The UConn field hockey team is one of the best in the nation and a perennial contender. Head coach Nancy Stevens is the winningest Division I Field Hockey coach in history, and she has led the Huskies to three national championships in her 28-year tenure at UConn, the most recent being in 2017.
While the Huskies could not repeat as champions as they did in 2013 and 2014, they still had a very successful 2018 season, finishing with a 19-4 record overall. They won their 18th Big East championship and seventh in a row. However, they were eliminated by Maryland in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
The Huskies were consistently ranked in the top five in the national rankings all season long. They won regular season games against top-10 opponents Michigan and Syracuse. However, UConn also lost three games in the regular season, all of them to fellow top-five teams. The three losses matched the total from the previous three years combined.
In fact, when UConn lost their first game to Maryland on Sep. 30, it snapped a 33-game winning streak that went all the way back to the start of the 2017 season.
Even with some bumps in the road in the middle of the season, the Huskies finished the regular season strong with six straight wins en route to the Big East title. They won their first round game in the national tournament 5-0 over Rutgers before dropping a heartbreaker to Maryland 2-1 in overtime in the second round. Maryland would go on all the way to the championship where they would ultimately lose to North Carolina. UConn finished as the No. 5 team in the country in the rankings.
The top performer on the Huskies throughout the season was senior back Cecile Pieper, who led the team in goals with 23 and points with 58. Junior Svea Boker was right behind her with 52 points on 18 goals and 16 assists. She also led the team with five game-winning goals. Junior Antonia Tiedtke led the team with 20 assists.
In net, redshirt freshman Cheyenne Sprecher had a great season, starting all 23 games. She recorded 87 saves on 116 shots for a .750 save percentage. She allowed an average of just 1.28 goals per game.
After the season, multiple Huskies were honored with awards from the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA). Pieper, Boker, Sprecher, senior Amanda Collins and senior Amelia Iacobucci were all named to the All-Mideast Region First Team while Tiedtke and sophomore Jessica Dembrowski were named to the second team. Pieper was also named the Mideast Player of the Year. Pieper, Collins and Boker were selected as All-Americans. The UConn coaching staff won the Regional Coaching Staff of the Year Award for the Mideast region.
For Big East honors, Pieper was named defensive player of the year and Sprecher was named freshman of the year. They were joined by Boker, Collins and Iacobucci on the All Big East First Team while Tiedtke earned a spot on the second team.
Dembrowski and freshman Lindsay Dickinson continued playing field hockey after the season as part of Team USA. Dickinson is a part of the U-19 squad that played a few games in Germany last month. Dembrowski plays for the U-21 team that traveled to Germany for some games as welAll in all, it was a very successful and decorated season for this UConn field hockey team despite the somewhat early exit in the national tournament. Under the leadership of coach Stevens and some quality players returning, the Huskies can only hope to improve in 2019.
Danny Barletta is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.