to knock on the door mid-way through the period. UAlbany’s defense held off Maryland, despite six corners. The Purple & Gold had its best look on net with 13 minutes left in the half on its first penalty corner. Fiori Van Rijswijk inserted to Laura Page for the stop. Heuser wound up for the shot, but Maryland recovered. As the game became more physical towards in the end of the first, Heuser garnered a green card. Phil Sykes & co., maintained control, despite being one player down for two minutes. In a bit of confusion through the midfield, Maryland lost track of the ball. Anna Bottino streaked up the left side looking for help. Liza Morgan ran to the circle, but the senior couldn’t turn and fire to end the half. At the break, Maryland held a 14-2 advantage in shots and a 6-1 edge in penalty corners. But the Danes emerged from the locker room ready to take control. Less than three minutes into the second half, Heuser took the ball down the right side to the corner. With Maryland trying to avoid a penalty corner, the defending NFHCA National Player of the Year passed the ball across the circle to Bottino. Bottino spun and flicked a backhanded shot into the lower left corner. The Terrapins, fearing their third-straight loss, tightened up in the midfield. Three shots and one penalty corner came up empty for Maryland. Missy Meharg called timeout to regroup in the 57th minute, but UAlbany charged on. Heuser gathered the ball on the left side, and fired a rocket from the top of the circle into the upper-right corner. The junior made it 2-0 Danes with 10 minutes left to play. Maryland began applying pressure, but UAlbany earned a penalty corner late. Megan Ma inserted, and eventually looked to tap one in on the back side. The freshman fired wide with eight minutes to play. The Terrapins didn’t back down, and eventually put one past the Danes with seven minutes left. Meharg pulled her goalie Sarah Holiday, but the extra player wasn’t enough for the equalizer. UAlbany downed Maryland for the second time in College Park, having upset the then-No. 2 Terrapins in the NCAA Second Round in November last season. Maryland has now lost three straight for the first time since 1998. The Danes are just the second team to ever beat Maryland on its home turf in back-to-back seasons, since the establishment of the Field Hockey & Lacrosse complex on campus in 2003. Phil Sykes & co., will carry their momentum into another top-10 match-up this weekend. UAlbany hosts No. 2 North Carolina (4-0) on Sunday at Alumni Turf. The Danes are set for a 1:00 p.m., start.

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