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A Big Hand for Back-to-Back

America East champion women's soccer returns to the NCAA tournament.

A jubilant women's soccer team flashes the "number one" sign after winning the America East title with a 2-1 victory over Hartford on Sunday Night. (Photo by Bill Ziskin)

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 8, 2016) – UAlbany women’s soccer is once again champions of the America East.

UAlbany defeated Hartford 2-1 under the lights at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium on Sunday night. The win secured the Great Danes’ second consecutive conference title and an automatic bid to the 2016 NCAA tournament. The team will take on the University of Connecticut (UConn) in Storrs, Conn., this Saturday at 6 p.m.

The No. 1 seed, UAlbany trailed early, but erased a 1-0 Hawks deficit with goals by Kiana Rugar in the 44th minute and Vivian Vega in the 76th minute. Gina Bracamonte was credited with both assists and goalkeeper Chloe Borasky had four saves to earn the victory between the pipes.

UAlbany’s Caitlyn Paltsios was named the America East Tournament Most Outstanding Player with Rugar, Vega and Mariah Williams joining her on the All-Tournament team.

“It is absolutely amazing, and the fact we were able to do it on our home field in front of our family and friends is remarkable,” said UAlbany head coach Caitlin Cucchiella. “The girls knew we always have a better second half, and I knew we were going to come back.”

UAlbany women's soccer to NCAA tournament

Players react to UAlbany being announced to play UConn during the NCAA Selection Show on Monday night. (Photo by Carlo de Jesus)

In just four seasons, Cucchiella has turned around a program that had just one non-losing record since 1999. UAlbany clinched its first ever NCAA Tournament berth in 2015, finishing the season at 11-9-1 and defeating Hartford on the road in the America East Championship.

This year’s team is even stronger, at 11-7-1, and becomes the first women’s soccer program to earn back-to-back America East titles since Boston University in 2010 and 2011.

“Caitlin and her staff have done a wonderful job in the past four seasons building the Great Danes into an America East championship program,” said UAlbany Athletic Director Mark Benson.

View the entire Division I Women’s Soccer Championship bracket here.

Interested in learning more about UAlbany Athletics? Visit www.ualbanysports.com for up-to-date scores and news on all of the University’s 18 Division I teams.

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