Not every college athlete can say they won a national championship, let alone a conference title. For UConn field hockey’s three seniors, they’ve won a lot and perhaps played their last game in Storrs on Sunday.
Svea Boker, Antonia Tiedtke and Abby Lucas were sophomores when the program won its fifth national championship in 2017 and have led the way to four regular season Big East titles and three Big East Tournament titles.
“We have three national champions,” head coach Nancy Stevens said. “They’ve had terrific careers and careers that only a few athletes ever have and the vast majority can just dream of having. We just couldn’t be more proud of our three seniors.”
The trio was honored Sunday as a part of the Senior Day festivities. Each had their name called, received a bouquet of flowers and took photos with their families before the Huskies took the field against UMass. In a game that saw six total scores, it was only right that Boker struck first.
“[Boker is] one of the best strikers in the country,” Stevens said. “She is breathtaking. She has meant everything. She’s the engine of the attack.”
Boker notched her team-leading 18th goal in the first quarter on a penalty corner, tying a career high. The striker out of Bremen, Germany has done a lot of scoring for the Huskies as she’s found the back of the net 50 times in 85 games, seven of which were game-winners, but Sunday’s penalty stroke score was the first of her career. Boker entered the day ranked sixth in the country in goals per game (.94) and fourth in points per game (2.50).
She will leave UConn with a number of accolades as well. Outside of the conference’s weekly honors, Boker has been a member of the Big East All-Tournament team twice (‘16, ‘18) and was a member of the All-Big East first team last season. She was a Second Team All-American a season ago, has been named to the All-Region First Team (‘18) and Second Team (‘17) and has loved every minute of being a Husky.
“It’s honestly an honor to play for UConn field hockey,” Boker said. “Everyone who’s involved in this program is just special and I had the best four years of my life so far.”
Boker was a co-captain on this year’s team alongside Tiedtke, who’s had an impressive career herself. Tiedtke is an “offensive-minded back,” according to her coach and her numbers prove it. Though the Frankfurt, Germany native only has three goals in 2019, she currently leads the Huskies in assists (16) and is third in the country in assists per game (.83). In her career, she’s dished out 48 assists in part of her 72 points in 88 games played.
Also slated as the “anchor of the defense,” Tiedtke was a member of the All-Big East Second Team a season ago as well as the All-Region Second Team. In 2016 she was a member of the Germany U-18 National team and isn’t sad about her tenure at UConn coming to an end, but rather is excited about what is ahead.
“Everyone is so incredible, it’s been a blast here and it’s so bittersweet that it’s going to be over,” Tiedtke said. “But, we’re trying to make it as long as possible so I’m excited for the postseason.”
While Boker and Tiedtke have been the ones in the spotlight and earning national attention, Lucas has not had the same four-year career. The back-up goaltender has played in eight games as a Husky, earning 60 minutes and 26 seconds of playing time in a role Stevens likened to a NFL back-up quarterback.
“It’s like being the back-up quarterback in the NFL,” Stevens said. “At a moment’s notice you may have to go in when someone gets injured so you have to practice and prepare as though you are going to start, knowing that you could get in there in a blink of an eye. And she’s been terrific in every practice. She gives it her very best effort and she’s always ready to go in… She’s been a very important and vital part of our program.”
Lucas has only allowed one goal in her four-year career and has made four saves. The Auburn, Massachusetts native has played 20 minutes of shutout hockey as a senior, including her stint in Sunday’s win, and says she has enjoyed her four years on the team.
“If this is our last game on the field then we had nothing but positive memories here,” Lucas said. “It was a really special four years.”
The three seniors still have some time left in their UConn careers as the team prepares for yet another Big East tournament. The trio would have won the tournament all four years in the program if all goes as planned for next weekend’s trip to Hamden, Connecticut, the home of the tournament’s host Quinnipiac Bobcats.
A conference tournament win would likely mean the Huskies would be a top-four team in the NCAA tournament, giving them home-field advantage for the first and second rounds. Sunday may have had the last regular season game of the year in Storrs, but don’t count out a return to the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex when the postseason rolls around.
Kevin Arnold is the associate sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @karnold98.