Danes Slip Up in AE Tournament
Albany, NY– It was an opponent that the University at Albany women’s field hockey team had defeated twice in the regular season, outscoring them 8-2 in the two victories.
It was that same team that UAlbany had dominated 4-2 on the road just eight days before their semifinal matchup in the 2017 America East Tournament on Saturday.
But when New Hampshire’s Katie Audino ripped a shot past Great Danes goalkeeper Melissa Nealon with less than one minute remaining in overtime, it was the Wildcats who left Wicked Blue Field with a 2-1 overtime victory and a trip to the conference championship game.
It was the 21st-ranked team in the nation who walked off the field hockey turf on a November afternoon in Lowell, MA in utter disbelief.
Just like that, UAlbany’s pursuit of a second America East title in three years and their season are both likely over.
Behind goals by freshman midfielder Kayla Siz and freshman forward Audino on top of a nine save performance by junior goalkeeper Kelsey Rudert, UNH knocked off UAlbany 2-1 in an overtime thriller to advance to the title game versus the #1 seed Stanford on Sunday.
“Today had very similar stats to our two previous games with UNH, which we won those comfortably,” head coach Phil Sykes said. “With a little over a minute to go we earned a penalty corner and it was all looking good for the possible game winner but we hit the post. It was just one of those days. Hats off to UNH for the win and we wish them all the best in the final.”
After the Wildcats charged out to an early 1-0 lead off the Siz goal in the eighth minute, freshman forward Katie MacCallum tied the match with 15 minutes to go before the end of the first half.
MacCallum dribbled into the circle, spinned to create an open shot for herself and fired a shot into the back left corner of the net to even the score at one.
In the 72nd minute, the Clifton Park native Nealon made two incredible saves to keep the game even at one and give the Danes an opportunity in extra time.
Off a rebounded slap shot, Audino sealed the win for UNH eight minutes into overtime for their third straight victory.
UAlbany outshot UNH 17-6 in the match as a whole and had nine penalty corner opportunities compared to just three for the Wildcats.
The Great Danes will have to hope for an at large berth to keep their season alive. Coming into Saturday’s contest, UAlbany (12-7, 6-2 AE) had won eight of their last nine matches outscoring opponents 33-12 over that stretch.