UConn head coach Nancy Stevens added another remarkable milestone to her resume in extraordinary fashion on Sunday afternoon.
Already the NCAA’s all time wins leader, the coach won her 600th career game after the Huskies downed the No. 10-ranked Boston College Eagles.
Fresh off a 5-0 drubbing of New Hampshire, the Huskies were put to the test against the Eagles. Though UConn eventually pulled out the victory, the game was tense throughout and was up for grabs right until the final whistle despite another stellar defensive performance from UConn.
“It was a defensive masterpiece,” Stevens said. “One shot on goal and one penalty corner opportunity...it was probably one of our best defensive performances.”
Anna Middendorf opened up the scoring for the Huskies at the 12-minute mark in the first half. UConn was able to draw a penalty corner attempt and senior Sophie Bowden was able to tee up a shot for Middendorf that the junior ripped past BC goaltender Leah Settipane.
Kendall Youngblood almost gave UConn another goal before the first half ended but was met by multiple BC defenders at the post, and the official ruled that the ball never crossed the goal line.
Boston College's Kelcie Hromisin provided the equalizer early in the second half but the goal ended up being the Eagle’s lone shot on goal for the entirety of the contest. UConn outshot the Eagles 10-1 and though the Huskies only put two goals on the board, Stevens said she was pleased with the team’s performance.
“We were superb today. It was all about UConn. It was probably one of our best performances as a team in two years,” Stevens said.
Although UConn was winning the individual battles, the game was still tied late before the Huskies received three straight penalty corner opportunities.
Middendorf’s first two shots were swallowed by Settipane but as she has already so many times already times this season, Charlotte Veitner gave her team the lift they needed.
The NCAA’s scoring leader sauced a pass into Roisin Upton, who gave it right back to Veitner at the left post who roofed the ball for the game-winning goal.
UConn’s defense clamped down in the final minutes and though the Eagles made them sweat it out, the Huskies were too much to handle.
It was a nerve-wracking way to get a 600th career victory, but Stevens said she would not have had it any other way.
“It was really nice to get it against them as opposed to an unranked opponent,” Stevens said. “Now I’ll remember it. It was hard fought. We scored, they tie it up, we come back to score with eight minutes to go and now because it’s a landmark milestone in my career I’m glad I have a great memory. So I thank the team for providing me with that memory.”
UConn will have a full week off before its next match against Lafayette. That game is set for next Sunday and will get underway at 2 p.m. at the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex.
Bryan Lambert is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering UConn field hockey. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.