UAlbany Women’s Soccer Earns First-Ever America East Regular Season Title with 2-0 Win vs. UMBC
ALBANY, N.Y. – The UAlbany women’s soccer team continues to make program history under coach Caitlin Cucchiella, earning a share of the America East regular season title for the first time with a 2-0 victory over UMBC on Senior Day.
UAlbany (9-7-1, 6-1-1 AE) will be the 1-seed in the America East Tournament for the first time ever, owning the tiebreaker over Hartford. UAlbany and Hartford, each finishing 6-1-1 in league play, share the 2016 America East regular season title.
As the 1-seed, UAlbany has earned a bye and will host its semifinal game on Sunday, October 30th at 4 p.m. against the winner of 4-seed UNH and 5-seed Maine.
The Great Danes scored two goals early in the second half to earn the shutout victory over UMBC (6-10-1, 2-5-1 AE). UAlbany outshot UMBC 22-9 in the game plus picked up 12 corner kicks to UMBC’s zero. UAlbany is now unbeaten in its last seven games, including six victories.
“What a great senior day today, not just for our seniors, but for this program,” said Cucchiella. “We are thrilled beyond words, and we are very thankful that we got it done today, but it is a testament to what they have done all season.”
Kiana Rugar netted the eventual game-winner off a header from a Caroline Kopp free kick in the 55th minute. Alexa Schneider added an insurance goal seven minutes later from Mariah Williams. Chloe Borasky earned the win with five saves in 79 minutes, with Alana Olivieri finishing the shutout with the final 11 minutes in goal.
“We knew in the second half, we had to find the back of the net early,” said Rugar. “Caroline’s [Kopp] service was perfect and I managed to score.”
For UMBC, Rayven Conner had a team-high four shots, putting three on goal. Leah Roth got the loss in goal with seven saves.
UAlbany’s first chance came in the 10th minute as Paltsios sent a corner to Meghan Malone for a header, just missing high. A subsequent corner was sent away by UMBC.
UMBC, using the wind, kept firing away from long range on free kicks. One such kick from 35 yards out by Conner was saved by a jumping Borasky in minute 13.
UAlbany closes in in the 30th minute and a couple of close shots. Paltsios had a couple attempts, each missing wide of the cage. Another attempt by Schneider was saved by Roth.
Jamie Shiflett had a look on cage in the 35th minute, firing a line drive towards the cage. Borasky made a dive and grab to stop the attempt.
Borasky protected against another long range shot by Conner to finish the first half as the sides went into the half at 0-0.
Immediately into the second period, Rugar got through the back line with the ball. Her first shot was saved by a diving Roth, her second went wide of the post.
In minute 55, Kopp sent a free kick into the box from the near side. Rugar charged forward and headed the ball into the left post from eight yards away for a 1-0 UAlbany lead.
Mariah Williams got free for a shot in the 61st minute, with a diving Roth denying the goal. The next minute, she took a pass from Meghan Cavanaugh and sent it back to Schneider for an arc shot and goal inside the right post for a 2-0 lead for UAlbany.
UAlbany continued to push against UMBC, getting a couple chances in the 75th minute. Roth knocked away a Webb shot from close range, and on a second chance, Kopp sent a shot high above the crossbar.
Olivieri entered the game and kept the shutout intact. UAlbany took the 2-0 victory.