STORRS, CONN (NEWS10) – After succumbing to an early 2-0 deficit, No. 8 University at Albany field hockey (19-3) battled back but couldn’t overcome No. 9 Boston College (13-8) in the NCAA First Round on Saturday afternoon. The Great Danes fell 2-1 to the Eagles, concluding the 2015 season with a record of 19-3.
Boston College came out of the gate looking to put pressure on the Purple & Gold back line. On a tough angle at the right end line, BC slid a pass across the circle to make good on a deflection just 1:10 into the game.
UAlbany struggled to get anything going up front, as early game jitters surfaced in blocked passes and midfield turnovers. Already down one goal, the Danes gave up a corner with five minutes gone. The Eagles took a 2-0 advantage on the ensuing shot with 29:38 left in the first half.
The Danes showed signs of life mid-way through the half. After earning its first penalty corner, Paula Heuser had her shot blocked at the top of the circle. Leah Settipane stepped in to make two saves on Heuser attempts over the next three minutes.
Despite playing with a target on her back, Heuser kept keeping on through the midfield. The junior created looks in the circle for her teammates, but the score remained 2-0 going into the break.
The teams managed just three shots each in the first half, and the Eagles claimed a 2-1 edge in penalty corners.
With a fresh 35 minutes on the clock, UAlbany emerged from the locker room ready to make its mark. Anna Bottino entered the circle and garnered a penalty corner with less than two minutes expired in the second period. Fiori Van Rijswijk inserted, and the ensuing Heuser shot hit a BC foot at the goal line. Heuser’s resulting penalty stroke was saved in the left corner.
The Eagles responded with a penalty corner of their own, but Jaclyn Hibbs added another defensive save to her repertoire on the attempt. Maxi Primus made a foot save moments later, and the Danes headed downfield.
In the 54th minute, another UAlbany penalty corner finally broke down the door on the cage. Heuser controlled a direct insert from Van Rijswijk to bury a shot in the lower right corner. The Purple & Gold picked up the energy down 2-1 with 16 minutes to go.
Neither squad managed a shot over the next 10 minutes, but the Danes could see the light on a penalty corner with less than six minutes remaining. Heuser wound up from the left side, but her shot was saved. Maxi Primus was pulled from the goal with three minutes to go, but the extra field player went unused on the offensive end.
The Danes recorded their second-highest win total in program history with 19 victories. UAlbany made its fifth overall and second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament after claiming a spot in the NCAA Semifinals in 2014.
Seniors Liza Morgan, Laura Page and Fiori Van Rijswijk concluded their four-year careers on Saturday. Page and Van Rijswijk rank first (61) and third (44) respectively in UAlbany all-time program history in career assists.
Paula Heuser wrapped up 2015 with 34 goals and 80 points. She has 80 career goals and 194 points after three seasons for the Purple & Gold.