Albany, N.Y. - In making its first NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse Tournament appearance, the University at Albany will travel to Dartmouth for a first-round matchup on Sunday, May 15 at 1:00 p.m. The Great Danes, who are the NCAA's seventh seed, earned the America East Conference's automatic berth with an 11-4 victory over UMBC in the conference tournament final.
UAlbany (17-0) enters NCAA post-season play as the lone undefeated team at the Division I level. In his first season, John Battaglino, the America East Coach of the Year, led the program to a school record for wins and a national top-10 ranking in both polls.
"I am proud to see them up there (on the bracket) with all those other teams," offered Battaglino, who served as UAlbany's associate head coach last year and previously was a Syracuse assistant. "They have accomplished something together and they forever hold a common bond."
Nikki Branchini, the program's first Division I All-American, was named the America East's top player for the second consecutive year. Tewaaraton Award nominee Taylor Frink, a first-team all-conference selection, is among the nation's scoring leaders with 33 goals and 48 assists. Frink and Jodi Battaglia are one-two on the program's single-season scoring list. Battaglia, who has 51 goals and 15 assists, is a first-team All-America East attacker. Ariana Parker (43 goals, 3 assists) and Michelle Primomo (10 caused turnovers), a pair of freshman, were also on the all-league first team.
"This is great and worth the wait," said Battaglia, whose team was ranked No. 8 in last week's IWLCA poll. "We were crossing our fingers (to see who we would play). We are happy to be here and now waiting for the next game."
Dartmouth (11-4) was No. 10 in last week's IWLCA poll. The Big Green, who are members of the Ivy League, own a double-overtime win over top-ranked Maryland, a 9-8 decision that dropped the Terrapins from the list of unbeatens. Kat Collins, the Ivy League Player of the Year, has 33 goals and 10 assists. Greta Meyer leads the team in scoring with 45 points (31 goals, 10 assists). Freshman goalkeeper Kriste Giovanniello, who has a .517 save percentage, was voted Ivy League Rookie of the Year.
NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse Tournament Bracket (First Round)
Saturday, May 14
Navy (15-5) at #1 Maryland (18-1), 12:00 p.m.
Virginia (9-8) at #3 North Carolina (13-5), 1:00 p.m.
Stanford (16-2) at #4 Florida (15-3), 1:00 p.m.
Massachusetts (17-2) at #6 Loyola, Md., 1:00 p.m.
Princeton (11-6) at #8 James Madison (15-3), 1:00 p.m.
Boston College (12-6) #2 Northwestern (17-2), 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 15
#7 Albany (17-0) at Dartmouth (11-4), 1:00 p.m.
Pennsylvania (11-5) at #5 Duke (13-4), 2:00 p.m.