By Philip Walsh | September 24, 2023
On Friday, the University at Albany field hockey team emerged victorious in overtime against California, halting the Golden Bears' three-game winning streak.
The Great Danes celebrate after a game-winning victory.
Photo Credit: Maceo Foster/ASP
Junior Alison Smisdom ended the game at the 8:25 mark of OT, when she seized the ball off a penalty corner from freshman defender Mara Küskes and swung it into the net just over Cal goalkeeper Tina Jolly. This was the ninth goal of the season for Smisdom, who leads the Great Danes in scoring.
This win marks the Great Danes’ fourth victory in the last five games. UAlbany's season record improves to 5-3, with Cal now standing at 3-4. The Great Danes now open 1-0 in the America East, while the Golden Bears start league play at 0-1.
“This was one of the first games that we played as one team, and we worked all together. I think you saw it in the game; we were on their side the whole time, and in the end, we won,” junior midfielder Floor de Ruiter said.
UAlbany controlled the game on offense in the first half. They kept the ball on Cal’s side of the field with ease and quickly established a 1-0 lead, with senior Charlotte Triggs scoring from a penalty corner just five minutes and 13 seconds into the first quarter. UAlbany’s presence around the goal set the tone for their strong start, as they outshot the Golden Bears 7-0 in the first half.
The Golden Bears were outshot by the Great Danes 18-7, with a 15-7 advantage in shots on goal giving UAlbany an offensive edge.
Cal weathered the storm and struck back early in the second half. Cal junior backfielder Sydney Decher leveled the score with a goal from a penalty stroke at the 5:26 mark of the third quarter.
However, the Golden Bears’ second half effort wasn’t enough, and Head Coach Phil Sykes came away proud of the America East victory. “Any time it's a conference game, it doesn't matter who you're playing; it just has such weight to it,” Sykes said. “So just to come out of here with a win was fantastic.”
Sykes also expressed contentment with the officials' performance despite his animated nature during the game, especially towards officials. “They were pretty good,” Sykes said. “I like that they communicated with each other and seemed to mostly get calls right, which is all we can ask for."
The Great Danes showed better discipline overall, receiving one green card to Smisdom while California had four throughout.
UAlbany has their first road conference contest against the Bryant University Bulldogs on Sunday.