NCAA Tournament Appearances: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2014, 2017, 2018
NCAA Regional Final: 2007
America East Conference Tournament Champions: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2014, 2017, 2018
America East Conference Regular-Season Titles: 2004, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2018
Chris Cannata, a five-time America East Conference Coach of the Year and the winningest head coach in the UAlbany softball program, enters her 25th season in 2019.
During her tenure at UAlbany, the Great Danes have compiled a 727-379-1 overall record, a 224-91-1 mark in America East play, a .657 winning percentage and have averaged over 30 wins per season. Cannata has also led the Great Danes to seven NCAA Tournament appearances, as well as, six America East regular-season championships and seven tournament titles since the program joined Division I in 2000. The club has won at least 30 games in the last 15 of 17 seasons.
2018: UAlbany earned its seventh America East Tournament title and sixth America East regular season title, heading back to the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season at the Eugene Regional in Oregon, finishing 32-16 overall and 13-4 in the league. Cannata was selected as the America East Coach of the Year for the fifth time while junior Celeste Verdolivo was the America East Pitcher of the Year. Five players earned America East All-Conference honors, including Verdolivo, McKenzie Bump and Sarah Petzold all being named to the First Team. UAlbany, as the 1-seed in the America East Tournament, knocked off 2-seed UMass Lowell twice in the conference championship, including a key three-run home run by Petzold in the bottom of the sixth in the game one 4-3 victory. UAlbany won the final game 4-1 over UMass Lowell to secure the title. The Great Danes challenged the NCAA Tournament top seed Oregon, trailing by only one until the fifth inning in a 4-0 defeat before falling to BYU to finish the regional.
2017: UAlbany returned to the top of the America East, rallying from being the 4-seed to third straight wins in the America East Tournament, then winning 6-1 over 2-seed Maine to win the program's seventh championship. The Great Danes went to the Tuscaloosa Regional in Alabama for the NCAA Tournament, falling to Alabama and Louisiana Tech for a 27-18 overall record and 8-7 America East standing. Elizabeth Snow was honored as an NFCA All-Northeast Region player and the America East Player of the Year after finishing in the top-2 in the league in batting average, on-base percentage, RBI, doubles, home runs and total bases. Snow was joined on the America East All-Conference Team with Mackenzie Cleary and Donna Conrad. The America East title for softball was the 100th conference title earned by the athletics department in its Division I history.
2016: The Great Danes got back to the America East championship round in 2016 with wins over Stony Brook and Binghamton in the elimination bracket before falling to eventual league champion Maine, finishing 34-18 overall and 11-5 in the league, the fifth consecutive season that UAlbany earned at least 30 victories. UAlbany placed five on the America East All-Conference Teams, including Maggie Cocks being First Team for the third straight year, plus a league-best four on the All-Academic Team.
2015: The Purple & Gold finished second in the America East with an 11-6 league slate, going 30-18 overall, the fourth straight 30+ win season for the program and including a trio of five-game winning streaks. Four Great Danes were honored with six America East All-Conference players, including four on the First Team: Vicky McFarland, Alexa Toole, Maggie Cocks and Kelly Costello.
2014: The 2014 season featured a historic run to the NCAA Regional in Eugene, Ore., as the Great Danes boasted a 34-13 overall record and 14-3 conference mark. Facing elimination in the America East Tournament with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning, freshman Liz Snow’s three-run walk-off home run lifted UAlbany to a 3-2 victory over Stony Brook and forced a deciding game that the Danes went on to win, 8-1. With the triumph, UAlbany captured its fifth conference tournament title and advanced to its fifth NCAA tournament. Edged 1-0 by Wisconsin in the first game, UAlbany overcame Utah Valley, 4-3, for the program’s third NCAA win in history. While the Badgers ultimately ended UAlbany’s run, Charlise Castro was named to the all-region team. Snow was named America East Rookie of the Year, while Brittany MacFawn, Maggie Cocks, and Vicky McFarland picked up first-team honors, highlighting a cast of eight on the first and second squads.
2013: UAlbany clinched its fifth regular season America East title on the way to an overall record of 37-15 and 15-2 in conference play. The team’s win total was one away from a program record and the most since 2009. The Great Danes played in the conference championship for the third consecutive season. Stony Brook defeated UAlbany twice to claim the title. On the mound, junior Brittany MacFawn was named America East Pitcher of the Year. The junior broke the single-season records for inning's pitched (256.1), strikeouts (283), complete games (34) and appearances (36). She broke a program and conference record for single-season wins with a 28-9 record. On the basepath, freshman Annie Johnson stole 44 bases, with her .86 steal-per-game average ranking second in the nation. The Great Danes set a DI program record with 14 consecutive wins. MacFawn was named the 2013 NFCA Division I Northeast All-Region Second Team. UAlbany had seven players named to all-conference teams.
2012: The Great Danes finished 2012 as the runner-up in the America East Conference Tournament. UAlbany was defeated by Boston University, 5-0, in the conference championship game after climbing its way past Maine and Stony Brook in two elimination rounds. Cannata led the Great Danes to their program's second highest single-season win total in Division I history, 36-14. Charlise Castro was unanimously named America East Player of the Year. The sophomore first basemen hit for the conference's Triple Crown, tops in batting average (.468), home runs (13) and RBIs (52). Centerfielder Vicky McFarland was named America East Co-Rookie of the Year. She finished the season with a .399 on-base percentage and 23 stolen bases. They were both named to the all-league first team along with sophomore pitcher Brittany MacFawn. Cannata surpassed the 500-win mark in an early season victory over Campbell University, 2-1.
2011: The Great Danes in 2011 were able to capture their fourth America East Conference Tournament crown. UAlbany recorded a 28-23 record under Cannata to give her 497 wins just three shy of 500. Cannata and assistant coaches were recognized as the NFCA Division I Northeast Region Staff of the Year. Gina Mason was chosen to the Louisville Slugger/NFCA all-region second team and was a first-team All-America East selection after hitting .404 at the plate. Brittany MacFawn, a freshman pitcher who was the conference championship's most outstanding player, and shortstop Andrianna Walraven were also on the all-league first team.
2010: In 2010, UAlbany record its first under 30-win season since entering the America East Conference in 2002, with a 20-23 record. The Great Danes did however land six players on the America East All-Conference Softball Team. Gina Mason and Jessican Bergin were placed on the all-conference first team. Michelle Connors and Kat Smith landed on the all-conference second team. Kylie Apostolina and Allie Weiser were on the all-conference rookie team, marking the eighth consecutive season at least one Great Dane has been on the squad
2009: The Great Danes set a program record by winning 38 games and advanced to the championship game of the America East Tournament for the fifth straight season in 2009. Meagan Butsch was named the league's co-player of the Year after breaking school records for home runs in a single season and in a career. Leah McIntosh became the fourth Great Dane in seven seasons to be awarded pitcher of the year after throwing four perfect games. Both players were named to the all-conference first team as well as All-Northeast Region selections by the NFCA. Kristine Bill, Gina Mason and Kat Smith were placed on the all-league second team.
2008: UAlbany won the league's regular-season championship in 2008 and compiled a 34-17 record. The Great Danes hosted the America East Tournament for the first time and advanced to the championship game for the fourth straight season and the fifth time in six years. Senior left fielder Amber Maisonet, who graduated as the program's all-time leader in hits (233) and runs scored (151), and McIntosh were named to the Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I All-Northeast Region second team, while Butsch joined the duo on the All-America East first team. Sophomores Michelle Connors and Bailey Van Deest garnered all-conference second-team honors, while Mason and Andrianna Walraven landed on the all-rookie squad.
2007: UAlbany won its third straight America East Conference championship in 2007, defeating UMBC in the tournament final to advance to the NCAA Regionals for the third consecutive year. The Great Danes, who posted a 35-17 record, became the first America East program to advance to the regional final, defeating Harvard and host Hofstra before falling to nationally-ranked Baylor. Senior Kelly Ogden earned her third all-conference award, and was joined on the first team by Maisonet and Connors. Connors was joined by McIntosh on the all-rookie squad, while Casey Halloran, who completed her career as one of the most successful pitchers in UAlbany history, earned all-conference second-team honors. Both Ogden and Halloran finished at the top of several UAlbany career charts in their four seasons under Cannata's guidance. Ogden finished tops in hits (202), RBI (156) and doubles (38) while Halloran is the career leader in wins (73), complete games (68), innings pitched (650.2), games started (97) and appearances (125).
2006: In 2006, Cannata's squad advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season. The Great Danes were crowned America East Conference tournament champions after winning two of a three-game series with Boston University. The team then traveled to Amherst, Mass., where they faced off against Massachusetts and Texas A&M in the NCAA Tournament. Cannata coached the America East Conference pitcher of the year for the third time in four seasons as Halloran earned the honor by posting a 27-10 record and a school-record 252 strikeouts. Six other Great Danes earned all-conference honors.
2005: In 2005, UAlbany posted its second straight regular-season conference title, while leading the conference with a .306 batting average, and advanced to the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament. Eight Great Danes received all-conference honors, including rookie of the year Maisonet and pitcher of the year Amanda Morin. Morin and Ogden were each named to the NFCA All-Northeast Region Team.
2004: Cannata's squad registered its second consecutive 34-win season in 2004. The Great Danes won their first regular-season conference championship at the Division I level with a 17-2 league record. UAlbany led the America East in hitting, and four players were named to the all-conference first team, while two were selected to the second team. Pitcher Andee Lindgren was honored as the 2004 America East Player of the Year after being named the conference's pitcher of the year in 2003. Lindgren was also a two-time selection to the NFCA's Northeast Region Team.
2003: Cannata guided the Great Danes to their first appearance in the America East Conference championship game in 2003. During UAlbany's debut season in the America East in 2002, Cannata led her squad to a 12-12 league mark while finishing 30-20 overall.
Move to America East Conference: In UAlbany's nine seasons in the conference, Cannata has coached 31 players to the first team, 15 to the second team and 13 to the all-rookie team, including Maegan Larsen, Maisonet and Vicky McFarland, who went on to win the league's rookie of the year award in 2003, 2005 and 2012 respectively.
Pre-America East: Cannata led the Great Danes through their transition from the Division III to the Division II level in 1996 and the upgrade to Division I in 2000. UAlbany finished with a 27-9 record in its inaugural Division I campaign, concluding with an ECAC regional tournament appearance.
1999: In 1999, UAlbany totaled a then school-record 33 victories on its way to the Division II ECAC Mid-Atlantic Championship and a second-place finish in the New England Collegiate Conference. Cannata was named the NECC Coach of the Year when UAlbany won its first-ever conference championship in 1998, with a 32-9 record, and was awarded an ECAC Tournament bid. During the Great Danes four-year stay in Division II, she guided the program to a 101-55 record for a .647 winning percentage and three trips to the ECAC playoffs.
Prior to her appointment at UAlbany, Cannata was the head coach at Voorheesville High School, where her team captured the 1994 Colonial Conference and New York State Section II titles. She was also a member of the Adirondack Ice, an area major fastpitch team, and played for 10 years on the Adirondack Region Empire State Games squad.
A native of Port Jefferson, N.Y., Cannata received a bachelor's degree in business administration with a concentration in finance from UAlbany in 1985, where she was a member of the school's basketball and softball teams. She earned her master's degree in kinesiology from Texas Women's University through its online program in 2008.