Huskies beat UNH to remain undefeated
Published: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Updated: Sunday, September 23, 2012 23:09
The UConn field hockey team continued their perfect start to the season in dramatic fashion this weekend, defeating both New Hampshire and Villanova by a single goal.
The No. 5 Huskies faced No. 16 UNH at the Sherman Sports Complex under the lights on Friday night in what was perhaps their closest call so far this season, earning a 3-2 win in double overtime.
After falling behind 1-0 less than six minutes into the game when the Wildcats managed to punch home a loose ball in the crease, UConn responded by tallying two goals in the next 10 minutes to grab a 2-1 advantage.
First, Chloe Hunnable ripped a shot from the top of the arc after being set up by Louisa Boddy on a penalty corner, beating Wildcats keeper Carlie Tarbell to the bottom right corner of the goal.
Five minutes later, the Huskies converted another penalty corner into a goal as Hunnable again put a shot in from the top of the arc. This time, Marie Elena Bolles was lurking inside the crease and got a piece of the ball, tipping it into the upper right corner and giving UConn the lead.
The next 30 minutes of the game saw both teams squander numerous opportunities, as neither one could turn their corners and counterattacks into goals.
But in the 50th minute, UNH capitalized on a scramble near the goal, as a play off of a penalty corner broke down and resulted in the ball being battered around the front of goal before being put home by an opportunistic Hannah Richard.
Again, neither team was able to convert their chances over the next 30 minutes, forcing the game into two seven-on-seven overtime periods.
Just two minutes into the second extra period, Chloe Hunnable knocked in her second goal of the game, again off a corner, giving the Huskies the sudden death victory.
“We practice it once a week, that’s on our Wednesday practice is that you have to practice overtime,” UConn coach Nancy Stevens said. “But it’s hard, you’re asking a lot of players that have gone 70 minutes.”
But despite the length of the game and the tight score, the Huskies dominated most of the game, outshooting the Wildcats 19-10 and out-cornering them 11-6.
Though UConn escaped with the win, Stevens had mixed feelings about her team’s performance in the game.
“You look at the metrics and it’s a good day, it’s a good outing,” Stevens said. “You know we pride ourselves on being very stingy and giving up very few goals, so we’ve given up three goals in seven games [before tonight] – we’re not happy about giving up two goals in one game. But they were opportunists.”
On Sunday, the Huskies traveled to Villanova for their second Big East game of the year.
Boddy tallied the lone goal of the game – her fifth of the season – to give UConn the 1-0 win away from home and push the team to 2-0 in conference play.
Once again, despite the close score, the Huskies controlled play as they racked up a 28-1 advantage in shots and a 12-1 advantage in corners.
UConn is now 9-0 on the season, their best start since winning the first 11 games of the 2009 season. The team returns to action next weekend, as they play Providence at home on Friday night before traveling to Boston University on Sunday.