March 21, 2009

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Albany Pulls Stunner, Beats No. 13 UNH

from press release

ALBANY, N.Y. – Sophomore midfielder Mel Rorie scored with one minute and 11 seconds left in overtime, as UAlbany upset No. 13 New Hampshire, 16-15, in the America East Conference opener for both teams on Saturday afternoon at John Fallon Field. The Great Danes posted their first victory over a national top-20 team and won for the first time in the series after nine previous losses.

New Hampshire (6-3, AE 0-1) trailed 12-5 in the second half, but then countered with seven of the game’s next eight goals. Freshman midfielder Kate Keagins ignited that run with three of her team-high six goals. Keagins found the net off a rebound when Shaunna Kaplan’s initial shot hit the crossbar, before all-conference attacker Sarah Von Bargen converted a sidearm delivery in a free-position situation to close the gap to 13-12 with 7:01 left.

UAlbany (3-5, AE 1-0) upped its lead to a two-goal margin when Rorie hit the left side of the net on a free-position attempt. The Wildcats, who are ranked No. 13 in both the IWLCA and Inside Lacrosse polls, forced an extra period with a pair of goals in a 50-second span. Von Bargen, the nation’s fifth-leading scorer, tallied her 41st of the season and then set up the tying goal with 1:32 to play. After a UAlbany turnover, Von Bargen ran down the ground ball and drove into the scoring area before sending a backwards pass for Keagins to finish into the net.

In the overtime, the Great Danes struck first as freshman Melanie Sosnowski sent a blast into the top left corner off a feed from Rory Redmond. UNH won the following draw and drew even 18 seconds later when Kaplan connected from Michaela Hardy. Rorie scored the game-winner when she drove around a defender and fired from the right into the left side of the net. Goalkeeper Katie Neer sealed the verdict when she stopped Von Bargen’s free-position shot with 28.1 seconds remaining.

“This was the game we have been trying to play all year,” said UAlbany coach Lindsay Hart, whose teams had dropped their previous 13 meetings with national top-20 squads. “It was a new situation for us to be in a close game with a team of that caliber. We got unsure and shaky. But we fought for 66 minutes and were able to get the ball to familiar sticks.”

The Great Danes, who were also playing in their home opener after seven consecutive road games, roared to a 10-0 lead in the opening 22-plus minutes. Kayla Best, who tied a career-high scoring total with three goals and four assists, did all of her offensive work in that stretch. Jodi Battaglia added all three of her goals in that start. UAlbany grabbed a 4-0 advantage when Best’s stick-check caused a turnover and led to Julie Bush’s goal. Best, who has scored a goal in 38 consecutive games, gave her team an 8-0 lead by converting a free-postion opportunity. Taylor Frink completed dthat outburst off a restart following a UNH turnover.

The Wildcats, who came from behind to defeat Massachusetts in their last outing, scored five unanswered over the final five minutes of the first half to get back into the contest. Keagins accounted for two of those goals. Von Bargen, who scored three times, including the 150th of her career, added another.

“We went from confidence to nervousness, but in the end we pulled through,” explained Redmond, a senior midfielder who equaled a career-best total with three goals and one assist. “We took a deep breath and told ourselves that we can do this, just like we practice. It’s amazing (the win), but the most important thing it does is set a tone for conference play.”

-agate-

#13 New Hampshire (6-3, AE 0-1) 5 9 1 - 15

UAlbany (3-5, AE 1-0) 10 4 2 - 16

New Hampshire – Scoring: Kate Keagins 6-0, Sarah Von Bargen 4-1, Shaunna Kaplan 2-0, Susie Piotrkowski 1-3, Hayley Rausch 1-1, Allie Bratton 1-0, Michaela Hardy 0-1; Goalkeeper(s): Nikki Hume (10:39, 0 saves, 6 GA), Kate Gunts (55:21, 0 saves, 10 GA).

UAlbany – Scoring: Mel Rorie 4-0, Kayla Best 3-4, Rory Redmond 3-1, Jodi Battaglia 3-0, Julie Bush 1-1, Taylor Frink 1-0, Melanie Sosnowski 1-0; Goalkeeper(s): Katie Neer (66;00, 15 saves, 15 GA).


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