DENVER (NEWS10) — In its first NCAA Tournament game since 2017, the University at Albany women’s lacrosse team completed a miraculous comeback Friday night, erasing a seven-goal deficit to upset No. 12 Virginia, and advance to the second round of the tournament Sunday.

Key Stats

  • Sarah Falk scored seven goals, all in the second half
  • Katie Pascale scored four goals with three assists and won 10 draws
  • Grace McCauley recorded a hat trick
  • Grace Cincebox recorded seven saves
  • UAlbany outscored Virginia 13-7 in the second half, and 13-4 after trailing 10-3

Head Coach Katie Thomson: “This is an incredible feeling for our team and program.  We’re just incredibly proud of the execution and the belief to come back against a really good team in Virginia.  This team is really, really special, and to see them come away with this victory today is unbelievable and I’m so proud of them.”

How it Happened

  • The University at Albany women’s lacrosse program made its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since earning an at-large bid in 2017.  Their opponent was #12 Virginia in the second of two games hosted by five-seed Denver at Peter Barton Stadium.  UAlbany and Virginia had never played before Friday.
  • UAlbany earned its spot in the NCAA Tournament by defeating Binghamton in the America East championship game last weekend.  The Great Danes won their third America East title, and first since winning back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012.  The win snapped a nine-game losing streak in the conference title game, and capped off an unbeaten season against America East opponents.
  • Virginia last played on April 26 in the quarterfinal round of the ACC Tournament.  The Cavaliers fell to Notre Dame 15-13 despite a strong rally effort.  Virginia won each of its first six games of the season but closed at a 5-6 clip.  The Cavaliers finished fourth in the ACC with a 6-3 conference record this year, and went 5-5 in 10 games against ranked opponents.
  • UAlbany freshman goalkeeper Grace Cincebox was tested early and came up with a big save to keep Virginia off the board.  On the other end, after Shonly Wallace was given a yellow card and UAlbany forced a turnover on Virginia’s clear attempt, Katie Pascale scored, woman-down, to put UAlbany up 1-0 just over three minutes into the game.
  • Virginia responded just over two minutes later to tie the game at one.  UAlbany won the ensuing draw and Grace McCauley drew a free-position attempt.  McCauley successfully converted the attempt to put UAlbany back on top, 2-1, with 8:48 remaining in the first quarter.  After drawing two successive free-position attempts, Virginia tied the game at 2 with 7:12 remaining in the first.  The Cavaliers took their first lead on their first possession following the first media timeout, 3-2, with 6:27 left on the clock.
  • Pascale scored her second goal of the game with 2:15 left in the first to cut Virginia’s lead to 4-3.  Cincebox kept the Great Danes’ deficit at one with another big save, on a free-position attempt, on Virginia’s next possession.  The first quarter ended with Virginia holding a 4-3 lead.
  • Eight minutes elapsed in the second quarter without a score before Virginia netted their fifth goal of the game to go up 5-3.  Virginia ended up outscoring UAlbany 3-0 in the second quarter to take a four-goal lead into halftime.
  • Virginia’s run continued into the third quarter, with the Cavaliers scoring twice within the first 78 seconds to go up by six.  McCauley ended the Great Danes scoring drought on a free-position goal with 8:50 left in the third to close within 10-4.  Sarah Falk made it two-in-a-row for UAlbany just over two minutes later to bring UAlbany within five.
  • Falk scored again, set up by Wallace, to close the Great Danes within four, 10-6, with 6:05 left in the third.  Falk scored her two goals 35 seconds apart, forcing a Virginia timeout.
  • Virginia ended UAlbany’s scoring run at three with their 11th goal, scored with 4:25 remaining in the third quarter.  After another big save from Cincebox, Bryar Hogg drew a free-position attempt and scored to keep the Great Danes within striking distance 11-7.
  • Pascale set up Falk with 1:19 left in the third, woman-down, to bring UAlbany within three.  Falk’s third goal of the game was her 64th of the season, tying Dakota Savitcheff’s program mark for most goals in a single-season.  Pascale scored her third of the game with 30 seconds left in the quarter to bring UAlbany within two.
  • Falk’s fourth goal less than 10 seconds later set UAlbany’s single-season mark and cut Virginia’s lead to just one.
  • Virginia scored to open the fourth quarter but Falk scored her fifth goal in response to keep the Great Danes within one.  Pascale set up Falk’s sixth goal, woman-up, to tie the game at 12 with 10:45 left in the fourth.
  • McCauley scored on a free-position with 7:06 in the fourth to put UAlbany up 13-12, the Great Danes’ first lead since 8:48 left in the first quarter.  Since trailing 10-3, UAlbany had outscored Virginia 10-2.
  • Pascale scored her fourth less than a minute later to put UAlbany up two, and tie Rachel Bowles’ program career points record of 233.  Falk scored again to put UAlbany up three with 4:50 to go.
  • Virginia ended its scoring drought with 3:38 remaining to close within two.  The Cavaliers scored again with 1:02 left but came no closer.  UAlbany won the ensuing draw and scored an empty-net goal to clinch victory, 16-14.  Pascale’s assist on the goal gave her sole possession of the program’s career points record.
  • UAlbany claims its second-ever NCAA Tournament victory, and its second victory over a ranked opponent during the Katie Thomson era. 

Next: UAlbany advances to Sunday’s Second Round to play five-seed Denver.