UAlbany, Stony Brook to clash for America East title
STONY BROOK, N.Y. – For the seventh consecutive season, the University at Albany women’s lacrosse team and Stony Brook will meet in the America East championship game.
Sunday's noon draw at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium marks the Great Danes’ eighth straight appearance in the league title game. They’ll be looking for their third championship overall and first since 2012.
The winner of Saturday's game receives the league's automatic NCAA Tournament bid. UAlbany is aiming to advance to the tournament for the fifth time.
The Seawolves have won 11 straight meetings between the programs, including the past five championship games. But the past two league title games have been decided by just three goals combined, with Stony Brook winning 14-12 last season and 10-9 in 2016.
UAlbany (9-8), the No. 2 seed, advanced through the semifinals with a 16-10 win over No. 3 Binghamton. Sam Tortora led UAlbany with seven points (three goals, four assists). Kyla Zapolski scored five times, while Kendra Harbinger and Emma Powlin each had a hat trick. UAlbany trailed, 8-7, early in the second half before running off eight straight goals.
Stony Brook, undefeated at 17-0 and the nation’s No. 1-ranked team all season, defeated No. 4 New Hampshire, 19-5, in the other semifinal.
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NEWS AND NOTES
Harbinger wins America East Rookie of the Year
Kendra Harbinger was named the America East Rookie of the Year at the league’s annual awards banquet this past Thursday. The seven-time America East Rookie of the Week honoree is the Great Danes’ leader in shots on goal (80), free-position goals (15) and draw controls (53). Her 42 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 eight games this season.
UAlbany lands 6 on All-Conference Teams, 4 on All-Academic Squad
Three Great Danes were named to the America East All-Conference First Team: attacker Emma Powlin, midfielder Sam Tortora and defender Jordyn Marr. Midfielder Kaylee Rickert was named to the Second Team.
Great Danes surge in season’s second half
After starting the season 0-7, the Great Danes have won nine of their past 10.
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, 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 10, UAlbany is outscoring its opponents 137-90.
Most notably, the Great Danes have allowed double-digit goals only three times during the past 10 games: in a 12-10 victory over Binghamton on March 31; in a 21-8 loss to Stony Brook in the regular-season finale; and in Friday’s 16-10 victory over Binghamton in the league semifinals.
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, 32), draw controls (Kendra Harbinger, 53) and caused turnovers (Jordyn Marr, 20) are underclassmen. And in goal, sophomore Erin Leghart has started all 17 games, posting a .446 save percentage.