The 24th-ranked University at Albany women’s field hockey team welcomed #15 Delaware to Alumni Turf on Sunday after securing a victory in the team’s conference opener Friday over UMass Lowell. Sunday, the Great Danes knocked off the Blue Hens 2-1.
“Syracuse, Boston College, and Delaware were going to be our three real good tests going into conference play,” said head coach Phil Sykes. “And to, I think, outplay Syracuse and Boston College, but unfortunately not get the win, but to get the win here with games against Maine and New Hampshire and our other tough conference opponents coming up is huge. It’s such a momentum builder. We’re over the moon that we had a good effort today.”
UAlbany got on the board quickly in the fourth minute when Elaina Burchell set up leading scorer Ghislaine Beerkens in front of the net for Beerkens’ fifth goal of the season. After gaining the early advantage, the Great Danes continued to apply pressure on the offensive end for the reaminder of the first half, outshooting Delaware 8-4 by halftime.
Delaware responded early in the second half on a penalty corner in the 48th minute that led to Laruein Vink netting her third goal of the season. Vink took advantage of the setup from Ally Pollak and Pia Freudenberger, who took the corner.
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The Great Danes responded quickly, just three minutes of game time later, with the game-clinching goal to go up 2-1. In the aftermath of their own penalty corner attempt, Katie MacCallum collected the ball and set up Dana Bozek, who scored her fourth goal of the season to put UAlbany up for good.
Delaware picked up the pace for the final 10 minutes of the game in a final effort to force overtime, taking three shots and drawing one last penalty corner, but the Blue Hens were unable to find the back of the net. In the second half, Delaware’s high-pressure offense out-shot UAlbany 9-5.
Coach Sykes: “We knew it was going to be a tough game. Delaware won the national title two years ago and they’re loaded. They have such a good team. They’re deep, talented, and have the national player of the year from a couple years ago, and they can do damage at any time. I was curious to see how our composure would be today and I thought that’s what won us the game, just being calm and making good decisions and not being overwhelmed by the situation.”
- UAlbany held an 8-4 shooting advantage in the first half
- Delaware outshot UAlbany 9-5 in the second half
- UAlbany goalkeeper Melissa Nealon made four saves
- Elaina Burchell led UAlbany with four shots, three of which were on target
Next: UAlbany has a quick turnaround ahead of their next game, when they will welcome Holy Cross to Alumni Turf on Tuesday, September 25 at 4:00 p.m.