Undefeated Women's Lacrosse Advances to America East Championship
Coaches, Players Look to Cap Historic Run with Appearance in NCAA Tournament
UAlbany's women's lacrosse players advanced to the America East Conference Championship game after beating the University of New Hampshire 18-7 in a semifinal match at John Fallon Field on Thursday, May 5. The two-time defending America East regular season champions will host the University of Maryland-Baltimore County in the championship game at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 7, with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on the line. UMBC beat Boston University 12-11 in overtime of the second semifinal game at John Fallon Field.
"The women's lacrosse team's accomplishments are a source of pride for the University and the Capital Region community," said Lee McElroy, Vice President for Athletic Administration and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. "This group has shown great determination and a competitive spirit that has shown brightly on the national level."
Head coach John Battaglino -- who took the reins in August 2010 after previously serving as associate head coach -- has the team poised for their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament, a feat accomplished by the men's team on four occasions, including a quarterfinal appearance in 2007.
Battaglino came to UAlbany after serving as the offensive coordinator for a record-setting Syracuse team that included Division I's leading scorer in 2008, Katie Rowan. Battaglino added Rowan to his coaching staff in October 2010, providing current UAlbany players with the opportunity to interact with a member of the U.S. National Team. The Great Danes (15-0 overall, 6-0 in the America East) can also rely on assistant head coach Jessica Davos, who played at Syracuse during college and went on to serve as an assistant at Harvard and head coach at Bryant University.
UAlbany coach John Battaglino has the women's lacrosse team in the hunt for a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Battaglino has praised his players, who are ranked No. 5 in the latest national poll and are the last unbeaten team left in Division I. "My biggest thing is keeping them playing together as long as I can," Battaglino said in a recent interview. "It's a great group of kids, and that's what I get my enjoyment from, just seeing them play together."
This includes 2010 All American Nikki Branchini, a senior history major with a 3.83 GPA. Branchini, a three-time All-America East first-team selection, was recently presented with the ECAC Merit Medal. The award honors UAlbany's top senior male and female student-athletes who have shown excellence in the classroom and as competitive athletes during the academic year. Branchini, the national Division I Defender of the Year in 2010 and native of Guilderland, N.Y., was recently profiled in the Times Union, highlighting her internship in the office of Albany County District Attorney David Soares.
Her teammate Taylor Frink, a senior sociology major from Baldwinsville, N.Y., is a nominee for the Tewaaraton Trophy, awarded annually to the nation's top female collegiate player. She is the first woman in the program's history to be on the award's nomination list.
"We didn't want to travel down to Maryland to play," said Fink, following the regular season finale against UMBC, a 12-11 victory. "Being able to stay up here for the conference tournament is a huge confidence boost for us."
For ticket information, contact the UAlbany Athletic Ticket Office, at (518) 442-4683. Tickets for a single session are priced at $8 ($5 for children 14 and under). College students from America East institutions can purchase a ticket for $2 with an ID card.
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