A year after a program-best season ended in the national semifinals, the University at Albany men’s lacrosse team’s campaign closed in the America East Conference tournament semifinals.
The Great Danes’ 2019 season ended Thursday with a 13-9 loss against Vermont at Stony Brook, as the second-seeded Catamounts ended the game against third-seeded UAlbany on a 4-0 run.
UAlbany finished the season at 5-9. That mark represents the program’s first losing season since 2012, when the Great Danes went 5-11 before going 84-24 during the next six seasons in which they won five conference championships, including the last two. With Thursday’s loss, UAlbany’s six-year streak of making the NCAA tournament will conclude.
Against Vermont, junior Davis Diamond led UAlbany with three goals, while junior Jakob Patterson and sophomore Tehoka Nanticoke each had a goal and two assists.
“We just didn’t put the ball in the goal enough times today, and they did,” UAlbany head coach Scott Marr said. “But I’m really appreciative of my team’s effort. We just couldn’t get over the hump this year. It’s not for a lack of effort and certainly not a lack of pride. It just wasn’t meant to be for this group. We’ll regroup, and have a good summer and get ready for next year.”
Junior goalie Nate Siekierski did not play in the game because of an injury, leaving sophomore Will Ramos to play for the first time in his UAlbany career. Ramos made 10 saves in the loss.
UAlbany led 4-2 after one quarter, but Stony Brook tied at it 6 heading into halftime. UAlbany junior Ron John tied the game at 9 early in the fourth quarter, but Vermont answered with the game’s final four goals to secure the win.
For Vermont, senior Dawes Milchling had four goals and two assists. The Catamounts improved to 8-6 on the season.
UAlbany finished the season 3-3 at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium and 2-6 away from it.
UALBANY WOMEN ADVANCE
Junior Madison Conway was named the America East Conference Offensive Player of the Year on Wednesday, then showed why on Thursday to help the UAlbany women’s lacrosse team advance to its ninth consecutive conference championship game.
Conway had six goals and three assists in No. 2 UAlbany’s 20-16 comeback win against No. 3 New Hampshire at Stony Brook. UAlbany improved to 11-6 with the win, while New Hampshire fell to 10-7.
“We never give up. We’ve been down before, including to New Hampshire back in April, so we know that we can come back and keep grinding,” UAlbany head coach Katie Rowan said. “This game, in particular, was great preparation for Saturday against Stony Brook. We’ll make some adjustments, put a few wrinkles in and be ready for Saturday.”
UAlbany will next play in Saturday’s 4 p.m. championship game against No. 1 Stony Brook on the Seawolves’ home field. Stony Brook is the conference’s six-time defending champion. Earlier this season, Stony Brook beat UAlbany 17-9.
UAlbany trailed 9-6 late in Thursday’s first half, but wrapped a 10-1 run around halftime to take control of the semifinal matchup. Eventually, UAlbany built its lead to 20-13 before New Hampshire scored the game’s final three goals.
Junior Sam Tortora and freshman Hailey Carroll each scored four goals for UAlbany, while Tortora added five assists. Sophomore Kyla Zapolski added three goals and three assists.
For New Hampshire, fifth-year senior Devan Miller scored six goals, junior Rylee Leonard had four goals, and senior Catherine Sexton — a Niskayuna High School graduate — added a goal and an assist.
SAINTS EARN CHAMPIONSHIP APPEARANCE
In comeback fashion, Siena College women’s lacrosse earned its second-ever trip to a MAAC championship game and set a new program record for most wins in a season with a 16-15 victory in the MAAC semifinals against Monmouth at Fairfield.
“I’m just so happy. I feel emotional, almost,” Siena head coach Abby Rehfuss said after the victory. “Just I’m so proud of the girls. We’ve really earned our spot Saturday.”
Siena trailed 11-6 late in the first half, but used an 8-0 run to surge into the lead. From there, the No. 3 Saints never trailed, but had to hold off a late rally from No. 2 Monmouth that scored a pair of goals in the final 1:10.
Siena will play No. 1 Fairfield in Saturday’s noon championship game at Fairfield. During the regular season, Fairfield beat Siena 12-11.
Siena’s championship appearance is the program’s first since 2005. Siena’s win Thursday broke a tie between the program’s 2005 and 2019 teams for the most in program history, as Siena improved to 12-6 with the win.
In the win, Siena sophomore Nicole McNeely led the way with three goals and four assists, while junior Annie Brennan and freshman Mary Soures each added three goals. Sophomore Kerry Gerety had two goals and two assists, while classmates Hayley Kmack and Julia Pelcher each added two scores.
Monmouth junior Allison Turturro had a game-high five goals. Monmouth dropped to 12-6 with the loss.
In Siena’s game-changing 8-0 run, McNeely registered five of her points — including one on a buzzer-beating goal at halftime.
“That cut the deficit down to three and gave us a lot of positive energy going into the second half,” Rehfuss said.
Redshirt freshman Kaitlyn Dowsett scored the go-ahead goal for Siena off an assist from McNeely early in the second half, while Brennan capped the 8-0 run with a goal with 17:47 to go.
Siena led 16-13 with 10:06 left after a score from Soures, but Monmouth scored with 1:10 to go and again with 15 seconds left to make it a one-goal game.
AMERICA EAST CONFERENCE MEN’S SEMIFINALS
NO. 2 VERMONT 13, NO. 3 UALBANY 9
UAlbany 4 2 2 1 — 9
Vermont 2 4 3 4 — 13
UAlbany scoring: Ramirez 1-0, Diamond 3-0, Nanticoke 1-2, Patterson 1-2, McComber 1-0, John 1-0, Schwab 1-0. Vermont scoring: French 1-0, Milchling 4-2, T. McConvey 3-0, Knight 2-1, Semler 1-0, Hudson 1-0, J. McConvey 1-0. Goalies: UAlbany, Ramos, 10 saves. Vermont, Washuta, 16 saves.
AMERICA EAST CONFERENCE WOMEN’S SEMIFINALS
NO. 2 UALBANY 20, NO. 3 NEW HAMPSHIRE 16
New Hampshire 9 7 — 16
UAlbany 8 12 — 20
New Hampshire scoring: Leonard 4-0, Masseur 1-0, Larivee 3-0, Northrup 0-2, Sexton 1-1, Hernon 1-1, Neyland 0-1, Miller 6-1. UAlbany scoring: Harbinger 2-0, Conway 6-3, Zapolski 3-3, Tortora 4-5, Carroll 4-0, Alliegro 1-0, Imbo 0-2. Goalies: New Hampshire, Torres, 7 saves. UAlbany, Schneidereith, 3 saves; Leghart, 5 saves.
MAAC WOMEN’S SEMIFINALS
NO. 3 SIENA 16, NO. 2 MONMOUTH 15
Siena 8 8 — 16
Monmouth 11 4 — 15
Siena scoring: Gerety 2-2, Kmack 2-0, Pelcher 2-0, Dowsett 1-0, McNeely 3-4, Soures 3-1, Brennan 3-0. Monmouth scoring: Staines 3-1, Gillogly 1-0, Bleck 1-2, Mills 2-0, Turturro 5-0, Ceraso 2-2. Goalies: Siena, Horton, 8 saves. Monmouth, Dellituri, 3 saves; Brager, 2 saves.