ALABNY, N.Y. – A close match took place in Albany, N.Y. this past Saturday as UAlbany (3-2, 1-0) hosted the University of New Hampshire (1-2, 0-1). The game ended after an overtime goal by the Great Danes making the final score 13-12.
It was a relatively slow start for both teams until about two minutes into the game when sophomore attacker Liv Dunn kicked things off giving the Wildcats a 1-0 advantage. Dunn has eight points in her first three games this season. Since last season, she has been credited with major growth by UNH head coach Sarah Albrecht.
“I think she came back into the year with a lot of confidence and took the time to learn our systems and understand where she needs to be and how she works with her teammates as well,” Albrecht explained. “She’s always been a shifty and crafty player and it’s been fun to watch her be able to develop and find her spots where she can do that. I think she’s getting a lot more comfortable in practice and games and I expect her to pick it up even more.”
UAlbany got on the board not long after Dunn’s goal. First-year midfielder Katie Pascale and sophomore midfielder Sarah Falk got their first scores of the game giving the Great Danes a 2-1 lead.
Junior midfielder Delaney Pratt tied the game up at 23:38 off of a pass from captain and graduate student Rylee Leonard.
UAlbany had a major spurt of five goals in a row credited to Falk, senior midfielder Kyla Zapolski, senior attack Kathryn Sancilio, first-year attacker Bryar Hogg and then another by Falk with 13:33 to play in the half.
A little over a minute later Wildcat senior Julia Neyland got her team going as she scored her first of the day just over midway through the half to get the Wildcats back on the board. Senior attacker Sabrina Grovom followed her lead by scoring a goal of her own at 10:59.
The Great Dane’s answered with 4:52 to go in the first half with a goal from Conway assisted by Pascale.
The final goal of the half was scored by Falk – her third of the game – with 1:38 remaining giving UAlbany a 9-5 lead.
Dunn kicked off the exciting second half with a goal off a pass from Neyland less than a minute into action. Leonard scored an unassisted goal seconds later at 28:50 to cut the Wildcat deficit to just two.
UNH did not stop there as they cut UAlbany’s lead to just one score when Leonard got her second assist of the day which gave Grovom her second goal of the afternoon six minutes into the half.
Four straight Wildcat possessions with a chance to tie the Great Danes came and went thanks to sophomore goalkeeper Aislinn Sweeney and her saves for the home team.
UAlbany took advantage of the missed opportunities by the ‘Cats with back-to-back goals from senior midfielder Ally Alliegro who was assisted by first-year midfielder Allie Maloney, and Falk who was assisted by Alliegro just moments later. This extended the score to 11-8.
First-year midfielder Olivia O’Connor won the ensuing draw which led to a free-position goal by senior midfielder Elizabeth Blanding.
Hogg responded with a goal with 8:10 to go pushing the Great Dane’s lead to 12-10.
Neyland scored her third goal of the day off of a pass from Leonard with 3:28 remaining.
With just over two minutes left in regulation, the Wildcats needed a goal to tie the game. Lucky for them, Neyland managed to win the draw control and scored her fourth goal of the day just moments later.
UNH almost managed to get the game-winning goal with the efforts of Neyland once again; however, her shot was blocked by Sweeney sending the game to overtime.
Overtime did not last very long, however. The Wildcats came out firing as Neyland won the draw control giving them a chance to end the game. Dunn’s shot went wide of the cage, and UNH turned the ball over to UAlbany.
After the squandered opportunity from UNH, the game was ended with a goal from Hogg off an assist from Pascale giving the Great Dane’s the win.
Albrecht’s take on the close loss included tons of optimism.
“In the second half we were really able to turn it around and step up to the challenge. Typically, Albany is a very good team and I think it was good to get the team some great competition and have them keep getting better,” Albrecht noted. “I’m excited about the season, especially how we responded today.”
The Wildcats will get their opportunity to respond to another challenge as they travel University of Vermont (1-1, 0-1), who is also looking to bounce back off of a close loss, next Saturday at 3 p.m.
“Similar to last week we are just going to figure out ourselves and make sure we are comfortable in our systems. Just making sure we are able to make the right reads and people are communicating with each other,” said Albrecht on the team’s goal heading into their next matchup.
Photo courtesy of Kathleen Helman.