#8 UAlbany Cruises by UNH in AmEast Semifinal

Albany, N.Y. Jodi Battaglia and Ariana Parker each scored five goals to power UAlbany to an 18-7 victory over New Hampshire in the America East Conference semifinal round on Thursday afternoon at John Fallon Field. The Great Danes advanced to Saturday's championship and will meet UMBC, a 12-11 overtime winner against Boston University.

UAlbany (16-0) reversed an early 1-0 deficit by scoring nine consecutive times. Ariana Parker put her team in front by converting a bounce shot in a free-position situation. Battaglia tallied two of her team's next three goals, each off a feed from Taylor Frink. Amanda Pollock, who had a career-high four goals, all in the opening period, ended that outburst when Jess Antelmi caused a turnover that led to an offensive possession.

New Hampshire (8-9) came back with a pair of goals. Amber Casiano connected on a free-position shot, before Hayley Rausch moved from behind the cage to score from the left side. The Great Danes, who are the tournament's top seed after winning the regular-season crown, responded with the final five goals of the period to take a 14-3 lead to the locker room. Pollock, a junior midfielder, scored twice in that stretch, including a transition play where defender Jenn Primeau caused a turnover and drove the ball from her own end.

The Great Danes, who advanced to the championship for just the second time in the program's history, scored twice in the opening four minutes of the second half. Battaglia, who recorded her 21st career hat trick, found the net with a free-position opportunity. Frink, who scored a pair and tied a tournament-record with five assists, faked and scored from left of the crease.

"We set the tone right away," said Battaglia, whose team had lost their previous three meetings with New Hampshire in conference postseason play. "We pushed the pedal and there was no backing down."

Rausch, who earlier this season netted an overtime shot to defeat Boston U., led the Wildcats with three goals, including her 26th of the season. UAlbany's Parker, a freshman midfielder, added one assist to her five-goal offensive output. The Great Danes, who the lone unbeaten Division I team, are ranked No. 8 in the IWLCA poll and No. 5 by deBeer/Inside Lacrosse.

"We had a great start," offered Pollock, whose team lost in the America East semifinals one year ago after running the table in the regular season. "Coach (Battaglino) expects the best from us. We had that (losing last year) in the back of our heads and it is an awful feeling."

In the second semifinal, UMBC came from four down midway through the second half to draw even in regulation on goals by Lindsay Cox and Amanda Pappas. The Retrievers tallied 20 seconds into the extra period as Emily Coady circled from behind the cage and scored from right of the crease.

* * * *

ALBANY, N.Y. Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.), and All-Conference First Team selection, scored three goals for University of New Hampshire , but eighth-ranked University at Albany ousted the Wildcats from the America East Championship with an 18-7 victory in a Thursday afternoon semifinal game at John Fallon Field.

UNH, the fourth seed of the tournament by virtue of a 3-3 America East record, ends the 2011 season at 8-9. Top-seeded Albany remained unbeaten at 16-0.

Rausch, now with 99 career points, was the only 'Cat with multiple points. Amber Casiano (South Windsor, Mass.), JoJo Curro (Amherst, N.H.), Kate Keagins (Bay Shore, N.Y.) and Jenny Simpson (New Canaan, Conn.) tallied one goal apiece.

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