No. 4 UConn field hockey defeated Liberty 5-3 Sunday in Lynchburg, Virginia to capture its seventh-straight and 18th Big East Tournament crown. With this victory, the Huskies earned an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
While the Huskies dominated the Flame 6-1 just two weeks ago in Storrs, Sunday’s championship game was much more tightly contested. Senior Amanda Collins, senior Amelia Iacobucci and junior Antonia Tiedtke scored in the first period to give top-seeded UConn a 3-2 lead after a back-and-forth half.
The second-seeded Flame evened the game at 3-3 early in the second half, but the Huskies struck twice within two minutes. Junior Svea Boker and sophomore Vivienne Tucker notched goals to restore the lead.
Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Cheyenne Sprecher made eight saves to help UConn secure the win. The Huskies held a 25-14 edge in shots, but had just six penalty corners compared to the Flame’s eight.
The victory marked head coach Nancy Stevens 500th career NCAA coaching win.
In the semifinals, UConn cruised to a 9-1 victory over Villanova. Freshman Maddy Wray, Boker and freshman Abby Gooderham all scored two goals for the Huskies en route to a Big East Tournament single-game record of nine goals.
Fifth-year senior Cecile Pieper, sophomore Jessica Dembrowski and Collins all chipped in with goals of their own as UConn built a 5-0 halftime lead and never looked back. The Huskies held a 19-5 advantage in shots and 8-3 edge in penalty corners, two of which they converted on for first half goals.
For their outstanding performances in the tournament, Iacobucci, Boker, Collins, Pieper and Sprecher were named to the All-Big East Tournament team, with Pieper honored as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Story Salit is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus and can be reached via email at email@example.com.