Women's lacrosse set for America East semifinals
ALBANY, N.Y. – The University at Albany women’s lacrosse team will be trying to advance to the America East championship game for the eighth consecutive season when it faces Binghamton at 7 p.m. Friday in the league semifinals in Stony Brook, N.Y.
The No. 2-seeded Great Danes enter the tournament having won eight of their past nine games.
UAlbany defeated Binghamton, the tournament’s No. 3 seed, 12-10 earlier this season in Albany. Kyla Zapolski and Kaylee Rickert scored in the final nine minutes to provide the decisive margin in a game that had been tied at 10. Sam Tortora led UAlbany with five points (one goal, four assists), and Kendra Harbinger scored a hat trick.
The Great Danes have won all 17 meetings between the programs. The teams never have met in the America East Tournament.
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NEWS AND NOTES
Great Danes surge in season’s second half
After starting the season 0-7, the Great Danes won eight of their final nine games.
UAlbany had played a challenging non-conference schedule, with games against No. 4 Syracuse and No. 17 Penn State as well as reigning Northeast Conference champion Bryant, Connecticut and Dartmouth, which is now ranked No. 21 in the country.
Since the 0-7 start, UAlbany’s goal differential has almost completely reversed. Over the first seven games of the season, the Great Danes were outscored 104-65; over the past nine, UAlbany is outscoring its opponents 121-80.
Most notably, the Great Danes have allowed double-digit goals only twice during the past nine games, in a 12-10 victory over Binghamton on March 31 and in a 21-8 loss to Stony Brook in the regular-season finale.
Youth serves Great Danes
UAlbany is one of the youngest teams in the country, with 20 of 24 players on the roster being underclassmen.
The Great Danes’ leader in assists (Sam Tortora, 28), draw controls (Kendra Harbinger, 48) and Jordyn Marr (20) are underclassmen. And in goal, sophomore Erin Leghart has started all 16 games, posting a .437 save percentage.
Powlin stars in senior season
Emma Powlin, a senior attacker from Penfield, N.Y., has enjoyed an outstanding senior season.
She leads the Great Danes in scoring with 57 points (43 goals, 14 assists).
On Senior Day on April 14, Powlin scored five goals and picked up two assists to lead a 14-5 victory over UMass Lowell. But that wasn’t even her best effort of the season. She had a seven-goal afternoon against Hartford on March 24, and she’s had three seven-point games this season.
Powlin, who was an America East All-Conference Second-Team member as a junior, was named an Inside Lacrosse Preseason DI Media All-America Honorable Mention before the season.
Rickert shines at both ends of the field.
Junior midfielder Kaylee Rickert has been a leader for the Great Danes on offense, defense and in the midfield.
A captain each of the past two years, she’s fourth on the team in scoring with 33 points (23 goals, 10 assists) and also is the team’s leader in ground balls (48).
She’s second on the squad in caused turnovers (17), too.
Rickert’s 3.00 ground balls per game are the second most in the America East and 22nd most in the nation.
Against No. 20 Notre Dame, the Bethlehem, N.Y., native had her third career five-point game (four goals, one assist).
Harbinger bursts onto scene as rookie
In her first collegiate game, freshman midfielder Kendra Harbinger came off the bench to score two goals against Yale. Since, she’s started every game and put together an outstanding freshman season.
The seven-time America East Rookie of the Week is the Great Danes’ leader in shots on goal (73), free-position goals (14) and draw controls (52). Her 39 goals are second most on the team.
Harbinger’s nine-point (seven-goal, two-assist) outing in an April 4 win over Vermont set a record for most points in a game by a UAlbany freshman.
She’s scored three or more goals in seven games this season.
Tortora sparks Great Danes offense
Sophomore midfielder Sam Tortora has been one of the Great Danes’ top playmakers this season.
She’s scored 22 goals and also leads UAlbany with 28 assists, which is fourth-most in the America East.
In consecutive wins over No. 20 Notre Dame and New Hampshire, Tortora totaled 12 points, including a five-goal, three-assist afternoon against the Wildcasts.
Did you know ...
- Sophomore defender Jordyn Marr, who leads the Great Danes with 20 caused turnovers, is playing the position for the first time. She was an attacker as a freshman. Marr's father is UAlbany men’s lacrosse head coach Scott Marr.
- Five Great Danes have a GPA of 3.5 or greater: Mara Bureau, Erin Leghart, Jordyn Marr, Emma Powlin and Kaylee Rickert.
- Junior midfielder Kaylee Rickert is in her second year as a team captain; she also held the position as a junior. UAlbany’s other captain is Emma Powlin.
- Emma Powlin, UAlbany’s leading scorer with 57 points, played ice hockey throughout her childhood.
- Senior defender Mary McAvey joined the program as a walk-on and worked her way into a starting role in her final season.