April 6, 2011

No. 10 Albany Runs Roughshod over Vermont

from press release

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Jodi Battaglia and Amanda Pollock each had a season-high four goals in leading unbeaten Albany to a 19-3 victory over Vermont on Wednesday in America East Conference play at John Fallon Field.

The Great Danes, who are ranked No. 10 nationally in the IWLCA coaches' poll and No. 7 by deBeer/Inside Lacrosse, continued their best start in program history.
 Albany (10-0, AE 2-0) ripped off five unanswered over the opening eight-plus minutes.

Pollock, a junior midfielder, converted twice in a 40-second span to ignite that outburst. Battaglia, who added two assists to her scoring total, found the cage with a rebound after UVM goalkeeper Laura Barber saved Pollock's initial attempt.

Freshman Ariana Parker then placed a shot between the goalie's legs, before a cutting Rachael Burek found the cage off Persy Sample's pass.

Vermont (7-6, AE 1-2), which had its five-game win streak snapped four days ago, came back with a pair of goals to close the gap to 5-2. Allison Pfohl scored the first of two on the day by drilling a 10-yard shot from the right after moving around a defender. Samantha Stern scored in transition following a turnover with 11:40 left in the period.

The Great Danes, who are one of four undefeated teams at the Division I level, regrouped with five in a row over the remainder of the first half. Battaglia, a senior attacker, scored back-to-back to start the run. She one-timed a high pass from left of the crease in a free-position situation, before connecting off Taylor Frink's feed. Frink added two goals in the late stages of the period, including a play where she drove from the right and hit the top right corner with 8.6 seconds left before the intermission.

"We focus on how we play and try to put our best foot forward," said Battaglia, who had a season-best six points. "We do not think about rankings and the coaches help us maintain our focus. Lacrosse is a momentum sport and we were able to ride that today."

The Great Danes improved upon their 11-2 halftime advantage by reeling seven straight goals after the break. Pollock and Battaglia started that run with one minute and 40 seconds elapsed when they teamed up on their team's 12th goal after a clearing play. Nikki Branchini scored on consecutive possessions by finishing off drives to the net for two of her three goals. Frink circled from the left to score with sidearm delivery and later set up Battaglia for an 18-2 lead with 8:19 remaining.

"I like the way we attacked and were resilient on the draw controls and ground balls," said Albany's John Battaglino, who is in his first season as head coach. "We did a lot of the little things right."

Frink, a senior attacker, finished with a career-high seven points on four goals and three assists, while Parker scored twice. Freshman goalkeeper Anna Berman made seven saves in the cage for the nation's top-ranked defense.
 "We have the potential when we work as a team," explained Pollock, who also had four goals against Vermont in last year's matchup. "This happens with a lot of practice and does not come naturally. We know things won't be handed to us."

Paw Prints

Albany has won nine consecutive America East Conference regular-season contests, dating back to late in the 2009 season ... the Great Danes tied their second-highest win margin (16) in a conference game and matched the fifth most goals (19) scored versus a league opponent ... Jodi Battaglia had a season-high six points (4 goals, 2 assists) and recorded her 15th career hat trick ... Battaglia moved to 10th on the school's career goals list (84) ... Taylor Frink equaled a career-high with seven points for the fourth time this spring ... Frink climbed into a tie for eighth on Albany's all-time scoring list with Rafaela Nikas (1995-98) ... Frink has 132 points (69 goals, 53 assists) ... Nikki Branchini has tallied three or more goals three times this season.

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