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Student Athletes Create Great Memories from NCAA Tournament

UAlbany men's basketball team with America East conference championship trophyIt’s no secret that the men’s and women’s basketball teams of SUNY Albany had monumental seasons. The Danes made history as both the men and women each won America East Conference titles earning their “Chance to Dance”, the first time both teams qualified for the NCAA tournament in the same season.

The men’s team earned their spot after they defeated Vermont 53-49; the women’s team after their 61-52 victory against Hartford at Albany’s SEFCU Arena. Both teams created great stories and memories from their post-season runs.

Peter Hooley, Freshman and Australia native, elaborated on the last seconds before earning the America East Conference Title:

“The moment the siren ended the game up at Vermont was one I will remember forever. 3,000 screaming fans, instantly quiet for a split moment before our fans rushed the court. It was an amazing feeling. I think it was so special because no one gave us a shot to win it. We had been underdogs for the whole year… Guess we proved a lot of people wrong.”

The men, ranked #15, ended their impeccable season Friday in a 73-61 loss to four-time NCAA Champion Duke, ranked at #2. Blake Metcalf, Senior at UAlbany and Indiana native, described the end to their season.

“Even with the loss I can not think of a better way to end my career. Winning the conference championship with this group of guys was an amazing experience. I can honestly say since I’ve been here there has not been a more attached group and we were truly a family. Even though I’m so happy to go out on top I’m gonna miss these guys more than anything.”

UAlbany women America East champions 2013The women, ranked #14, ended their impressive run Sunday in a 59-54 loss to North Carolina, ranked #3. Megan Craig, Sophomore and New Zealand native, explained her experience in the tournament.

“The UNC game was absolutely crazy, because Delaware and West Virginia played before us, the crowd was absolutely crazy and loud and the arena was sold out…We really fought hard the entire game, and although we didn’t finish with the win, we all can be satisfied in knowing that we left it all out there, and we are still as close as before and will always be a family.”

The men’s team previously advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2006 and 2007 where they also defeated Vermont. In 2006, against the University of Connecticut, they were defeated 72-59; in 2007, lost to the University of Virginia 84-57. The women’s team advanced to the tournament for their 2012 season as well, falling to Texas A&M 69-47.

These experiences tell a great story and are great examples of the opportunities provided to students (and student athletes) within the SUNY system.

    Written by Samantha Avillo

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