ALBANY — With a comeback win, the UAlbany women’s lacrosse program advanced to play in its 11th consecutive America East Conference championship game.
The Great Danes earned a 16-13 semifinal win Thursday against UMBC at John Fallon Field. UMBC brought a two-goal lead into the third quarter, but UAlbany started that period with five unanswered goals and never relinquished control the rest of the way.
Head coach Katie Thomson’s top-seeded Great Danes will play second-seeded Vermont in Saturday’s 2 p.m. final at UAlbany. Vermont defeated Binghamton 13-12 in its semifinal after Ava Vasile’s sixth goal of the game, scored with less than 10 seconds to go in regulation, put the Catamounts ahead. During the regular season, UAlbany defeated Vermont 12-10.
Against fourth-seeded UMBC, Sarah Falk and Katie Pascale each scored five goals for UAlbany, while Pascale also contributed four assists. Hailey Carroll and Kathryn Sancilio each added two goals, while Allie Maloney and Ava Poupard each had a goal and an assist.
UAlbany improved to 8-8 on the season, while UMBC fell to 8-9.
UAlbany led 5-1 after a goal from Poupard with 3:20 to go in the first quarter, then UMBC scored the period’s final goal before putting together a 6-1 second to take an 8-6 lead into halftime. Claire Bockstie led UMBC in the first half with three goals, a total that included the first and last scores of a 7-1 run for the visiting Retrievers that started late in the first quarter and encompassed all of the second quarter.
After halftime, Pascale started the scoring for UAlbany, then Carroll tied the game at 8-8. Two goals from Falk followed, then another score from Pascale put the Great Danes ahead 11-8.
UMBC worked to within 11-10 late in the third quarter, but Pascale’s third goal of the period provided UAlbany a multiple-goal cushion it never lost in the fourth. UAlbany’s largest lead in the final period was at 16-12 when Falk scored her final goal of the day with less than 30 seconds to play.
Bockstie’s three goals and one assist led UMBC, which also received three goals apiece from Dymin Gerow and Katana Nelson. Megan Halczuk had a goal and three assists.
UAlbany last won an America East championship in 2012. Since that year, with the exception of 2020 when there was no conference tournament held due to pandemic-related restrictions, UAlbany has finished as the league’s runner-up to Stony Brook each postseason. Stony Brook won this year’s regular-season championship, but was ineligible for the conference tournament since the Seawolves are exiting the America East to join the Colonial Athletic Association following the 2021-22 academic year.
UMBC 2 6 2 3 — 13
UAlbany 5 1 6 4 — 16
UMBC scoring: Bockstie 3-1, Halczuk 1-3, Gerow 3-0, Nelson 3-0, Weedon 2-0, Cleverly 0-1, Finch 1-0. UAlbany scoring: Pascale 5-4, Falk 5-0, Maloney 1-1, Sancilio 2-0, Poupard 1-1, Carroll 2-0, Kitts 0-1, Futia 0-1. Goalies: UMBC, Roberts, 6 saves; Fontana, 1 save. UAlbany, Chiarella, 5 saves; Sweeney, 5 saves.