Women’s soccer cruises to America East title
Danes Dynasty. It has a nice ring to it.
For the third time in four years, the University at Albany women’s soccer team is America East conference champions.
Behind two goals from freshman Jasmine Colbert, UAlbany knocked off UMass Lowell 5-1 at Casey Stadium Sunday afternoon, sending their senior class out with a title.
“At this point you’re so happy for the players,” head coach Nick Bochette said. “It’s their hard work, their effort, their mentality, positivity, and diligence that makes this happen. All the success we’ve had over the last few years is down to them.
“We have a senior class right now who have won three out of four America East titles. I think that speaks pretty loudly to who they are and what they’re all about and how they compete.”
44 seconds into the match, Jada Colbert, the 2018 America East Rookie of the Year, took a long through ball from senior Mariah Williams and ripped a shot past UMass Lowell goalkeeper Julia Schneider for a 1-0 lead.
It was the first goal allowed by Schneider all postseason long.
In their quarterfinals/ semifinals matchups, Williams scored the lone goals in two 1-0 wins over UNH and Hartford.
In the 20th minute, Jasmine Colbert joined her sister on the score sheet, evading the defense and burying a shot off the cross inside the box to make it 2-0. The score would remain for the rest of the first half.
To begin the second, the Danes would come out firing. Colbert added another goal in the 61st minute to build the lead to three, off an assist from AE Defender of the Year Caroline Kopp.
UAlbany goalkeeper Andrea Lightner’s lone blemish of the postseason came in the 76th minute when midfielder Lily Fabian ripped a shot into the top left corner of the net. It was the only goal she allowed all playoffs.
That goal cut the deficit to 3-1.
UAlbany didn’t waver. They responded with goals by Cavanaugh and Cristina Cernuto in the 79th and 88th minutes.
“That was the dagger I think,” Bochette said reflecting back on the Cavanaugh goal. “And credit to UMass Lowell for coming out and putting us under pressure in the second half. They played like the championship-caliber team that they are. But that was it for us. We just needed to get a foothold back on the game.
The Great Danes outshot the River Hawks 23-8 for the match.
Williams was named the most outstanding player for the tournament. She finished with two assists in the game and six total points for the tournament. Williams, Megan Cavanaugh and the Colbert sisters were all selected as part of the All-Tournament team.
The five goals scored by the Great Danes were the most by a single team in an America East title game since Hartford defeated Towson 8-0 in 1997. It’s also the most goals a conference team has scored in a single game this season.
Bochette, who was an assistant under Caitlin Cucchiella during their back to back titles in 2015-16, wins his first title as head coach.
UAlbany’s backline did a brilliant job of neutralizing Rachel Morrier, the 2018 America East Midfielder of the Year, who had 10 goals and 26 points coming in.
The 2018 team finishes 8-1-1 at home this season. They also came in as the second best scoring team in the conference averaging just over two goals per game.
They finish the season on a six-game winning streak, outscoring their opponents 15-1 in that span.
UAlbany’s championship season will continue with an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.