UAlbany Downs California to Win Program-Record 10th

Albany, N.Y. Christine Grueniger totaled four goals and one assist, all in the second half, as UAlbany pulled away in the final period for a 13-5 non-league victory over California on Friday afternoon at John Fallon Field. The Great Danes established the program's Division I record with their 10th win of the season.

UAlbany (10-2) led 4-3 at halftime, but then erupted for nine unanswered. Mel Rorie, a junior midfielder, started the decisive run when she scored with 19 seconds elapsed. Defender Stephanie Kempf won the opening draw and Rorie sent a low shot into the net to finish off a drive from the right side.

Grueniger then went to work as she scored four consecutive times in a five-minute-and 38-second span. After a free-position attempt was saved by Califorinia goalkeeper Allie Shropshire, Grueniger scored from the right with a sidearm delivery.

She later worked around a defender and sent a blast directly over Shropshire's head into the cage. The senior attacker fired a sidearm shot inside the right post after Melanie Sosnowski found her cutting in the middle of the zone 55 seconds later. Grueniger gave her team a 9-3 advantage by converting a free-position shot after being fouled in transition.

The Great Danes, who rebounded off a 17-14 loss to Lehigh on Monday, added four more goals that pushed the lead to double figures with 11:49 remaining. With the goalkeeper out of the cage in Cal's pressure defense, senior attacker Julie Bush one-timed Taylor Frink's pass from behind. Nikki Branchini connected on a free-position opportunity, before Frink converted a fastbreak pass from Grueniger after defender Jenn Primeau started the play with a caused turnover.

"We talked about making adjustments at halftime and winning the first five minutes of the second half," UAlbany coach Lindsey Hart said. "Christine (Grueniger) stepped it up and (goalkeeper) Ashley (Ross) has had a great year. We got back to basics and were disciplined."

California (4-9) reversed an early 2-0 deficit with three consecutive goals. Tara Arolla tied the contest with her 17th of the season when Allie Welsh sent a pass to the right of the crease. Alyse Kennedy, a senior midfielder, then put her team in front by driving from the top of the zone and sending a shot inside the right post. The Great Danes regained the lead with a pair of goals 37 seconds apart. Sosnowski, who had two goals and one assist, and Olivia Jarem, who scored twice, each were successful in free-position situations.

"We played a lot of defense in the first half," explained Grueniger, who tied her career-high point total. "The first goal (of the second half) put everyone in the mindset that we had to keep it going. We grabbed the momentum from the beginning."

Shropshire finished with 10 saves for the Bears, who defeated conference opponent Oregon in their last outing one week ago. UAlbany's Ross stopped 10 shots, while Frink had one goal and two assists.

* * * *

ALBANY, N.Y. California trailed just 4-3 at halftime of its nonconference match at Albany on Friday, but the Golden Bears ended up losing 13-5 to the Great Danes at John Fallon Field.

After Albany scored the game's first two goals, Cal took a 3-2 lead thanks to strikes from freshman midfielder Megan Takacs, sophomore attacker Tara Arolla and senior midfielder Alyse Kennedy.

However, the Great Danes converted two eight-meter shots to take a 4-3 lead into halftime. Albany outshot Cal, 20-10, in the first 30 minutes, but junior goalkeeper Allie Shropshire kept Cal in the game with six saves.

The home team blew the match open when it scored the first nine goals of the second half, with Christine Grueniger notching four of the nine. Grueniger led all scorers with five points (4 goals, 1 assist).

Cal junior midfielder Emily Abbood and senior midfielder Alex Tickner added a pair of goals late to make the score 13-5. Shropshire wound up with 10 saves for Cal.

Cal next plays at Vermont at 9 a.m. PT on Sunday, April 18.

2010-04-16



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