Women's Lacrosse Takes on Undefeated Albany for America East Title Saturday

Natlie Rau made nine saves in the semifinals against Boston University.
Natlie Rau made nine saves in the semifinals against Boston University.

ALBANY, N.Y.--After knocking six-time defending champion Boston University out of the playoffs on Thursday, the No. 3 UMBC women's lacrosse team (11-6) will meet top-seeded and eighth-ranked Albany (16-0) Saturday afternoon in the America East title game. Opening draw at John Fallon Field is set for 1 p.m., and the game will be streamed live for free at AmericaEast.com. The game can also be seen on iPhones.

Retrievers at America East Championships

* UMBC advances to the America East title game for the second year in a row after defeating Boston University, 12-11, in the semifinals on Thurdsay. Last season, the fourth-seeded Retrievers, who were playing in their first league tournament since 2006, defeated Albany, 11-9 in the semis before falling to the Terriers, 11-10, in their first-ever America East championship contest.

* UMBC makes its fifth trip to the America East Championship in eight years in the conference. The Retrievers earned a berth in the four-team tournament in each of their first three years in the league, but their 2011 semifinal win over Albany was their first-ever tourney win. In 2004, UMBC's first as a member of the America East, the Retrievers earned the No. 3 seed and lost to No. 2 Boston U., 12-10, and in 2005, No. 4 UMBC fell to the top-seeded and evenutal champion Terriers, 20-5. Then in 2006, the Retrievers won a share of the regular-season title and hosted the tournament as the No. 1 seed but fell in the semifinals to No. 4 New Hampshire, 12-5.

* The Retrievers' semifinal win over Albany last season was their first postseason victory since 2003, No. 2 UMBC defeated No. 3 Wagner and No. 4 Mount St. Mary's to win the Northeast Conference Championship.

* The Retrievers were picked to finish third in the 2011 preseason poll, but finished tied for second with a 4-2 record. UMBC lost the tiebreaker to Boston U. based on a 13-9 regular-season loss to the Terriers. The Retrievers went 1-2 against the other three teams in the tournament, falling to BU and Albany but defeating New Hampshire for the first time ever.

* Emily Coady and Amanda Pappas were both named to the 2010 All-Championship team. Coady scored eight goals in the two games, while Pappas and Ashley Stodter each tallied five.

Retrievers vs. Albany

* UMBC and Albany met just a week ago, on April 30, in Albany, when the Great Danes defeated the Retrievers, 12-11. Seniors Erika Braerman and Amanda Pappas and sophomore Lindsay Cox each scored three goals for the Retrievers, while three Great Danes each notched hat tricks - Arianna Parker, Rachel Burek and Jodi Battaglia.

* UMBC is 5-5 all-time against Albany and 2-3 against the Great Danes at John Fallon Field.

* Senior Amanda Pappas has scored 12 goals and 14 points in five career games against Albany, while junior attack Emily Coady has found the back of the net eight times in four contests, including four in the 2010 America East semifinals.


* No. 3 UMBC defeated No. 2 Boston University, 12-11, in overtime in Thursday's America East semifinals to reach the league title game for the second yer in a row.

* Trailing 10-6 with 14 minutes left, the Retrievers scored six of the game's final seven goals, with junior attack Emily Coady tallying the game-winner just 20 seconds into overtime.

* Seniors Amanda Pappas (4g, 1a) and Erika Braerman (2g, 3a) each recorded a game-high five points, while sophomore midfielder Lindsay Cox scored three goals, all in the second half.

* Senior goalie Natalie Rau stopped nine Terrier shots, including one with 52 seconds left in overtime to preserve the win.


* At 15-0, eighth-ranked Albany is the only unbeaten team in Division I. The Great Danes' last loss was to UMBC on May 6, 2010, in the America East semifinals.

* The top-seeded Great Danes earned their first appearance in the America East championship game since 2007 after routing No. 4 New Hampshire, 18-7. Midfielder Arianna Parker and attack Jodi Battaglia each scored five goals in the win.

* Battaglia and Parker, both All-Conference First-Team selections, rank third and fourth in the America East with 46 and 41 goals, respectively, while attack Taylor Frink, a unanimous first-team selection and a Tewaaraton Trophy nominee, leads the league in both assists (45) and points (77).

* America East Co-Player of the Year Nikki Branchini, who also won the award last seson, leads the conference and ranks third in the nation with 82 draw controls.

* Freshman goalie Anna Berman owns a league-best 6.99 goals-against average and .454 save percentage, as the Great Danes boast the second-best defense in the country. Albany also leads the America East in scoring, averaging nearly 14 goals per game.

PERFECT 10: UMBC has won 10 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2002-03, but 2010 was the first time the Retrievers had won 10 games since 2006. This is UMBC's ninth 10-win campaign since 1987, its first season at the Division I level.

FOR STARTERS: UMBC's four America East victories this year were its most since going 5-1 in 2006 and claiming a share of the league's regular-season title.

ALL-CONFERENCE: Six Retrievers were named to America East All-Conference teams, the league announced Wednesday. Junior midfielder Alicia Krause and sophomore defender Jamie Fahey both earned first-team honors, while senior attack Erika Braerman, senior midfielder Amanda Pappas and senior defender C.J. Durham were each tabbed to the second team. In addition, freshman midfielder Kristen Bilney was a unanimous selection to the all-rookie team. Krause and Fahey are the first Retrievers to earn first-team honors since Kate Quick in 2009, and the two first-team selections are UMBC's most since placing three Retrievers on the squad in 2006. In addition, Bilney gives UMBC an all-rookie honoree for the eighth year in a row.

CENTURY MARK: Senior midfielder Amanda Pappas became the 17th Retriever ever to score 100 goals in her career on April 6, and after scoring four against Boston University in Thursday's semifinals, she now ranks 12th with 112.

CENTURY MARK, PART II: Four Retrievers have reached the 100-point plateau this season – senior attack Erika Braerman (March 2), senior midfielder Amanda Pappas (March 5), junior attack Emily Coady (April 2) and junior midfielder Alicia Krause (April 9). It is just the second time – and first since Laura Robinson, Laurie Linnell, Jackie Abendschoen and Dolly Ginter in 1987 – that four UMBC teammates have each recorded 100 career points. (Krause scored 24 points as a freshman at Duquesne before transferring to UMBC, where she has tallied 83 points in two seasons.) In addition, Pappas and Braerman are tied for 15th all-time with 139 points apiece.

HELPING HAND: With three assists against Boston University on Thursday, senior attack Erika Braerman moved into second place all-time at UMBC with 60 career assists. Braerman is the first Retriever ever to record 20 or more helpers in back-to-back seasons; her 22 assists in 2010 are tied for the fifth-best single-season total in UMBC history, while her 21 assists this year are tied for seventh.

NIFTY FIFTY: Junior midfielder Alicia Krause's goal against Albany last Saturday was her 50th point this season, giving the Retrievers a 50-point scorer in four straight seasons (Ali Levendusky in 2008, Kara Dorr in 2009, Erika Braerman in 2010), and senior attack Erika Braerman gave UMBC two players with 50 points for the first time since 2006 when Levendusky and Kelly Fiorani both reached the plateau. In addition, Braerman is the first Retriever to tally 50 points in back-to-back seasons since Jen Dragoni in 2002-03 and just the fifth ever.

AGAINST THE BEST: UMBC has gone 1-3 against teams that were ranked in the top 20 in the IWLCA Coaches Poll at the time of the contest. The Retrievers defeated No. 17 Towson on March 2 for their lone win against a ranked opponent this season. UMBC is 7-86 against ranked teams since 1988 and has never beaten more than one ranked foe in the same season. The highest-ranked opponent the Retrievers have knocked off was 11th, accomplished three times (Boston University in 2006, George Mason in 2000 and Old Dominion in 1999).

STREAKING: Senior midfielder Ashley Stodter's 20-game point-scoring streak, which dated to April 10, 2010, was snapped last Saturday against Albany, when she was held scoreless, and junior midfielder Alicia Krause's season-long 16-game streak was snapped on Thursday against Boston University. Senior midfielder Amanda Pappas now boasts the longest point streak at 13 games, dating to March 5, with a goal in each contest. In addition, senior attack Erika Braerman has recorded a point in eight in a row, while junior attack Emily Coady has one in seven straight.

HOME SWEET HOME: The Retrievers were 6-2 at home this season, averaging 11.5 goals per game and allowing just 8.75 at UMBC Stadium.

FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING: UMBC defeated New Hampshire, 10-8, on March 26, its first-ever win over the Wildcats in 10 all-time meetings. Prior to this season, UNH had outscored the Retrievers, 134-67, since the teams' first meeting in 1989, and the Wildcats' average margin of victory was 7.4 goals per game. Similarly, UMBC's semifinals win over Boston University on Thursday was its first over the Terriers since 2006. Since that time, The Terriers won six straight by an average of 5.2 goals per game.

HAT'S OFF: Six Retrievers have combined for 28 hat tricks this season, led by senior midfielder Amanda Pappas' eight, including in each of the last three games, while junior midfielder Alicia Krause has six and senior attack Erika Braerman has five. In addition, sophomore midfielder Lindsay Cox has one in the last two contests.

THE MORE THE MERRIER: Senior attack Erika Braerman leads the Retrievers with 11 multi-goal efforts this season, while junior midfielder Alicia Krause and senior midfielder Amanda Pappas each have 10. Krause has a team-best 14 multi-point performances, while Braerman has 13.

WHAT A WEEK: Two Retrievers have earned America East Player of the Week awards this season – senior attack Erika Braerman on Feb. 21 and junior midfielder Alicia Krause on April 11. In addition, sophomore defender Jamie Fahey, the reigning America East Rookie of the Year, was named the conference's Defensive Player of the Week on Feb. 21 and March 7. Krause was also tabbed the Synapse Sports Division I Offensive Player of the Week on April 12.

20/20: The 20 goals UMBC scored against Manhattan on March 13 were the most it had scored since March 29, 2010, a 20-7 win against the same Jaspers squad in Riverdale, N.Y. Combined with the 15 goals scored against Mount St. Mary's in the next game on March 19, the Retrievers tallied 35 goals in back-to-back contests, their best two-game stretch since combining for 38 against Iona and Stony Brook March 17-21, 2009.

CONTROLLING THE COLONIAL: UMBC had a perfect 3-0 record against Colonial Athletic Association opponents this season, defeating George Mason (19-7, Feb. 11), Towson (10-9, March 2) and Delaware (8-5, March 9). The Tigers were the CAA regular-season champions.

FOND FAREWELL: Seven Retriever seniors will graduate at the end of the season, taking with them 292 career goals, 102 assists, 344 ground balls, 202 draw controls and 200 caused turnovers. Midfielder Amanda Pappas is UMBC's active leader in goals (108) and tied with attack Erika Braerman for the points lead (134), while Braerman is the active leader in assists (57). In addition, midfielder Ashley Stodter is tops in draw controls (58), while defender C.J. Durham is the active leader in caused turnovers (70).

YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS: At 25 years old, first-year head coach Kelly Berger is one of the youngest coaches in Division I lacrosse. However, Berger has plenty of experience to draw from. Prior to serving as an assistant at UMBC for the previous two seasons, Berger was a two-time All-American, the 2006 Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year and a 2007 Tewaaraton Trophy nominee at James Madison, where she finished her career with 184 goals and 262 points. She has also been involved with the U.S. National Team since 2005.

BEGINNER'S SUCCESS: Second-year head coach Kelly Berger is the fourth head coach in the 39-year history of UMBC women's lacrosse. UMBC Hall of Famer Kathy Zerrlaut led the Retrievers from the program's inception in 1973 until 1996, amassing a record of 150-140-4 (.510) in 24 seasons. Monical Yeakel took over in 1997 and compiled a 78-73 (.517) record in nine years ('97-'05), and Courtney Connor posted a 30-38 (.441) record in four years from 2006-09. In her first head coaching job, Berger is the most successful of the four in her first two years as the Retriever mentor, as she is the only one to boast a winning record through two seasons.

APPELT OF MY EYE: Second-year assistant coach Amy Appelt is one of the best players in NCAA history. A four-time All-American at Virginia, she led the Cavaliers to the national championship in 2004, when she won the Tewaaraton Trophy after leading the nation in scoring with 90 goals. She scored a goal in an NCAA-record 66 straight games, and her career totals of 258 goals and 373 points rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Division I record books. She has been involved with the U.S. National Team since 2002.

CHESAPEAKE TRIO: Three Retriever seniors came to UMBC from Chesapeake High School in Pasadena, Md., in 2008 - midfielders Amanda Pappas and Kristen Milligan and defender C.J. Durham. The trio has combined to make 144 starts over the last four years.