No. 22 Great Danes Open Season Vs. No. 16 Delaware, Miami OH
ALBANY, N.Y. – The University at Albany field hockey team opens the 2019 season with a pair of games in Newark, Del. This weekend, the No. 22 Great Danes will face No. 16 Delaware at 2 p.m. on Friday before taking on Miami OH on Saturday at 1 p.m. in a neutral site contest.
Friday, August 30 at Delaware (2 p.m.)
Saturday, August 31 vs. Miami OH (1 p.m.)
Leading the Pack
- UAlbany captured both the America East regular season and tournament championship in 2018, marking the Great Danes third America East title in five years.
- Senior Dana Bozek is the top returning scorer, netting 11 goals with four assists last season.
- Sophomores Elaina Burchell and Kelsey McCrudden combined for 21 total points in 2018, with both earning spots on the America East All-Rookie Team.
- Goalkeeper Melissa Nealon returns for her senior season after leading the league in goals against average (0.80) and shutouts (10).
- Delaware went 13-7 in 2018 and fell in the championship of the CAA Tournament to William & Mary.
- The Blue Hens went 6-0 at home in 2018, and have won five of their last six home openers.
- Lotte de Koning is the top returning scorer from last season, recording 25 points off 10 goals and five assists.
Scouting Miami OH
- The RedHawks won a program-best 16 games in 2018 and fell in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to No. 3 Duke.
- Miami OH went 2-2 last season in neutral site games.
- The RedHawks have lost three of their last five season openers.
- Miami OH returns NFHCA All-Region selection Leonor Berlie, who was also named All-MAC in 2018. Berlie is the top returning scorer, tallying seven goals and six assists.
- Maddie Passarella returns to the cage for the RedHawks as a graduate student. Her 1.05 goals against average ranked sixth in Division 1.
Last Tuesday, the UAlbany field hockey team was picked 22nd in the Penn Monto/NFHCA Preseason Coaches’ Poll. This is the fifth-consecutive year the Great Danes will begin the season ranked in the Top-25. The America East saw a total of three teams crack the Top-25 with Stanford (21) and Maine (24) joining the rankings.
With two-thirds of the 2018 America East championship squad returning to the turf for 2019, UAlbany was unanimously selected to finish first in the America East Preseason Poll. The Great Danes received five first-place votes and accumulated a total of 25 points, exceeding second-place Maine, who received 21 points and last remaining first-place vote.
UAlbany fans will see a familiar face behind the mask in 2019 as 2018 NFHCA All-American goalkeeper Melissa Nealon returns to the cage for her senior season. Nealon is coming off a stellar junior campaign in which she ranked first in the NCAA with a .813 save percentage, third in GAA (.80) and eighth in save percentage (.750). The Mechanicville, N.Y. native, was named the 2018 America East Co-Goalkeeper of the Year and was a first team All-Northeast Region selection.
New Kids on The Block
The Great Danes welcome Pelou Bakker, Lillian Hickey, Mackenzie Hilditch, Stephanie Moncavage, Julie Rodijk, Alexa Wentz, Hanna Zarrilli to the squad for the 2019 season. The class features six freshmen and one transfer spanning three states and two countries.
- The Great Danes and Blue Hens are meeting for the fourth time in as many years, with the home team emerging victorious in their last three meetings.
- This is the first meeting between UAlbany and Miami OH since 2017, when RedHawks defeated the Great Danes 2-1 in an overtime thriller.
UAlbany entertains Harvard on Friday, September 6 at 4 p.m. in the squad’s home opener.