March 19, 2011

Albany Downs UMass to Stay Perfect

from press release

AMHERST, Mass. - Taylor Frink scored the go-ahead goal with seven minutes and 26 seconds remaining, as UAlbany edged Massachusetts, 10-8, in a battle of undefeated nationally-ranked teams on Saturday, March 19 at Garber Field. The Great Danes are off to their best start as a Division I program.

Massachusetts (6-1) trailed 8-6 midway through the second half, but then tied the contest on back-to-back goals by Jackie Lyons and Jesse O'Donnell. The Minutewomen, who are ranked No. 19 in the IWLCA coaches' poll and No. 12 by deBeer/Inside Lacrosse, cashed in on a couple of defensive fouls to draw even. O'Donnell sent a free-position attempt over the goalkeeper's stick with 8:56 to play.

UAlbany (6-0) regrouped when UMass midfielder Kelsey Palmer fouled Frink in the scoring zone 38 seconds later. The senior attacker blasted a free-position shot high into the right corner to put her team in front. With the Minutewomen pressuring the ball, UAlbany's Jodi Battaglia dodged from behind the cage and found freshman Kathleen Lennon on the crease for a two-goal margin with 5:52 remaining. The Great Danes played keep away from the UMass' defensive double-team in the game's late stages to run out the clock.

In a tight-fisted affair, the Great Danes led 5-4 at halftime. Rachael Burek and Frink each scored in the opening four minutes to put their squad ahead. Massachusetts closed the gap to 3-2 when Nina Sarcona one-timed Lyons' bullet pass. UAlbany regained its two-goal advantage twice in the period. Nikki Branchini broke up a clearing pass that led to Persy Sample's goal and a 5-3 lead. UMass freshman Katie Ferris tallied the second of her three goals when she wrapped around to left side and sent a shot high toward the far post with 15 seconds remaining.

Frink, who matched a career-high with seven points on four goals and three assists, was involved in a pair of scores that provided the Great Danes with a 7-4 cushion early in the final period. She moved from behind to the right of the crease for a goal and then set up Battaglia in the middle of the zone for another. The Minutewomen responded with consecutive goals by O'Donnell and Ferris in setting up the finish.

Freshman goalkeeper Anna Berman made a career-high nine saves for the Great Danes, who are No. 17 in the IWLCA rankings and No. 15 in the media poll. Battaglia added two goals and two assists. UMass goalkeeper Katie Florence stopped nine shots. The Minutewomen were having their best start to a season since the 1986 campaign.

Paw Prints:  UAlbany picked up its second road win of the season, each against a nationally-ranked team ... Taylor Frink scored seven points for the third consecutive game ... Frink moved up to 10th on the program's all-time scoring list with 119 points (63 goals, 46 assists) ... Jodi Battaglia tied a season-high with four points (2 goals, 2 assists) ... Battaglia needs two points to become the 14th UAlbany player to reach the 100-career plateau ... Nikki Branchini tied a career-best with four caused turnovers and had six ground balls, one off her best total as a collegian ... UAlbany has won the last two meetings with UMass after losing the first six contests in the series.

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