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UAlbany Football, Volleyball Teams Headed to NCAAs

ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 21, 2011) -- The Great Danes are headed to the NCAAs. With two postseason bids on the line this weekend, UAlbany student athletes were up to the task, securing bids to the NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament for the sixth time in program history, as well as the first bid at the Division I level for coach Bob Ford and the football team to the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision Tournament.

The football program will make their first NCAA appearance in 34 years when UAlbany travels to Stony Brook for a first-round matchup on Saturday, Nov. 26. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. The NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision bracket, a field of 20 teams comprised of 10 conference champions and 10 at-large squads, was announced Sunday on ESPNU.

UAlbany (8-3) captured its fifth Northeast Conference championship following a 31-21 victory over Sacred Heart on Nov. 19. The Great Danes shared the conference crown with Duquesne, but were awarded the league's automatic berth after winning the head-to-head matchup in October. UAlbany upgraded to the NCAA FCS level at the beginning of the 1999 season. The Great Danes last appeared in the NCAAs as a Division III program in 1977.

Stony Brook (8-3) won the Big South Conference title after defeating Liberty, 41-31, in its final regular-season game. The Seawolves, who have won eight in a row, are coached by former UAlbany captain and alum Chuck Priore, '82. Stony Brook, ranked No. 22 nationally in the Sports Network poll, features the top scoring offense in the nation at 39.6 points per game.

"We are probably where we should be, we are an outside group coming in," said Ford. "I think we are fortunate playing a team we are somewhat familiar with. Head coach Chuck Priore was one of our captains and coached for a period of time here. I have got a lot of respect for him and we are ready for the challenge."

UAlbany volleyball team celebrates its sixth championship in the last eight years
UAlbany's women's volleyball team celebrates its sixth America East title in the last eight years with a win over Stony Brook.

America East Conference Setter of the Year Brooke Stanley was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, as she led UAlbany to its sixth America East Conference Volleyball Championship with a 3-0 sweep of Stony Brook on Saturday evening at University Gymnasium. The Great Danes defeated the Seawolves with set scores of 25-19, 25-21 and 25-17 to take home their second straight championship title and sixth in the last eight years.

UAlbany (21-8) has reached the 20-win plateau for the fifth straight season and fourth under head coach MJ Engstrom. The Great Danes will find out their destination in the NCAA Tournament via the America East's automatic bid on Sunday, Nov. 27 at 6 p.m. The NCAA Selection Show will be broadcast live on ESPNU and NCAA.com.

"We put pressure on ourselves every day in practice," said volleyball coach MJ Engstrom, who was named the league's coach of the year for the second time. "This is all part of that. We get better and better every day at practice, and this is the result. Stony Brook played a great match. Fortunately, we played a little bit better."

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