Sports Briefs: Howard leaving as coach of UAlbany women’s soccer

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ALBANY — After two seasons at the helm, Leigh Howard has announced her resignation as UAlbany women’s soccer head coach to take the position of Director of Program and Unified Sports for Special Olympics New York.

“I am very grateful for the time I have spent leading the women’s soccer program at UAlbany,” Howard said in a release from UAlbany. “I am especially appreciative of the guidance and support provided by my staff, Mark Benson, Cara White, and our larger Great Dane community. I have a long-standing passion for the nonprofit sector and connecting people through sport. I am excited for the opportunity to explore this passion full-time with Special Olympics New York.”

“We thank Leigh for her contributions to our women’s soccer program,” athletic director Mark Benson said. “Leigh stepped into a very difficult situation when hired at UAlbany. I don’t think anyone could predict she wouldn’t have the opportunity to coach her first game until more than a year had passed due to COVID-19. She successfully led the program during the pandemic, once again bringing our Great Danes to the postseason. We wish her well in her future endeavors.”

The Great Danes finished Howard’s tenure with an overall record of 11-13-4, and a conference record of 8-5-2 with one appearance in the America East Tournament, the program’s first since the 2018 season. During that time, the team boasted seven All-Conference honors, highlighted by Jasmine Colbert being named America East Striker of the Year during the spring 2021 season.

Assistant coach CC Cobb will take over as interim head coach. A national search for UAlbany’s next head women’s soccer coach will begin immediately.

COLLEGE HOCKEY

UNION SCHEDULE CHANGES

SCHENECTADY — Due to health and safety protocols, both of the Union women’s hockey team’s games scheduled at Messa Rink this weekend have been moved.

Today’s game against Princeton has been rescheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, and Saturday’s Quinnipiac game has been moved to 6 p.m. Monday.

As a reminder, recent spectator policy changes dictate that only current members of the Union community (with valid ID) will be able to come to Messa Rink to watch the games. All home Union hockey games are streamed domestically and internationally via ESPN+/Stretch Internet and have a free audio stream available at UnionAthletics.com.

COLLEGE SPORTS

RPI SCHEDULE UPDATES

TROY — The RPI women’s hockey team, along with men’s and women’s basketball, announced schedule adjustments on Thursday.

The women’s hockey games scheduled for Friday against Quinnipiac and Saturday against Princeton have been postponed, with no makeup date finalized.

Men’s and women’s basketball home games against Bard on Tuesday and against Skidmore on Jan. 22 have been moved to Feb. 8 and Jan. 23, respectively.

HORSE RACING

NYRA HANDLE ALMOST $2.4B

OZONE PARK — The 2021 New York Racing Association race meets at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course generated all-sources betting handle of $2,373,772,916 and average daily handle of $11,809,816 over 201 race days.

Average daily handle on the NYRA circuit has increased 21.6% since 2019, when average daily handle over 217 race days was $9,714,868. Average daily handle in 2020, which featured 157 race days, was $11,553,727.

Although 19.9% (40 of 201) of the NYRA race days were held at Saratoga, the Spa was responsible for 34.4% of NYRA’s total handle in 2021, while topping $800 million ($815,508,063) for the first time ever.

All sources handle for 2021 was $265,646,547 higher than 2019, an increase of 12.6 percent; and $559,837,825 higher than 2020, a 30.9 percent increase.

Average field size for the 1,887 races completed in 2021 was 7.68, a 3.9 percent increase over 2019 and a 1.8 percent decrease from 2020.

On-track handle in 2021 totaled $266,978,634 compared with $152,114,600 in 2020 and $310,053,754 in 2019.

RAMOS TESTS POSITIVE

OZONE PARK — Jockey Christian Ramos tested positive for COVID-19 Thursday and will remain off his mounts through Sunday, according to the New York Racing Association.

Ramos sought testing after experiencing mild symptoms and received the test result early Thursday morning and was not on-site at Aqueduct during the live racing card.

All members of the NYRA jockey colony are vaccinated and adhere to established protocols. In addition, the jockey quarters at Aqueduct Racetrack have been substantially altered to provide maximum physical distancing and reduce density.

NYRA follows the most updated federal and state guidance regarding contact tracing, testing, required isolation, and quarantine. Accordingly, Ramos will be permitted to return to competition on Thursday, Jan. 20 should he remain asymptomatic.

COLLEGE BASEBALL

UALBANY RELEASES SCHEDULE

ALBANY — UAlbany baseball head coach Jon Mueller announced a 2022 Great Danes schedule Thursday that includes 48 games, 18 of which will be at home.

The Great Danes kick off the season with a three-game series against the University of Georgia down south. Additional non-conference opponents include Maryland Eastern Shore, Fairleigh Dickinson, Iona, Central Connecticut State, Coppin State, UMass and Manhattan.

America East action picks up on March 18 when the team faces off against UMBC in Baltimore. UAlbany will return to Varsity Field for the first time in 2022 just days later when the Great Danes host NJIT on March 25.

2022 SCHEDULE

February

2/18 – at Georgia, 2; 2/19 – at Georgia, 3; 2/20 – at Georgia, 1; 2/25 – at UMES; 2/26 – at UMES (DH); 2/27 – at UMES.

March

3/2 – at Fairleigh Dickinson, 2; 3/5 – at Iona (DH); 3/6 – at Iona; 3/8 – at CCSU, 3; 3/12 – at Coppin State, 12; (DH); 3/13 – at Coppin State, noon; 3/18 – at UMBC, 3; 3/19 – at UMBC, 2; 3/20 – at UMBC, 1; 3/25 – vs. NJIT, 3; 3/26 – vs. NJIT, 2; 3/27 – vs. NJIT, 1; 3/29 – vs. UMass, 3.

April

4/1 – vs. Binghamton, 3; 4/2 – vs. Binghamton, 1; 4/3 – vs. Binghamton, 1; 4/8 – at Stony Brook, 3; 4/9 – at Stony Brook, 1; 4/10 – at Stony Brook, 12; 4/15 – vs. Maine, 3; 4/16 – vs. Maine, 1; 4/17 – vs. Maine, 1; 4/22 – at Hartford; 4/23 – at Hartford; 4/24 – at Hartford; 4/27 – vs. Manhattan, 3; 4/29 – at UMass Lowell, 6; 4/30 – at UMass Lowell, 1.

May

5/1 – at UMass Lowell, noon; 5/4 – vs. Fairleigh Dickinson, 3; 5/6 – vs. Hartford, 3; 5/7 – vs. Hartford, 1; 5/8 – vs. Hartford, 1; 5/13 – at Maine; 5/14 – at Maine; 5/15 – at Maine; 5/19 – vs. UMass Lowell, 3; 5/20 – vs. UMass Lowell, 1; 5/21 – vs. UMass Lowell, 1; 5/25 – 5/29 – America East Championship.

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