UConn field hockey continued their undefeated season this weekend with the first two rounds of the NCAA Field Hockey Tournament. Game one saw the Huskies take on Boston University, a game that ended 3-1 in favor of UConn. After winning against defending champion Delaware in overtime on Saturday, Penn State moved on to the Elite 8 to face UConn on Sunday. In what amounted to an incredible game for both teams, UConn ultimately took the game 4-3 and advances to the Final Four next weekend in Louisville.
The Huskies were dominant throughout the game against BU, who had to defeat Fairfield on Wednesday before advancing to the round of 16. UConn was on the board early as leading scorer Charlotte Veitner knocked one in at 2:54 with an assist from Svea Boker. BU tied it up quickly, with Alisa Connolly scoring from the right side at the seven minute mark.
In the 28th minute, Amanda Collins took a ball from Antonia Tiedtke and took a shot from the top of the circle, giving the Huskies a 2-1 lead that they would carry into halftime.
Twelve minutes into the second period, Veitner got her 30th goal of the season with help from Barbara van den Hoogen and Collins. The 3-1 would go final and propel UConn into the Elite 8. The Huskies outshot BU 14-3, with a 4-0 advantage in penalty corners. UConn goalie Nina Klein made only one save in the victory.
“The goal was, first and foremost, to win and get to the Elite 8,” Stevens said on the victory. “Looking forward to playing a great game tomorrow. We give a lot of credit to Boston University because they played good defense. But we were able to come through.”
“They put everything out there that they had,” Veitner said on BU’s performance. “They’re a young team and they developed a lot over the season. I think they did very well.”
“Across the board we were great tacklers today,” Klein said. “We really stepped up and were able to force them into poor scoring positions.”
UConn played the first of two games in the regional on Saturday, and had yet to discover which team they would be playing come Sunday.
“Penn State had such a great season, and they’re dangerous in many ways. The good thing is that we get to play first. We’re hoping for overtime, maybe double overtime and a shootout,” Stevens joked.
Sunday gave the Huskies tough competition against Penn State. For the fifth consecutive game, UConn got on the board in the first five minutes. This time, it would come off the stick of Casey Umstead who made a beautiful penalty corner conversion. Margot Hecking van Colenbrander got a point on the goal, along with Collins.
At the 18 minute mark, Boker made what might be the most beautiful goal of the season. Veitner was trying to score from the right side, but her shot was just a little wide. Boker realized this and immediately dove on the ball, deflecting it into the net for the second goal of the game.
Penn State got the momentum after that. Shay Cannon scored for the Nittany Lions in the 26th, while Bes Bovelander knocked one in just before halftime. Despite maintaining a lead for 32 minutes, the Huskies went into the half tied with Penn State.
Veitner got another one in the 47th, her 31st of the year, with the help of Tiedtke. Van den Hoogen got UConn back to a two goal advantage at the 51 minute mark, an unassisted deflection off of a defender.
Penn State got one back in the 55th, this time off of a painfully obvious own goal on Tiedtke. Penn State’s Abby Myers would get the credit, cutting UConn’s lead to 4-3. Penn State scored shortly after to even the score, but Stevens called for a video review that overturned the goal and kept UConn in the lead. Ultimately, the Huskies won 4-3 and are advancing to the Final Four next weekend.
UConn outshot Penn State 14-9, but Penn State had the corner advantage 5-4. Klein had to make five saves in the game, several of which were world class.
“So thrilled with our win today. Four goals by the offense was just incredible, some brilliant goals out there today,” Stevens said. “We actually tipped in two of Penn State’s goals which is disappointing, but it happens. I think we go into the Final Four knowing that is a bit unusual for us.”
The University of North Carolina rose victorious from their regional, and they are set to face UConn in the Final Four. The winner of that match will face the winner of the Maryland/Michigan match in the championship game in Louisville next weekend.
Rachel Schaefer is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.