Field Hockey holds off Penn State
Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 01:09
Junior Marie Elena Bolles put home two goals and junior goalkeeper Sarah Mansfield made six saves in a 2-1 UConn win over No. 9 Penn State.
The Nittany Lions jumped out to an early lead just 11:14 into the game when Kelsey Amy beat Mansfield off a penalty corner, one of four corners for Penn State in the first half.
After the halftime break, the Huskies tightened up defensively, which head coach Nancy Stevens attributed to the team’s ability to adjust at the half.
“Paul Caddy is the associate head coach and he made some tactical changes at halftime that were really brilliant and really, I think, lifted the team and really helped us to win this game,” Stevens said. “We went from playing with four backs to four in the midfield and it’s actually something we had never practiced. We have bright kids on the team. We had about seven minutes to map it out and they went out and they executed.”
The adjustments paid dividends for the Huskies, as it allowed them to get out in transition more effectively, leading to quality scoring chances throughout the half.
Then, 45:55 into the contest, senior midfielder Alicia Angelini found Bolles with a pass in transition, and she promptly leveled the score at 1-1. Just over five minutes later, the Nittany Lions surrendered a corner, and again, Bolles managed to hit the back of the net.
The corner was taken by graduate student Katherine Baker, and the ball found its way to Chloe Hunnable at the top of the striking circle. Hunnable ripped a shot from just inside the circle, and a lurking Bolles got a piece of it to beat Penn State keeper Ayla Halus and gave UConn a 2-1 lead, much to the delight of Stevens.
“Marie Elena was brilliant – she’s our breakaway threat,” Stevens said. “She had a world-class tip on the goal, to score the winning goal for us.”
With just under three minutes remaining in the game, the Nittany Lions had their best chance to tie the game. Whitney Reddig took a penalty corner for Penn State and found Amy, who had a chance to score her second goal of the night from just inside the top of the striking circle. Mansfield blocked away her shot to help preserve the victory.
For the No. 6 Huskies, the win was their first against a ranked opponent on the season. It was their second against the Nittany Lions in the last two seasons, the first coming in the Elite Eight last season, also in comeback fashion.