Field Hockey: Nancy Stevens becomes NCAA’s all-time wins leader
Published: Sunday, October 13, 2013
Updated: Sunday, October 13, 2013 23:10
The No. 4 UConn field hockey team (12-1) captured two home wins this weekend, defeating No. 14 Louisville 6-0 Friday night and besting Boston University 5-1 on Sunday.
Friday’s win earned UConn head coach Nancy Stevens her 562nd career victory and the title of all-time winningest coach in NCAA Division I history, surpassing former record-holder and Old Dominion head coach Beth Anders. Stevens is currently in her 35th year at the helm of the UConn field hockey program, having taken the job in 1990 after seven seasons at Northwestern.
“I read a quote by Pearl S. Buck and it was, ‘If you have joy in your work you found the fountain of youth,’” Stevens said, “and I think that most coaches would agree that when things are going well and you love what you are doing, it really doesn’t seem like work because you enjoy it so much and it keeps you young.”
Under Stevens, the Huskies have made eight trips to the NCAA Tournament semifinal, as well as 20 appearances in the quarterfinal.
Senior forward Marie Elena Bolles and junior forward Chloe Hunnable each scored their 100th career points, both reaching career milestones.
“Over 40 years of field hockey at UConn and here today I believe there have been 14 players that have reached that threshold,” Stevens said. “So to have two, and in the same year, that’s a terrific accomplishment and a terrific achievement for both of them. We couldn’t be more proud of their accomplishments.”
The win over Louisville gave the Huskies their 11th of the season coming off of a tough overtime loss to Boston College on Oct. 6. The team remains undefeated in the Big East with a 3-0 conference record.
“Our goal every year never changes: its to win the conference regular season title and win the conference tournament so that you get the automatic bid,” Stevens said. “Right now we are in a good position and obviously we have Georgetown, Old Dominion and Temple remaining, but our goal is to win the regular season title. We host the conference championship and our goal is to be the No. 1 seed.”
UConn outshot Louisville 19-8 and had three penalty corners to the Cardinals’ five. Goal-scorers for the Huskies were senior forward Anne Jeute and Marie Elena Bolles, who each chipped in a pair of goals in the contest, Hunnable and freshman forward Montana Fleming. Senior goalkeeper Sarah Mansfield posted her fifth shutout of the season.
The team carried its momentum over to Sunday, besting the Boston University Terriers (8-5) to cap off the undefeated weekend.
“BU came to us with eight wins and they are well coached. It took us a while to figure them out, and in the second half we were able to string a lot more passes together and generate more offense,” Stevens said.
The Terriers gave UConn a tight first half of play, with the Huskies unable to score until the 34th minute of the game. Hunnable put the Huskies on the board after sending home a pass from sophomore midfielder Roisin Upton, who had four points on the day.
“It was a close game in the first half and in the second half we really rose to the occasion,” Stevens said. “Sometimes you have to wear the other team down and I think we were able to do that as the game went along. We have good team speed and terrifically fast players, so it just took a while to wear them down a bit and then we were able to create goal scoring opportunities.”
UConn went on to score four goals in the second half, holding Boston University to a shutout until the 67th minute of regulation, when the Terriers chipped in their lone score of the contest as time expired.
UConn will travel to Washington, D.C. this weekend for games against Big East opponent Georgetown (2-11) on Friday, Oct. 18 and American University (8-4) on Sunday, Oct. 20.