The UConn field hockey team clinched the regular season Big East title when they took down Liberty 6-1 Thursday night in Storrs. This was the sixth-straight Big East title for UConn and their 19th overall.
“It’s awesome,” Cecile Pieper said. “It was our number one goal for the season to have the first seed going into the Big East tournament and we’re all happy it happened on our own pitch, in our last home game. It was pretty awesome.”
Peiper entered the day leading the team in goals and points and only added to her leads after her five-point performance. Peiper got going early, assisting on both Antonia Tiedtke’s and Maddy Wray’s goals before the game hit the 10 minute mark. The redshirt senior scored her own goal, a long snipe may I add, just before halftime. Her third assist wouldn’t come until the second half.
Sophomores Vivienne Tucker and Kourtney Kennedy scored the two second-half goals for the Huskies.
Liberty’s lone goal came from Agueda Moroni very late in the second half. Moroni came into the match leading the nation in goals scored per game (3.57) but was held in check by the UConn defense that only allowed one Liberty penalty corner.
Head coach Nancy Stevens was more than happy with her team’s performance and noted that the reserves got some valuable playing time as a result of the lopsided score. Stevens credited the tough regular season schedule as for why the Huskies were crowned conference champions.
“Well what we did, of course, we were leading 6-0 so we need to get a lot of reserves in and that’s probably going to open up an opportunity for the other team to score but those minutes are really valuable for the reserves because they may be called upon in the next game,” Stevens said. “What happened was I think our competitive schedule prepared us to win a Big East championship. We played the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 4 teams in the country and although we didn’t win those games, they were competitive and that prepares us to be a champion. So we want to play the best teams. We don’t want to create a schedule where we can win all of our games necessarily so our tough schedule prepared us to play so well tonight.”
Unfortunately, the Huskies didn’t escape unscathed. Abby Gooderham suffered an ankle injury and needed the help from the training staff to get off the field. Stevens said it’s a sprained ankle and they hope to get Gooderham back soon.
Goalkeeper Cheyenne Sprecher had a very good night in net, stopping seven shots.
The Huskies will next travel to take on No. 24 Boston University Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. UConn’s remaining three games will be on the road before heading to Virginia for the Big East Tournament in November.
“Right now our team is playing the best hockey of the season and this is when you want to do it,” Stevens said.
Kevin Arnold is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.