April 18, 2009

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Danes Drub Stony Brook, Earn AE Berth

from press release

Jodi Battaglia had five goals and three assists in leading UAlbany to a 19-9 victory over Stony Brook in America East Conference play on Saturday, April 18 at Seawolves Stadium.  The Great Danes clinched a conference postseason tournament berth for the third consecutive year.

UAlbany (8-7, AE 4-2) led 9-6 early in the second half, but then ran off five goals in a span of three minutes and 35 seconds.  Goalkeeper Katie Neer ignited that stretch when she stopped Kaitlin Leggio at point-blank range.  Kayla Best scored 22 seconds later when she converted a free-position attempt after being fouled in transition.  Olivia Jarem connected on another free-position situation after the Seawolves failed to clear the ball.

The Great Danes, who were coming off a season-low goal total in a 9-6 loss to UMBC one week ago, continued their outburst when Best finished off a fastbreak after Taylor Frink intercepted a pass.  Melanie Sosnowski and Battaglia each had a hand in back-to-back goals that gave their team a 14-6 cushion.  After Nikki Branchini won a draw, Battaglia found Sosnowski on the left side of the crease.  The freshman attack returned the favor 50 seconds later by finding Battaglia on the right side.

The Seawolves closed the gap with three consecutive goals.  Leggio, who scored four times in the contest, found the net on consecutive possessions following UAlbany turnovers.  The Great Danes wrapped up the outcome when Rory Redmond tallied one of her three goals by cutting from the left to the top of the crease.  Sosnowski, who totaled three goals and one assist, later circled around the cage and hit the net from the left.

"It's exciting to win and to control our playoff position rather than rely upon some other team to help us," said UAlbany coach Lindsey Hart, whose squad will play in the America East semifinal round on April 30.  "We talked about fighting for sixty minutes.  We chased the ball and caused turnovers and everyone did their job."

Stony Brook (4-11, AE 1-4) took a 4-2 lead in the opening nine minutes of play.  Leggio, the conference's fourth-leading scorer, netted back-to-back goals to put her team ahead.  The first-team all-league midfielder scored on a free-position attempt from the left with 21:44 remaining in the period.

UAlbany fired off six unanswered to regain the lead.  Battaglia, who scored a career-high eight points, the largest single-game total by a Great Dane in nearly seven years, found the cage for the third time in the half after Christine Grueniger intercepted defender Jenna Spenard's clearing attempt.  Grueniger then drove around a screen and sent an 8-yard shot into the cage for a 6-4 advantage.

The Great Danes, who had won six of their last eight outings entering the contest, added a pair of goals to complete the run.  Battaglia forced Seawolves' midfielder Victoria Cable to make a miscue near midfield.  The sophomore attacker then passed ahead to Frink, who delivered a shot into the lower left corner.  Best, who had three goals and extended her scoring streak to 45 consecutive games, later spun off a defender in converting from right of the crease for a four-goal lead with 9:47 left before intermission.

"We knew we had to slow them down by riding hard," explained Battaglia, who added three ground balls and two caused turnovers.  "We got our fight back today.  We wanted to seal the deal (on making the playoffs)."

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UAlbany (8-7, AE 4-2)                            9          10         -           19

Stony Brook (4-11, AE 1-4)                     5           4         -             9

            UAlbany - Scoring:  Jodi Battaglia 5-3, Melanie Sosnowski 3-1, Kayla Best 3-0, Rory Redmond 3-0, Christine Grueniger 2-1, Mel Rorie 1-1, Taylor Frink 1-0, Olivia Jarem 1-0; Goalkeeper(s):  Katie Neer (60:00, 7 saves, 9 GA).

            Stony Brook - Scoring:  Kaitlin Leggio 4-0, Melissa Cook 1-1, Kim Wodiska 1-1, May Hallion 1-0, Samantha Djaha 1-0, Jenna Celano 1-0; Goalkeeper(s):  Mickey Cahill (60:00, 14 saves, 19 GA).


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