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UConn field hockey has chance to reach Final Four once again

By Erica Brancato
On November 8, 2012

The UConn field hockey team won their 12th Big East Championship on Sunday, Nov. 4 when they upset the top seed No. 3 Syracuse Orange. This was the Huskies' first Big East Championship win since 2009.
What made it extra special was that the Huskies came back from Syracuse to beat them 3-1 at 37:52 into the game to win the match 4-3.
UConn got their momentum back to tie the game 3-3 with goals scored by Chloe Hunnable and Catherine Baker late in the second half. At 69:44 Marie Elena Bolles passed a shot from the right side of the cage to Hunnable, who scored the game-winning goal with a direct shot to the center of the net. With this Big East Championship win the Huskies earned the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
UConn was part of five conferences that were granted automatic qualification. Additionally, six conferences competed for three play-in spots, and the other eight teams were selected holistically. Altogether, there are 16 teams competing for the 2012 NCAA Division I Field Hockey Championship. This weekend UConn will be hosting the first- and second-round games as they take on Northeastern Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at the George J. Sherman Family-Sports Complex. Lafayette and defending national champion Maryland will also be playing their first round game in Storrs. The winner of each game will go on to play in the second round Sunday at 2 p.m.
Northeastern ended their overall season with a record of 14-6 and is No. 12 in the NCAA Division I league. The Northeastern Huskies were one of the eight teams selected at large for this tournament after being defeated 2-1 in overtime by the Drexel Dragons in their Colonial Athletic Association conference championship on Nov. 4. The major threats to this Northeastern team are two forwards Crystal Poland and Deirdre Duke. Poland, a senior, leads the team with 131 shots, 28 goals, and 7 assists. Duke, a powerful freshman and Ireland native, has had 96 shots, 13 goals and 6 assists for the Northeastern team.
Although UConn does not play Northeastern in the regular season, the teams are familiar with each other because of the NCAA Tournament. UConn has qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the past eleven seasons. The Huskies have also won the last six games when they are matched up against Northeastern. The last time they lost was in 2004 when they were defeated in the first round of the tournament. UConn will be put to the test this Saturday as they attempt to keep their winning streak alive and continue on into the tournament.

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