Three goals from Charlotte Veitner, Casey Umstead and Pippa Lewis combined with a shutout by Nina Klein were enough to punch No. 3 UConn’s ticket to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Charlotte Veitner opened up the scoring for the Huskies in the first-half after taking advantage of a Louisville turnover and beating a swarm of black jerseys in a foot race to the goal. The nations’ leading scorer deked around Louisville goalkeeper Ayeisha McFarran and buried the ball in the back of the goal.
The Huskies received some breathing room courtesy of two second-half goals but they weren’t necessary as goalkeeper Nina Klein turned away all of Louisville’s chances.
The Huskies used a short bench on Saturday and only rotated in two reserves the entire game. UConn has suffered injuries but head coach Nancy Stevens said the shortened rotation was due to strategy and not out of necessity.
“We only played two reserves just because that’s the way the matchups went today. They could be different tomorrow,” Stevens said.
Postseason play typically brings another level of intensity and Saturday’s game was no exception. Both teams weren’t shy about sacrificing the body to make some hard plays. Both goalkeepers received some extra help protecting the net as the ball was blocked several times by either a white or black jersey in front.
Green cards were assessed to both sides but according to Veitner, a line was never crossed in terms of physicality.
“If you go into a game now you have to win to stay in the tournament. If you lose the game you’re out and your season’s over. So everyone just puts everything out there and it’s definitely a little more physical but that’s what we love,” Veitner said. “I don’t think it was too physical, nothing really happened.”
UConn will play the winner of Albany and Boston College this Sunday at 2 p.m.
Stevens admitted that facing an unknown opponent provides an extra challenge.
“Both teams are very different,” said Stevens. “They’re two entirely different game plans and both teams are very good, so we’re ready for either.”
Bryan Lambert is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.