Friday, November 13, 2015

University of Albany Men's Basketball Challenge #/1 Kentucky In 78-65 Season-Opening Defeat

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Opening the season on the road at Rupp Arena, the University at Albany men’s basketball team gave the No. 2/1 University of Kentucky Wildcats a run, but ultimately fell 78-65 Friday night with a crowd of 22,080 in attendance. “You have to give a lot of credit to Kentucky. They’re obviously very talented and well coached with terrific guards,” said head coach Will Brown. “We knew coming in here that this was going to be a tremendous challenge for us, but it was a challenge that we were excited about.” While UAlbany never trailed by more than 21 points and got as close as 12 in the final minutes, the Great Danes struggled to sink shots. Shooting 43.1 percent from the field (25-58), UAlbany went 1-for-14 (7.1 percent) behind the arc and 14-22 (63.6 percent) from the free throw line. “I wasn’t expecting us to shoot 1-for-14 from the 3-point line and miss as many free throws as we did in the first half,” said Brown. “The one thing you can’t do when preparing for Kentucky, or at least we can’t, is simulate their length and their athleticism. You can’t do it.” Redshirt senior Peter Hooley led the Great Danes with 18 points going 7-for-16 from the field, followed by senior Evan Singletary’s 17-point effort (6-for-15) and sophomore Greig Stire’s nine points and team-high four rebounds. With a career-high four steals, junior Mike Rowley led the UAlbany squad that turned Kentucky over 20 times in the contest. “Albany, if they make any shots, like any, they beat us,” said Kentucky head coach John Calipari. “They didn't make any shots. Now, and that's a team that's a good shooting team. They're well coached. They had less turnovers than us and we pressed the whole game. And they played zone and backed away and played pack line.” Kentucky shot 56 percent (28-for-50) from the field and won the battle of the boards 34-28 in the win. After losing six players to the NBA from last season’s Final Four team, freshman Jamal Murray scored a game-high 19 points in his collegiate debut, as four Wildcats reached double figures in scoring. Junior Derek Willis followed with 14 points, scored all in the first half, while junior Marcus Lee and sophomore Tyler Ulis each finished with 12. In the first half, the Wildcats scored the season’s first points, taking a 4-0 lead before Stire got the Danes on the board with a jumper. UAlbany kept the margin within six points through the first nine minutes of the game and within single digits until Willis hit a jumper and followed it up with a three to give Kentucky a 25-14 advantage at the eight-minute media timeout. Willis gave the ‘Cats its largest lead of the half, 14 points, on another three to make it 30-16 with 5:59 to go in the opening stanza. However, the gritty Great Danes held Kentucky at bay, cutting the margin to nine, 30-21. Hooley recorded a steal in transition and Richard Peters finished the play with a lefty layup before Hooley was fouled on a runner which fell through the net, and the Adelaide, Australia native completed the three-point play at the line at the 4:56 mark. To the close the first half, Kentucky went up by 13 on Mychal Mulder’s jumper, but junior Jamir Andrews, making his debut for the Danes, hit two free throws with 11 seconds left to send UAlbany into the break trailing 38-27. To start the second half, Stire slammed down a dunk and Singletary knocked down a jumper from the top of the key to cut it to seven, 38-31. However, that would be as close as the Great Danes would get the rest of the way. Kentucky went on a 9-0 run to take a 45-31 lead on Murray’s dunk with 15:34 to go. Picking up the offensive pace, the Wildcats took their largest lead of the game when Murray hit a free throw as part of an and-one play, giving the hosts a 64-43 advantage with 8:33 remaining. UAlbany did not roll over, however, picking up the pressure in the backcourt. Hooley and Singletary tripped up Murray in transition, leading to Hooley’s layup that cut the deficit to 15, 68-53, with just under six minutes to play. Off the bench, freshman Joe Cremo layed one off the glass and Singletary split the UK defenders with a highlight reel behind-the-back layup, making the score 71-59 with four minutes to go. Murray’s emphatic dunk on the break erupted the Rupp Arena crowd, but Hooley answered right back with a pair of free throws to keep the game within 12, 73-61, with 2:26 left. But, the Wildcats held off the tenacious Danes, putting the game away with Ulis’ three-pointer at the one-minute mark. UAlbany ended the contest wit a 4-0 run, as Hooley hit a pair of foul shots and Cremo scored his sixth point of the game with a layup to close the clash. Up next, UAlbany (0-1) travels to take on Boston University on Monday at 7 p.m.

Monday, November 9, 2015

University of Albany Women’s Soccer Earns First-Ever America East Title with 2-1 Comeback Victory at Hartford

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – The UAlbany women’s soccer team earned its first-ever league title in dramatic fashion on Sunday afternoon, rallying with two goals in the final nine minutes to notch the 2-1 victory at Hartford to win the 2015 America East Championship. UAlbany (11-8-1), which has earned its winningest season in its Division I history and tying the most-ever in 1981 with 11 victories, has earned a berth into the 2015 NCAA Tournament and will find out its first opponent during the selection show on Monday, November 9th at 4:30 p.m. on The Great Danes were down 1-0 with nine minutes remaining against Hartford (11-4-4) at Al-Marzook Field at Alumni Stadium. Allison Carhart netted a goal in the 82nd minute off a Caitlyn Paltsios free kick, then Kelly Kempf scored the eventual game-winner off a scrum from long range in the 88th minute. Carhart and Kempf, each seniors, came off the bench during the game and earned their goals. “Winning the America East title feels incredible, and it was a collective effort,” said UAlbany head coach Caitlin Cucchiella, who takes the Great Danes to a league title in her third season at the helm. “The team decided, no matter what the situation, that they would stay focused and get the win.” Kempf, the tournament MVP, Paltsios, Caroline Kopp and Savanah Courtney were named to the 2015 America East All-Tournament Team. “I know a ball went up into the air, and I just took my chance and went for it,” said Kempf of her game-winning goal. “We knew we had to stay positive to come back, and it is the best feeling in the world to win.” “It feels absolutely amazing, and it is one of the happiest moments of my life,” said Carhart. “We have worked so hard this year and put a lot past us, and it feels great.” UAlbany will enter the 2015 NCAA Tournament having won its last five games, including two comeback wins in the America East Tournament. In the game, UAlbany outshot Hartford 13-6, including 10-1 in the second half. Alana Olivieri earned her fifth straight victory in goal, playing all 90 minutes. Aaliyah Ingram scored Hartford’s goal in the 6th minute off an arc shot off a feed from Kylie Hoang. Jessica Jung got the loss in goal, saving four shots in 90 minutes. In the first half, UAlbany primarily played with possession while Hartford went for quick strike counter attacks. UAlbany got the first look on a slow counter as Shelby Belak got a pass to Vivian Vega just outside the goal box in the fourth minute. Vega tried a quick turnaround shot, missing wide of the post. In the sixth minute, Ingram got the feed outside the box near the right corner from Hoang. Ingram kicked a high-arcing shot over the jumping Olivieri inside the right post to make it 1-0 Hartford. UAlbany picked up the pace as the minutes went on, putting some pressure on the Hartford back line. Mariah Williams and Krista Fitzpatrick each tried to connect on crosses, but the Great Danes could not get shots on either. Paltsios took a corner kick in the 21st minute and placed the feed just outside the goal box. Williams put a header on the ball, just missing above the crossbar. Williams almost had another chance on a later feed from Belak, but the ball was picked up by Hartford before a shot came off. Hartford had another counter attack in the 35th minute as a blocked shot eventually turned into a corner. After UAlbany defended against the corner, Elise Galipo tried a ground ball shot from outside the box, missing left. The two teams went into halftime with Hartford leading 1-0. Early in the second half, UAlbany pressed and got four corner kicks in less than eight minutes. On the fourth, Hartford cleared outside the penalty box. Kopp blasted the ball back in towards the left post, missing just left in the 54th minute. On a fifth attempt, Fitzpatrick’s feed bounced in the box to Paltsios. Paltsios kicked off the second touch as Jurg made the stop. UAlbany kept getting possession but was unable to penetrate the Hartford back line on crosses. Kiana Rugar got a look in the 70th minute and had a long curling shot towards the right corner of the goal, missing high. Minutes later, Williams shot a line drive to the left post with a falling Jurg saving the ball. The chances kept coming for UAlbany as on a free kick, Kopp got the feed alone in the penalty box. She got tangled with a defender and lost the ball as the chance ended. Hartford got a look the other way as the Hawks went for a quick strike. Sidney Spremullo fired hard at the net from long range, sailing the ball high. In the 82nd minute, Paltsios sent a free kick into the box. The ball got loose as the keeper went forward. Carhart got a tap on the ball, turned around and put it into the net for the score, tying the game at 1-1. The home team looked to attack in the coming minutes. UAlbany’s defense held and did not allow a shot in that time period. Back the other way, UAlbany went quickly to the offensive end. As the ball approached, the goalie moved up as the ball came out to a scrum. As a Hartford defender tried to clear out the ball, Kempf emerged and kicked towards the goal with her left foot, scoring on the open net with 2:17 left to give UAlbany the lead 2-1. Hartford had a final gasp with a corner kick in the 89th minute. Julia Carr’s curl went out of bounds on the near post to end the threat. UAlbany took home the 2-1 comeback victory over Hartford.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

University of Albany Field Hockey Downs No. 19 Maine 2-0 to Take America East Tournament Crown

ALBANY, N.Y.- No. 8 University at Albany field hockey (19-2) captured its second consecutive and fifth overall America East title on Sunday afternoon in a 2-0 victory over Maine (19-4). The Great Danes out-scored their opponents 14-1 in the America East tournament to earn the league’s automatic NCAA bid. “To get back to the championship with the new conference alignment and the depth of our competition was awesome,” said head coach Phil Sykes. “We definitely wanted to take it one day at a time, because anything can happen with eight teams in a tournament. This is a great Maine team we played; I’m proud of the way we battled and we’re looking forward to the NCAA Tournament.” With nerves and wind a factor early in the game, Liza Morgan registered the only shot on goal in the first 10 minutes. Paula Heuser adjusted quickly to being heavily marked in the middle of the field, earning herself a penalty stroke in the 10th minute. The defending NFHCA National Player of the Year buried the stroke for a 1-0 UAlbany lead. Momentum in hand, Bottino, Heuser and Morgan continued to press forward. But the Black Bears battled back to earn two penalty corners. The first was blocked at the defensive line, and Maxi Primus thwarted the second with a glove save. Just as Maine began to pick up the pace up front, UAlbany responded with a second goal. Bottino worked her way to the right end line, firing up a pass towards the cage. Fellow sophomore Kelsey Briddell stood ready at the far post, and she beat the Maine goalkeeper to make it 2-0 UAlbany with less than five minutes to go in the first half. The Danes earned all three of their second-half penalty corners in the first 20 minutes of the period. Frederike Helmke had a shot saved in the 46th minute, and the Purple & Gold continued searching for an extra insurance goal. Maine briefly found a loophole to earn a penalty corner with seven minutes to go. A save by Primus and a clear off the stick of Jaclyn Hibbs kept the Black Bears at bay. After Josette Babineau pulled her goalkeeper with less than four minutes left, UAlbany retained possession for the win. The Purple & Gold sealed the America East automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, set to begin on Nov. 11 with Play-In games. The No. 8 Danes took their fifth overall, second consecutive America East title and third in the last four seasons. Field hockey’s fifth title marks the 77th America East and 84th overall conference championship for UAlbany in the Division I era. Anna Bottino got the Most Outstanding Performer nod with 10 points in the tournament. She joined teammates Paula Heuser, Jaclyn Hibbs and Fiori Van Rijswijk on the All-Tournament team. Taylor Schwoyer was named the Elite 18 Award winner for the second consecutive season. Phil Sykes & co., will learn their fate in the NCAA Tournament tonight at 10:00pm. The NCAA selection show will be broadcast on AMERICA EAST CHAMPIONSHIP ACCOLADES: Most Outstanding Performer: Anna Bottino, So., M All-Championship Team: Anna Bottino, So., M Paula Heuser, Jr., M Jaclyn Hibbs, Jr., D Fiori Van Rijswijk, Sr., D Elite 18 Award: Taylor Schwoyer, 3.94, Human Biology

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Dominant 4th Quarter Leads University of Albany Women’s Basketball to 64-49 Season Opening Win vs. Pepperdine

ALBANY, N.Y. – With Imani Tate and Shereesha Richards scoring 20+ points, the UAlbany women’s basketball team outscored Pepperdine 16-4 in the final quarter to take the 64-49 victory to open the season at the SEFCU Arena. In the first year of the four-quarter format, UAlbany (1-0) had its best play over Pepperdine (0-2) in the first quarter, outscoring the Waves 17-6, and the fourth, outscoring its opponent 16-4. Pepperdine took the lead in the third off strong play from the Ogwumike sisters, then UAlbany charged ahead late in the third and did not look back. With the win, UAlbany has won its last three season openers, all in the Capital District. “Our first game, we had some jitters, and it showed in the first half,” said UAlbany head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson. “The second half, we had a lot more patience and poise.” Tate led the UAlbany offense and nearly had a double-double with 24 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals. Richards shot 7-11 from the field with 21 points and seven rebounds. Zakiya Saunders also nearly had a double-double with six points, eight assists and nine rebounds. In her first collegiate game, Veronika Lavergne hit three field goals in four chances, scoring eight points and grabbing six rebounds. “I had to step up, as a lot of people were nervous in the first game,” said Tate. “I had to be the upperclassman and lead the way.” For Pepperdine, Erica Ogwumike tallied 20 points and four boards, while sister Olivia had 12 points and three assists. Allie Green scored 10 points, with eight of them in the second half. UAlbany attacked with layups and pressure defense early. The Great Danes earned the first three baskets with three different players to take a 6-0 lead. The Great Danes kept the pressure and primarily went into the paint for its shots. Richards and Tate made baskets, with Lavergne adding a layup on a putback, as UAlbany led 17-6 at the end of the first quarter. Pepperdine continued to fire for three for its attempts as the scoring stayed even at the start of the second quarter. The visitors saw Olivia Ogwumike get open underneath the basket as the Waves chipped away at the deficit. As UAlbany struggled on offense, the Ogwumike sisters helped push the Waves ahead in the last minute of the half. Tate hit a runner in the final seconds to give UAlbany a 28-27 at the break. In the first 3:08 of the third quarter, Pepperdine started getting hot from the perimeter. Using quick offense, the Waves hit five field goals in six attempts, including three from downtown, to take a 40-32 lead. Coach Abe called a timeout as UAlbany started to come back. Following a couple of layups, Erin Coughlin buried a wing three to put UAlbany back ahead. Lavergne added another layup from Tate as the Great Danes led 43-40. The visitors went back up with a Paige Fecske three and a Green jumper on the baseline. In the final minute of the third, Richards hit a layup and then a kick-out three up top of the arc to push UAlbany up 48-45 going into the fourth quarter. Defense dominated the start of the fourth quarter. With 7:16 left, UAlbany led 51-47. At the 5:21 mark, UAlbany went on a long possession off free throws and offensive rebounds, slowly using clock and picking up points. With Richards netting free throws, the Great Danes kept possession for almost a minute-and-a-half and leading 57-47. UAlbany continued the run, adding layups from Tate and Saunders. The team did not allow a field goal until Keitra Wallace hit a layup with 1:07 left. UAlbany took the 64-49 win. UAlbany will hit the road for its next four games, taking on Boston University on Wednesday, November 18th at 7 p.m.

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