University at Albany women’s lacrosse coach Lindsey Hart wants her Great Danes to expend the same amount of energy in every game, whatever the skill of their opponent.
So far, the Great Danes are listening to their coach, and they are off to one of the best starts in program history.
Albany (3-1), which faces Massachusetts in a non-conference game today at 2 on John Fallon Field, features a roster that includes seven Section II products, a former field hockey goalie and plenty of offensive firepower.
Through four games, the Danes have filled the net 74 times, and they are allowing only a little more than six goals a game.
“I think it’s something we’ve been talking about all year, and that’s playing with consistency,” Hart said. “I want our players doing the right thing every time, whether they have to in order to beat their opponent or they don’t have to. We’ve played a couple of teams that are not yet up to our level of play, but that won’t be the case for the rest of the season. We need to stay disciplined and run our systems. We’ve been playing well so far, but we have three tough games coming up in UMass, Colgate and Denver. All three will be tough matches for us.”
Twelve players have scored so far, led by junior midfielder Taylor Frink (12 goals, seven assists), Guilderland graduate and senior midfielder Kayla Best (15-0), sophomore attack Melanie Sosnowski (14-2), senior attack Christine Grueniger (9-3), junior midfielder Mel Rorie (6-2), junior attack Jodi Battaglia (1-7) and junior midfielder Nikki Branchini (5-0), who is another Guilderland graduate.
Other Section II products on the team are freshman midfielder Rachel Burek (Columbia), senior midfielder Olivia Jarem (Shenendehowa), junior defender Caitlin Nevins (Bethlehlem Central), sophomore midfielder/defender Jenn Primeau (Niskayuna) and senior defender Tracia Primono (Bethlehem Central).
“We try to be a balanced team offensively, and we try to have a lot of people putting up big numbers, so it’s harder to defend us,” Hart said. “We have different players who can play different roles. We have some quick ones, who can dodge and push the ball in transition, and we have some more disciplined ones who can run our plays.”
Hart said the Danes look to Best for leadership as well as scoring ability. “Kayla was an outstanding athlete when she came into the program as a freshman, and she’s put up big numbers for us every year, but the one thing that has changed this year is that she’s a senior. She can’t recreate that moment. She knows this will be her last shot. Every time she goes into a game, she knows it could be her last against that opponent. It’s her last shot at winning the America East Conference championship.”
Ashley Ross, the goalie on the Danes’ field hockey team for the last three seasons, is also a key part to this year’s team.
“She’s got good goalie instincts, but stopping the ball on the ground isn’t the same as stopping it through the air,” Hart said. “She came out last spring and became our backup goalie. Now, that she’s done with field hockey, she’s become our regular goalie, and she’s doing well. The only thing is that she expects to shut out the other team, and you don’t do that in lacrosse. She gets mad any time the other team scores, even in practice. But she’s a great athlete, and that’s why she’s been able to make the transition from field hockey goalie to lacrosse goalie.”
Hart said this year’s team has high expectations.
“Our goal has been to put ourselves in position to win the America East Conference title and get a spot in the NCAAs,” she said. “Along the way, we would like to get some big wins. We’ve played in the conference tournament for the last three years, but we’ve never won.”
Marist senior Lindsay Martin (Mohonasen) won two individual events, both the 100 butterfly in 58.10 and the 200 butterfly in 2:05.22, and also competed on the winning 200 free relay that set a school record in a time of 1:35.68 and the 400 medley relay in 3:50.43 at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Swimming & Diving Championships recently at Loyola University in Baltimore. Marist won the title for the 11th time. The following week, at the ECAC Swimming & Diving Championships, Martin was a member of the second-place 200 free relay, the second- place 400 medley relay and the third-place 200 medley relay.
Monroe Community College’s Keith Burns (Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk) won the national championship in the 400 IM at the National Junior College Athletic Association Swimming & Diving Championship in a time of 4:05.34. He was also third in the 200 back in 1:52.71 and seventh in the 200 IM in a time of 1:56.51. The previous week, he was named the Male Outstanding Performer of the Region III/Northeast Conference Swimming & Diving Championship. Burns set a meet and team record in the preliminaries of the 200 backstroke (1:56.24) before winning the 200 back, the 200 IM and the 400 IM.
Sage College’s men’s volleyball team earned its first-ever postseason appearance. The Gators’ first-year varsity program will be the fourth seed for this weekend’s Skyline Conference Men’s Volleyball Championship, to be held at top-seeded Mount Saint Vincent on Sunday. Sage (3-7) will take on the defending champion Dolphins at 10 a.m.
The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute men’s and women’s cross country teams were honored for academic excellence by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The men finished with the highest team grade point average (3.68), while the women, with the same GPA, finished second.
Plattsburgh State senior co-captain Stephanie Moberg (Saratoga Springs, Northwood School) is one of five finalists for the Laura Hurd Award, given annually to the best player in NCAA Division III women’s ice hockey. A left wing Moberg ranked third nationally in scoring with 43 points on 25 goals and 18 assists. She was an All-American as a junior.
UAlbany’s men’s and women’s outdoor track and field teams have been picked to repeat as America East Conference champions in the league’s preseason poll. The men have won the last five titles, while the women have won three of the last four.
The College of Saint Rose men’s and women’s cross country teams have been honored by the USTIFCCCA for academic excellence and were named to the NCAA Division II All-Academic team. Senior Katie Rossettini (Guilderland, 3.32 GPA), freshman Emma Cohen (3.50), freshman Liz Dalia (3.65) and freshman Dana Welch (3.28) were honored on the women’s team, while junior Tyler Gantz (3.55) was honored on the men’s team.
SUNY-Oneonta’s Brian Hooks (Shaker) scored 18 points as the Red Dragons closed out their men‘s basketball season with a 91-77 loss to Franklin & Marshall in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.
The College of Saint Rose baseball team will dedicate Bob Bellizzi Field at the Plumeri Sports Complex before today’s noon double-header with Saint Anselm. Bellizzi, who died a few years ago after a long bout with cancer, won nearly 800 games for the Golden Knights in 28 seasons as head coach. The team will also have an alumni gathering at 10:30 a.m.
SUNY-Oneonta sophomore Sean Wren (Duanesburg) was part of the 4×400 relay team that finished second (3:22.46) at the ECAC Indoor Track & Field Championships at Smith College. Also at the ECACs, Guilderland’s Allie DiMura, Bethlehem’s Molly Hassett and Gloversville’s Lacie Newland were part of the distance medley relay team that finished sixth in a time of 10:32.26.
Union junior attack Kristin Joyce has moved into sixth place on the Dutchwomen’s lacrosse all-time scoring list with 163 points. She has 135 goals (fifth place) and 28 assists. Union (1-2) is ranked 15th in the latest IWLCA Division III poll.
Kayla Best was named the America East Conference Player of the Week in women’s lacrosse after scoring a season-high five goals in a 17-4 win over Canisius. She tied that mark with another five goals in an 18-2 win over Siena.
Ashley Ross was named the America East Conference Defensive Player of the Week.
Junior midfielder Erin Hepper was named the MAAC Defensive Player of the Week in women’s lacrosse after causing five turnovers and picking up seven ground balls in a pair of games. She also scored four goals.
The Engineers swept the Liberty League softball awards. Guenevieve Falco, a junior captain, was named the Performer of the Week after hitting .455 with six doubles, eight runs and eight RBI. Jen Bach was named the Pitcher of the Week after the junior posted a 3-2 record with a 1.35 ERA, while freshman first baseman Gillian McCarthy was named the Rookie of the Week after batting .423 with 12 RBI. RPI won five of seven games during the week.
Junior attack Brendan Kinnane was named the Liberty League Co-Offensive Player of the week, and sophomore goalie Sean Aaron was named the Co-Defensive Player of the Week in men’s lacrosse. Kinnane had six goals and six assists in a pair of wins, and Aaron had 33 saves in the two games.
Junior goalie Cat Ruggiero was named the ECAC Division III Upstate Defensive Player of the Week and the Liberty League Defensive Player of the Week in women’s lacrosse after making 16 saves in the team’s 11-4 win over St. John Fisher. Kristin Joyce was named the ECAC Division III Upstate Co-Offensive Player of the Week and Liberty League Player of the Week after scoring five goals in that game.
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