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Recaping the semester that was in UConn sports

Senior Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, December 5, 2013

Updated: Thursday, December 5, 2013 23:12

Part of the luxury of being a UConn student is the great sports programs this school has to offer, and the fall semester has given us numerous occasions to feel proud to be Husky. So let us take a look back at some of the best moments in UConn athletics this semester.

No. 5 – Women’s basketball raises championship banner
Back in April, the UConn women’s basketball team won its eighth national championship in program history down in New Orleans. Fastforward to a month ago, the top-ranked Huskies were set to host No. 3 Stanford at home, but a piece of black cloth needed to be removed on the wall of Gampel Pavilion first.

With a simple tug on a rope, the 2012-13 National Champions banner was revealed before the Gampel crowd and Geno Auriemma and his team looked on to admire what they had accomplished last season.

The Huskies are currently on a mission to bring title No. 9 back to Storrs, but some rearrangements may need to be done at Gampel first. They are running out of room up there.

No. 4 – Football team wins consecutive games after starting season 0-9
For the better half of the semester, UConn football was the laughing stock not only in Storrs, but perhaps in the nation as well. After firing Paul Pasqualoni following a 0-4 start, T.J. Weist was installed as the interim head coach, but he proved to be just as bad, if not worse than what his predecessor by dropping five straight games and making three quarterback changes along the way.

Then the unthinkable happened.

Trailing Temple 21-0 at halftime, UConn looked to be well on its way to an 0-10 record, but the Huskies managed to score 28 unanswered points to come back and claim their first victory of the season.

They followed up that performance with a 28-17 win over rival Rutgers last Sunday as their send-off gift to the Scarlet Knights before they head on over to the Big Ten next season.

As Ryan Boatright might say, they are leaving the conference with “a bad taste of UConn in their mouths.”

No. 3 – Field hockey captures third national championship
Duke and North Carolina are considered national powerhouses in field hockey, but UConn took out both of them en route to its third national championship in program history.

Postseason accolades followed for the Huskies as well. Senior goalkeeper Sarah Mansfield, senior forwards Marie Elena Bolles and Anne Jeute, sophomore midfielder Roisin Upton and junior forward Chloe Hunnable were all named as NFHCA All-Americans for their performances this season.

Additionally, Bolles took home the National Player of the Year honor with 17 goals and 14 assists–a total of 48 points on the season. She finished her UConn career with 129 total points, good for sixth place on the all-time points list.

No. 2 – Men’s soccer conquers penalty shootout demon, upsets top-seeded UCLA
If you have paid attention to UConn men’s soccer in the past, you know penalty shootouts are dreadful to watch.

Heading into this year’s NCAA Tournament, the Huskies were 0-6 in shootouts under head coach Ray Reid (including a conference championship loss to South Florida just a few weeks earlier), but they managed to get that monkey off their backs with back-to-back shootout wins over UMBC and the top-seeded UCLA in the past two weeks to advance to the Elite Eight.

1. Shabazz Napier’s buzzer-beater over Florida
Down by one with 17.7 seconds to go, UConn turned to Shabazz Napier to save the day.

Ask and you shall receive.

Napier missed his first attempt with about three seconds to go, but a tip by DeAndre Daniels gave him a second chance, and Napier wouldn’t let it slip by this time.

The senior guard drilled a foul-line jumper as the time expired to send Gampel Pavilion into a frenzy last Monday, as the No. 12 Huskies topped the No. 15 Florida Gators to remain undefeated this season at 8-0.

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