Women's Soccer Hosts Semifinal vs. Hartford
ALBANY, N.Y. – After enjoying a first-round bye, the University at Albany women’s soccer team will begin their postseason in the semifinal round of the America East Tournament by hosting three-seed Hartford on Thursday.
Thursday, November 7 vs. #3 Hartford (7:00 p.m.)
Leading the Pack
- Jada Colbert leads UAlbany with 13 points
- Twins Jada and Jasmine Colbert share the team lead with five goals
- Christina Cernuto leads the team with four assists
- UAlbany ranks third in the America East in scoring offense (1.47)
Hartford finished the regular season in third place after drawing with Stony Brook in their regular-season finale. The Hawks went 8-6-2 overall, and 5-2-1 in the America East. Following their conference-opening defeat at UAlbany, Hartford rebounded to finish their conference slate 5-1-1. Hartford leads the conference in scoring defense, allowing 0.83 goals per game. Midfielder of the Year Sierra Stone leads the conference with 11 assists, and ranks third with 19 points. Hawks goalkeeper Maia Perez leads the America East with a .847 save percentage, and ranks second with a 0.78 goals-against average and 83 saves.
Last time vs. Hartford
In their regular-season meeting, UAlbany defeated Hartford 2-1 at Casey Stadium. Meghan Cavanaugh put UAlbany on the board early with a deep goal in just the fourth minute of play. In the 42nd minute, Gina Bracamonte netted a penalty kick to give the Danes a 2-0 halftime lead. Hartford responded quickly after the break, cutting the lead to 2-1 in the 51st minute. At three points in the second half, Hartford goalkeeper made three spectacular, goal-saving plays to keep the Hawks in striking distance, but neither team was able to score again. The Hawks played the final 48 minutes with 10 players after drawing a red card on the play that prompted Bracamonte’s penalty kick.
In the second of two meetings at Hartford last season, the Great Danes met the Hawks in the America East semifinal round. UAlbany had fallen to Hartford away 2-1 in the regular season, but returned the favor with a 1-0 upset of the two-seed Hawks to clinch a spot in the championship game. Mariah Williams scored the game’s only goal, her 17th of the season and the last goal she scored in her career at UAlbany.
Last Time Out
The Great Danes defeated Vermont on the road in their regular-season finale, ending the season on a three-game winning streak and earning the second-overall seed in the America East Tournament. Vermont took an early lead, which the Catamounts held through the first 85 minutes, before UAlbany scored twice in the final two minutes of the game to clinch a 2-1 victory and a share of the regular-season title.
Around the America East
For the second time in program history, UAlbany won a share of the regular-season title, having earned 19 points, matching co-champion Stony Brook’s 6-1-1 conference record. For Stony Brook, it is their second-straight year winning a share of the regular-season title, and their second-straight year holding the top overall seed in the tournament.
Hartford defeated UMass Lowell 1-0 in double-overtime to advance to their semifinal against UAlbany, and Stony Brook will meet New Hampshire after the Wildcats’ 3-2 quarterfinal victory over Binghamton.
The Great Danes finished the 2019 regular season unbeaten at home, going 6-0-2. UAlbany went 8-1-1 at Casey Stadium in 2018, including quarterfinal and championship victories in the America East Tournament. The Great Danes let up just eight goals in 10 games at home last year, and just two in the last five. Dating back to the 2015 season, the year of the program’s first America East title, the Great Danes are 31-9-4 at home.
Rookie of the Year
For the second-straight season, UAlbany earned the Rookie of the Year Award. Leah Pais, with her four goals and two assists, earned the award one year after Jada Colbert did so in 2018. Pais ranks third on the team in both goals and points, and is UAlbany’s fourth Rookie of the Year since 2014.
Following the regular season, the Great Danes landed eight America East All-Conference selections. Meghan Cavanaugh and Jada Colbert earned First Team recognition, and Gina Bracamonte, Jasmine Colbert, and Hailey Summers were named to the Second Team. Leah Pais and Sahara Zingano earned All-Rookie recognition, and Katie Gowing was UAlbany’s lone representative on the All-Academic Team.
For the second time in program history, UAlbany won a share of the America East regular-season title. A late victory at Vermont, combined with a tie between Stony Brook and Hartford, landed both the Great Danes and Seawolves with 19 points and matching 6-1-1 conference records. For Stony Brook, it was their second-straight season sharing the regular season title, and second-straight season as the top overall seed in the America East Tournament, by virtue of holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over UAlbany. The Great Danes will be making their sixth-straight appearance in the America East Tournament.
For the second time in history, twin sisters Jada and Jasmine Colbert connected on a goal. Jasmine set up Jada for the first goal of the game against UMass Lowell. Earlier in the season, against St. Francis Brooklyn, the twins connected for the first time in their UAlbany careers, when Jada set up Jasmine to put UAlbany up 2-0 right after halftime.
Going 3-0-1, UAlbany enjoyed its best start to America East play through four games in program history. The Great Danes previously started 2-1-1 two times, in 2014 and 2016, winning the America East Tournament in 2016.
The Great Danes swept through the month of September without a loss, going 5-0-2 in seven games. One of the victories was the America East opener against perennial conference power Hartford, whom UAlbany upset on the road in the 2018 America East Tournament. In the month’s seven games, goalkeeper Sophia Chen allowed just five goals and saved 83% of the shots taken against her, while Jada Colbert led the team in scoring with four goals and nine points.
For two-straight games, marking the third time in history, twin sisters Jada and Jasmine Colbert each recorded a goal in a game, with both scoring against St. Francis Brooklyn and Buffalo. The sisters previously scored in the same game last season during the America East championship game against UMass Lowell, and in the previous game at Buffalo. Further, St. Francis Brooklyn marked the first game in which one of the sisters assisted on the other’s goal.
UAlbany was picked first in the America East preseason coaches’ poll, collecting four first-place votes and 57 overall points. The top five teams, UAlbany, Hartford, Stony Brook, UMass Lowell, and New Hampshire, were separated by only 17 points.
UAlbany returns four players who earned All-Conference recognition in 2018. Meghan Cavanaugh was named First Team; Jada Colbert was named Rookie of the Year, Second Team, and All-Rookie; Gina Bracamonte was named Second Team; Jasmine Colbert was named All-Rookie. Additionally, Cavanaugh and both Colbert sisters were named to the America East All-Tournament team.
Joining the incoming freshman class of nine student-athletes is junior Kendra Harbinger. Harbinger is a member of the UAlbany women’s lacrosse team, and will pull double-duty with women’s soccer starting this season. Harbinger previously played soccer at Shenendehowa High School.
The 2019 season sees the America East schedule stretched out over an additional week, and the America East Tournament timeline condensed to include fewer days between the semifinals and finals. The move was made to give teams more control over their midweek games and allow for more rest in between games.
2018 marked the departure of program record-setters Mariah Williams and Caroline Kopp to graduation. Williams set single-season and career program records in both points and goals, while Kopp set single-season and career records in assists.
The winner of Thursday’s game will face off against the winner of one-seed Stony Brook and four-seed New Hampshire in the America East championship game on Sunday, November 10.