The Great Danes, clearly, meant it.
On the way to a 17-8 victory against Vermont at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium, UAlbany opened Thursday’s game on Long Island with eight unanswered goals.
“We came out flying,” UAlbany head coach Katie Rowan Thomson said during a post-game teleconference.
“We came out really fast, really hot, and had a lot of threats all over the field, which is an awesome way to start off,” UAlbany graduate student Madison Conway said.
With the victory, UAlbany advanced to its 10th consecutive conference championship game. The Great Danes, again, will play in the final against Stony Brook, which has won the last seven America East championships and has defeated the Great Danes in 16 consecutive meetings. Top-seeded Stony Brook advanced through its semifinal game with a 25-13 win against UMBC, a matchup that saw Seawolves graduate student Ally Kennedy register seven goals and an assist.
In the win for UAlbany (No. 2 seed, 11-6 overall), the Great Danes scored eight goals in the opening 11 minutes against a Vermont (No. 3, 6-6) team they had defeated 20-5 during the regular season. Six different UAlbany players scored during that game-starting run, while senior Julia Imbo scored all three of her goals during that 8-0 streak.
Imbo also had two assists in the game, while Conway contributed three goals and three assists, and senior Kyla Zapolski had a game-high four goals. Sophomore Sarah Falk had three goals for UAlbany.
Graduate student Georgia Schneidereith made 11 saves for the Great Danes.
“I think we really prepared to have great energy out there and to support each other, and to lift each other and be positive — and I think that truly showed in that first 10 minutes,” Schneidereith said of the Great Danes’ start.
After UAlbany’s 8-0 start, the Great Danes maintained at least a six-goal lead for the rest of the game.
Saturday’s championship game will be played at 1 p.m. on Stony Brook’s home field.
Stony Brook defeated UAlbany twice during this year’s regular season.
Halftime score: UAlbany led
11-4. Vermont scoring: Large 2-1, Mullen 2-1, Vasile 2-0, Giancola 1-0, Paterno 1-0. UAlbany scoring: Conway 3-3, Imbo 3-2, Zapolski 4-0, Sancilio 2-2, Pascale 0-3, Falk 3-0, Harbinger 1-1, Futia 1-0, Santana 0-1. Goalies: Vermont, Shipp, 3 saves; McLaughlin, 5 saves. UAlbany, Schneidereith, 11 saves.