The UConn field hockey team was riding high after a double overtime win in Syracuse last weekend to send them to their fourth-straight Final Four. Unfortunately for the Huskies, their overtime success would come to a halt to this weekend in Norfolk, Virginia, as they fell to North Carolina 2-1 in the extra session. The heartbreaking loss puts an end to the Huskies’ season, the second straight year losing in the national semifinals.
Both defenses came ready to play, and the game remained scoreless at the half. The two teams managed just five shots in the half as the defenses held their ground tightly. Each team had one penalty corner chance but neither could convert.
UConn (22-2) took the lead a minute into the second half when freshmen Barbara van den Hoogen created space from her defender and ripped a reverse shot past the UNC goalie. It was van den Hoogen’s 10th goal of the season, and the freshman put the Huskies ahead 1-0.
Five minutes later, UNC (20-5) would tie the game. A long diagonal pass from Malin Evert led to a UNC breakaway, and a pass from Emma Bozek found Sam Night for a sliding deflection to put the ball into the back of the net.
Neither team could find the go-ahead goal in regulation, so the game would go into overtime. UConn was 2-0 in overtime games before Friday’s game, with last weekend’s win over Syracuse and a 4-3 win over Boston College at the end of October.
Ten minutes into the first overtime period, sophomore Amanda Collins attempted to beat a UNC defender on a breakout chance for the Huskies. Evert stole the ball from Collins and proceeded to take it into the circle looking for the game-winning goal. Evert found Lauren Moyer with a pass across the goal and just past the outstretched arm of goalkeeper Nina Klein, and Moyer sent the Tar Heels to the championship game with her team-leading 23rd goal of the season.
Klein made a save in overtime, giving her five saves to keep the Huskies in contention. UConn was held without a shot in the seven-on-seven overtime period.
Although UConn’s season did not end the way they had hoped, the Huskies came away with two Big East titles and a Final Four berth, certainly nothing to be ashamed of. With much of the UConn team coming back next year – including Klein, leading scorers Collins and Charlotte Veitner and key defenders Casey Umstead and Karlie Heistand – the Huskies will look to have another strong season next year.
Josh Buser is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.