Women’s Lacrosse Takes Home Major Conference Awards
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – For the first time in program history, the University at Albany women’s lacrosse took home all three major America East Conference end of the year awards, one outright and two shared on Thursday, May 2.
Senior attack Rachael Burek split Player of the Year honors with Stony Brook attack Demianne Cook. Redshirt-freshman Rachel Bowles shared Rookie of the Year with New Hampshire’s Lindsey McHoul. Head coach John Battaglino was named Coach of the Year for the second time in three seasons at UAlbany.
Burek is having arguably one of the best seasons in a Great Dane uniform. The senior attack is on the cusp of re-writing the UAlbany record book and began with the program’s individual record of points in a single game with 11 (4g, 7a) against Binghamton on April 20. Her fourth goal against Binghamton made her the 10th Great Dane to hit the 100-goal plateau. Her 49 assists are tied with Taylor Frink’s 2011 record for most assists in a single season and her 79 points are five shy of breaking Frink’s 2011 record for most points in a single season. For her career, she is third all-time at UAlbany in assists with 62 and 20 behind Frink’s career record of 82.
Bowles has fit into the UAlbany offense well in her first full season. The redshirt-freshman midfielder leads all freshmen in the conference and is second on the team in scoring with 33 goals. The Cicero, N.Y. native tallied five America East Rookie of the Week honors, which is the most that any Great Dane has taken home in a season and is tied for second all-time in conference history behind Boston University’s Jenny Hauser’s six in 2005.
Coach Battaglino has recorded the best start as a Great Dane head coach in program history. In his first three seasons, Battaglino’s squad has recorded double-digit wins in every season. With just two seniors on the roster, Battaglino has guided his team to an 11-4 record this season. He boasts the nation’s fourth best defense (allowing 7.40 goals/game) and ninth best offense (scoring 14.40 goals/game).
Along with Burek, senior midfielder Jess Antelmi and junior defender Kathleen Lennon were named to the 2013 America East All-Conference First Team. Antelmi has been on a tear on offense, scoring 24 goals in the last five games with an eight-goal performance on Senior Day against Vermont. The Clarksville, N.Y. native leads her team in scoring and is fourth in the conference with 42 goals. Lennon has been dominant in the draw control circle, tallying a conference-best 96 draw controls. She is averaging 6.40 draw controls per game, which is third best in the nation. The Sea Cliff, N.Y. native is five draw controls of breaking both the program’s and the conference’s record for draw controls in a season of 100 held by UAlbany’s own Nikki Branchini set in 2011.
Ariana Parker was the lone Great Dane on the America East All-Conference Second Team. This is the third straight season the junior midfielder has been featured on an America East All-Conference squad. Parker has played a dual role this season, playing a crucial role on both sides of the field. Offensively, she has recorded her third straight seasons of 20-plus goals. On defense, she is second on the team with 19 caused turnovers and third in ground balls at 20. The Port Ewen, N.Y. native became the ninth Great Dane in program history to record at least 100 goals in a career this season.
With Bowles, freshman midfielder Christine Johnson was added to the America East All-Rookie squad. Johnson has played in 13 games this season, recording seven points on four goals and three assists. The Reading, Mass. Native has also tallied six ground balls, 10 draw controls and one caused turnover.
All-Conference members Antelmi, Burek and Parker also impressed in the classroom to be selected on the 13-member All-Academic team. Burek’s 3.54 GPA in business administration put her on the squad for third consecutive season. Antelmi’s 3.31 GPA in mathematics garnered her back-to-back selections. Parker accrued a 3.32 GPA in psychology for her first nod on the team.
The Great Danes, in search for their third straight conference tournament championship, will begin with a battle against No. 3 New Hampshire in the semifinals on Friday, May 3 at LaValle Stadium. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. and can be viewed for free on AmericaEast.com.