April 25, 2009

Battaglia's Four Goals Help Albany Clinch Winning Campaign

from press release

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Sophomore attacker Jodi Battaglia scored three of her four goals in the second half, as UAlbany held off non-league opponent Le Moyne, 12-10, in the regular-season finale for both teams on Saturday, April 25 at Niland Athletic Complex.

Albany (9-7) clinched its first winning record since the 2000 campaign and established a Division I single-season record with their ninth win.  The Great Danes will be the No. 2 seed for next week's America East Conference championship and will play in the semifinal round on Thursday, April 30 at Boston University's Nickerson Field.

Le Moyne (5-12) trailed by three at the intermission, but rallied to within one on six occasions in the final period.  Rebekah Elmer converted a free-position opportunity after being fouled in front of the cage to get her team within 10-9.  The Dolphins had a chance to draw even, but UAlbany goalkeeper Katie Neer turned aside Maura Kenville's shot near the crease with just over seven minutes remaining.

Freshman Melanie Sosnowski gave the Great Danes a two-goal cushion as she circled from behind to the left and sent a low shot into the near corner.  Elmer, who had four second-half goals, sliced the deficit to 11-10 with 26 seconds to play when she cut to the middle, gathered in McKenzie Gray's pass, and placed a low shot into the net.  After Le Moyne won the draw, UAlbany's Christine Grueniger scooped up a turnover and passed ahead to Battaglia who sealed the outcome with her 37th of the season.

"We were caught on our heels at first, but overcame that by dominating the draw controls and Jodi (Battaglia) had a good day on offense," said UAlbany coach Lindsay Hart, whose squad had finished with eight wins in each of the previous three seasons.  "Having a winning season was one of our goals.  It's exciting to experience success as a team."

The Great Danes, who had won seven of their nine entering the contest, led 3-2 in the first half, but then ran off three unanswered.  Defender Nikki Branchini tallied her fourth of the year when she cut to the middle and hit the top corner off a pass from Jenn Primeau.  Grueniger then netted consecutive goals, the first by driving around two defenders from the left side.

Le Moyne struck first when Mia Valletta drove from the right side and went high into the cage for her 30th of the season following a UAlbany turnover.  The Great Danes ripped off three straight, including a shot inside the left post by sophomore Taylor Frink.  Kenville closed the gap when she delivered from the top of the crease off Michelle Phillips pass from behind.

Albany's Mel Rorie had three goals, the seventh time this season she has scored at least three times.  Leading scorer Kayla Best, who owns the nation's second-longest goal-scoring streak at 45 straight, did not play due to injury.  Phillips had three goals and one assist for the Dolphins, who dropped their fourth straight.


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