Wednesday, October 22, 2014

No. 25 UAlbany depth chart vs. Colgate

Hey! The University at Albany football team is nationally ranked again!

Following last week's victory over Maine, the Great Danes moved back into the national spectrum with a No. 25 spot on the latest TSN-FCS poll. More importantly, UAlbany improved to 2-2 in the CAA, keeping in the middle of the ultra-competitive pack midway through the season.

Now, the Danes return home for their final non-conference game of the season, taking on a Colgate team that just saw its three-game win streak snapped by Yale last Saturday despite scoring the most points of any game so far this season.

UAlbany is a little banged up this weekend -  most notably with the probably absence of linebacker (and game one hero) Neil Morrison who suffered a hamstring injury last week - so it'll be interesting to see how the Danes can restructure a little bit. Morrison is still listed first on the depth chart, but according to Greg Gattuso on Wednesday the likelihood of him actually suiting up are "pretty slim." So, take that for what it's worth.

A victory this weekend would be a huge momentum boost into the final stanza of the season, especially into a game against New Hampshire, the preseason CAA favorite, on November 1st. So, who's most likely to suit up on Saturday afternoon? Check it all out under the cut.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Let's talk about UAlbany's Paula Heuser for a second

You guys got a second? Yeah? Cool.

Let's talk about Paula Heuser. 

The University at Albany field hockey standout is currently leading the nation in points per game average. For the second straight week. THE ENTIRE NATION. 

Take another second to read that real quick. 

The sophomore, the defending America East Midfielder and Rookie of the Year, is first in the nation, for the second straight week, in scoring. 

With only three games left in the regular season, Heuser, is averaging three points per game and boasts a team-high 45 total points this year. Add in to the mix that her 1.27 goals per game average is second in the nation and Heuser is more than just a little impressive. 

But while the numbers strictly of their own merit are impressive, Heuser herself is far and away the more interesting part of this whole story. 

A native of Monchengladbach, Germany (say that three times fast if you can) a city close to the Netherlands border, Heuser has been a force for the Great Danes since she arrived stateside last season. 

She became the first UAlbany field hockey player to earn All-America status as a freshman and was named the 2013 ECAC Rookie of the Year as well as a six-time America East Rookie of the Week. This year, she's already been named to a handful of league weekly honors and was named ECAC Co-Player of the Week earlier this month. 

The No. 13 UAlbany squad wraps up its home schedule on Saturday afternoon with a 1 p.m. matchup against Maine before finishing up the regular season with road games against Yale and Vermont. The America East tournament is scheduled to begin on November 6. 

While the competition only gets tougher from here on out, Heuser's performance so far this season has been undeniable and, it may be hyperbolic, but for this German native the field hockey sky is truly the limit. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

THE FIRST HALF: UAlbany at Maine OR The defense saves the day

Let's talk about the University at Albany defense real quick.

The Great Danes have quietly been the dominant force of the team this season and despite a pair of back-to-back losses in the past two weeks, that defensive front was, once again, the driving force for the team in the first half of Saturday's game, taking a 10-7 lead over Maine into the half.

All 10 of UAlbany's points came off of Maine turnovers as Christian Dorsey recovered a Black Bear fumble and returned it 67 yards for a touchdown before a late second quarter fumble eventually set up a 52-yard field goal by Patrick Toole.

After the first two quarters, Maine has out-gained Albany 178-to-80 but penalties and a solid performance by the UAlbany defense has helped keep the Bears relatively quiet.

In fact, the only Maine points came early in the first quarter as freshman quarterback Drew Belcher found Arthur Williams for a 14-yard touchdown pass.

By the same token, UAlbany's offense hasn't been doing much of anything.

Will Fiacchi is just 5-for-19 for 37 yards and has been sacked four times - all four of which came on third down. In that same vein, the Great Danes are 0-for-10 on third down but was able to convert on fourth down with a short run by Omar Osbourne.

If the Danes are going to hold off a Maine comeback in this second half, the offensive line is going to have to start playing better and Fiacchi is going to have to get a little more accurate. On more than one occasion the senior quarterback has overthrown his receivers. Strictly speaking, Fiacchi (from what I can hear over the radio broadcast) has been trying a little too hard to find freshman Josh Gontarek.

Meanwhile, the ground game is still struggling slightly. Osbourne has run 14 times for 65 yards, averaging 4.6 yards a carry with a long of 13.

Maine will get the ball to start the second half.

Friday, October 17, 2014

UAlbany football depth chart heading into crucial CAA matchup against Maine

It'd be a pretty solid idea for the University at Albany football team to win on Saturday afternoon.

After starting the season 4-0, the Great Danes have dropped two straight games, both against CAA foes, and, in the process, dropped right out of the Top 25 rankings and off the national radar.

Now, with their first road game in nearly on a moth on the schedule for this weekend, the Danes head north to take on reigning league champions Maine in a pretty-much, must-win game, for both squads.

Someone's two-game losing streak is going to snap on Saturday. So, how does UAlbany make that happen? With this depth chart of players, of course!

Take a look at who's suiting up for Saturday's game under the cut.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Siena's Brianna Logan out for season with torn ACL

The Siena women's basketball team made a less-than-ideal official announcement on Thursday afternoon. 

Sophomore Brianna Logan will miss the entire season after tearing her ACL in the team's first practice last week. The injury will require surgery for the New Jersey native. 
via Siena athletics

It's a big blow for the Saints who were already thin on the roster as far as experience and was prepping Logan to, most likely, start at point guard this fall. 

"Bri Logan was our most improved player coming out of the summer and into fall workouts," said head coach Ali Jaques in a statement released by the team. "My heart absolutely breaks for her. She had done everything and more to position herself for a fantastic sophomore year. I cannot explain why, but I am confident that this young woman will come back even stronger when she gets through this. She is a fighter, and our team will be resilient and continue to fight and find a way."

Logan appeared in 30 of Siena's 31 games last season, averaging four points in 19.1 minutes a game and finished second on the team with 57 assists. She was also named MAAC Rookie of the Week last December. 

The Saints will hold their annual media day next Monday, so it will be interesting to see how the team copes with Logan's sudden removal from this season's roster. Siena officially opens its season on Friday, November 14 at Buffalo. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

MAAC coordinator of men's basketball officials Mike Kitts to attend Siena practice

Mike Kitts, who was named MAAC coordinator of men's basketball officials this past summer, will attend Siena practice on Wednesday afternoon, joined by a corps of referees. 

The idea is that the Saints, who were among the most penalized teams in the nation last year and also led the league in fouls, will be able to get some first-hand knowledge on what qualifies a call and what exactly is going to require a ref to blow his whistle this season. 

"He just ref'ed last year, 100 games in the Big 10," Siena coach Jimmy Patsos said. "He’s coming tomorrow. Now, besides the scrimmage and the exhibition, we are getting set a crew of his, including five guys, that are coming to a practice. This is what most of the ACC and the Big East and stuff do."

via -
Kitts, who will be taking in practice with every MAAC team this preseason, will be on hand to answer questions from Siena players and coaches as well as explain what is expected out of them as far as how rules, of which there are a few new ones this year, work. 

While the position of coordinator in and of itself is certainly impressive, Kitts entire resume is enough to make anyone with a passing interest in college basketball take pause. 

A Syracuse native, Kitts officiated in 19 NCAA Tournaments, including four national semifinal games in the Final Four. He also officiated the MAAC championship game in 14 of the last 16 tournaments and, in 2008, was the recipient of the Naismith Award, given annually to the nation's top referee. 

He's also the same ref who ejected Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim (for the first time in his career) during an exhibition game between the Orange and the College of St. Rose in 2005. Kitts was also the same ref who collided with St. John's forward DJ Kennedy in the first round of the Big East Tournament in 2009 (I know this because I covered that game, as a sophomore in college).

Kitts took over coordinator duties from Brad Tracy who had served in the position since the 1990-91 season. 

This is a huge opportunity for the Saints, as a team, to metaphorically pick Kitts' officiating brain and another chance for the team to work out their preseason kinks before opening at UMass next month. 

"What (a foul) is, what it isn’t, what we’re doing, what the new modern rules are." Patsos said of what he hopes Kitts brings to Wednesday's practice. "How the arc’s used, how we think. I still call a block when a guy slides over. I don’t know what he’s going to tell. But the rules have become important. He ref’ed the Sweet 16 last year, so it’s good to have a guy like that come out. I can tell them all I want, but this is big."

Scorch, no more. Flames to retire mascot after controversial beginnings.

Well, it's been a dramatic ride Scorch. 

The Adirondack Flames' mascot, which was officially unveiled last week amidst a wave of criticism that drew some national attention, the first-year AHL team has officially decided to retire the mascot on Tuesday afternoon. 

The story was first reported by The Post-Star

So, what was all the controversy about in the first place? 

Here's the deal. 

Scorch, so the legend goes, is one of the last remaining flames of the great 1864 fire that destroyed 112 buildings in Glens Falls. According to a press release sent out by team last week: 
"From the lingering embers of the fire, deep within the dwellings of the blacksmith shop, Scorch was spawned. For 150 years, Scorch remained a glimmer, but with the arrival of the Flames this summer, the flame began to grow. After 150 years, Scorch is now Fired Up as the 2014-15 season begins."

Yup. That's the story. The flame has waited, all these years, for that one AHL team to light its metaphorical and literal fire, which is slightly ironic since hockey is played on ice. But, they're the Flames and a fire mascot makes sense. 

That's not the controversial part. That came at the official unveiling. 

That was when Scorch, whose head is also a puck, took down an actor portraying a Glens Falls firefighter. Not the best thing. The mascot did not appear at the teams' home opener at the Glens Falls Civic Center on Saturday. 

After last week's less-than-ideal beginnings, the team released a statement on the event from team president Brian Petrovek: 
"On behalf of our entire organization we want to apologize for our thoughtlessness today.  We have obviously turned something good, the launch of a mascot which we will use to entertain and encourage young fans, into something that is in poor taste.  That was not our intention and again we apologize."

Farewell, Scorch.