10th-Ranked Albany Downs UNH to Go 11-0

Albany, N.Y. Rachael Burek scored three of her four goals in the first half, as nationally-ranked UAlbany posted a 16-8 victory over New Hampshire in America East Conference play on Saturday afternoon at John Fallon Field. The Great Danes, one of four unbeaten teams at the Division I level, are alone in first place in the conference standings.

UAlbany (11-0, AE 3-0) raced to a 7-1 advantage by scoring six straight times. Nikki Branchini and Burek each scored a pair in that stretch. Branchini ignited the run by working around a defender from the left side, before Burek sent a free-position attempt into the right side of the cage. A sophomore midfielder, Burek later drove from the top of the zone and found the net with a low, sidearm delivery. Jodi Battaglia completed the run when she finished off a fastbreak pass from defender Jenn Primeau.

New Hampshire (6-6, AE 1-2) eventually clawed its way back into the contest. Jenny Simpson, who had three goals, picked up a loose ball following a restart and hit the net from the right with 1.2 seconds left in the opening half. Hayley Rausch, whose heroics led her team to a double-overtime win over defending league champion Boston University three days ago, closed the gap to 9-6 with 38 seconds elapsed in the final period.

The Great Danes, who are off to their best start in program history, regrouped with three goals over a two-minute and-52-second span. Branchini, a senior defensive midfielder, tallied her third of the game by connected on a free-position opportunity. Taylor Frink found a cutting Burek on the right of the crease, before Amanda Pollock converted Battaglia's feed.

Still leading 12-7, UAlbany sealed the verdict by scoring three in a row. Ariana Parker and Kathleen Lennon, a pair of freshmen, started the outburst. Parker moved in toward the goal in a free-position situation and placed a shot to the left of the goalkeeper. Lennon finished off a drive from the right point by switching to her left hand. Battaglia, who had three goals and two assists, nailed a bounce shot on a free-position attempt.

Allie Duclos had two goals for the Wildcats, who had won 10 of the previous 12 meetings between these teams. UAlbany's Taylor Frink tied a career-high with four assists and had one goal, while Pollock and Lennon each scored twice. The Great Danes are ranked No. 10 in the IWLCA coaches' poll and No. 7 by deBeer/Inside Lacrosse.

* * * *

ALBANY, N.Y. Jenny Simpson (New Canaan, Conn.) scored three goals and Kathleen O'Keefe (Chatham, N.J.) made a season-high eight saves, but University of New Hampshire was defeated 16-8 by 10th-ranked University at Albany in Saturday afternoon's America East conference matchup at John Fallon Field.

UNH, which was coming off a 13-12 double-overtime win against Boston University, is now 6-6 overall, 1-2 America East. Albany is still unbeaten at 11-0, 3-0.

In addition to Simpson, who was named UNH's America East Player of the Game, three Wildcats finished with multiple points. Allie Duclos (South Windsor, Conn.) scored two goals while both Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.) and JoJo Curro (Amherst, N.H.) tallied a goal and an assist. O'Keefe played 55:10 and yielded 14 goals; she was also credited with two caused turnovers and two ground balls. Kate Gunts (Wilton, Conn.) had a relief stint of 4:50 in the second half and stopped three of five shots on goal.

The Great Danes' offense was led by Jodi Battaglia (3g, 2a) and Taylor Frink (1g, 4a) with five points apiece. Rachael Burek scored four goals and Nikki Branchini had three. Anna Berman was credited with six saves.

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2011-04-09



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