2002 Season Review
UCONNíS ROAD TO THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
UConn finished the 2002 season with a 15-8 overall record and a perfect 5-0 record in the BIG EAST. After a 1-5 start against some of the nationís top talent, UConn won its last 14-of-17 games to reach 15 wins. The Huskies earned an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament by virtue of winning the BIG EAST Championship and made their 14th overall appearance in NCAA postseason play. Connecticut earned the top seed in the 2002 BIG EAST tournament after winning the regular season title with a perfect 5-0 record in league play. UConn captured its league-leading sixth championship title after defeating Syracuse (1-0 OT) and Villanova (3-1) in the tournament hosted by Syracuse University. UConn has won a combined 12 BIG EAST field hockey titles (six regular season and six tournament titles), the most of any other school.
Nancy Stevens, the head coach of Connecticut finished her 13th season with the Huskies. Stevens closed the 2002 season with a career record of 367-131-24 (.726) and a school record of 187-82-8 (.689). The opening game of the 2002 regular season marked Stevensí 500th career game coached, making her only the fourth intercollegiate coach in history to have reached the milestone. At the conclusion of the 2002 season, she ranked fourth overall in wins (367) and games coached (522). Stevens is a four-time BIG EAST Coach of the Year (1996, 1997, 2000, 2002), including the 2002 Coach of the Year selection, and has led the Huskies to 12 BIG EAST titles and seven NCAA appearances, including three NCAA Quarterfinal appearances and two Final Fours.
NCAA Championship: By virtue of winning the BIG EAST Championship, Connecticut earned the leagueís automatic bid to the NCAA Field Hockey Championship. With the bid the Huskies made their 14th NCAA appearance. In the first round played at Cambridge, Mass., UConn matched up against No. 8 ranked Northeastern. The Huskies outshot Northeastern (10-6), but fell 1-0. BIG EAST Championship: Connecticut won its sixth BIG EAST tournament title and fourth in the last five years with a 3-1 win over Villanova. Sophomore forward Lauren Henderson (Avondale Harare, Zimbabwe) scored twice to lead the Huskies to the win. Most Outstanding Player: Connecticut sophomore Henderson was named the championship Most Outstanding Player. The forward scored the game-winner in a 1-0 victory against Syracuse. In the final against Villanova, the BIG EASTís leading scorer scored two goals to help UConn to a 3-1 win.
Several Connecticut student-athletes received accolades for their outstanding play during the 2002 season. On the national level, senior midfielder Kelly Cochrane (Scarsdale, NY) and Henderson were selected as 2002 STX/NFHCA Division I All-Americans. Cochrane was named to the second team, while Henderson received third team honors. Regionally, four student-athletes were named to the 2002 STX/NFHCA Division I All-Mideast Region team. Cochrane, Henderson and sophomore back Lauren Christie (Raby, Australia) all earned First Team honors, while junior forward Mary Jo Malone (Water Mill, NY) was named to the All-Region Second Team. Cochrane also was named to the 2002 National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division I North/South Senior All-Star team and represented UConn on the North team. In the league, along with Stevens being named the BIG EAST Coach of the Year, Christie earned the 2002 BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year honor, while also being named a 2002 All-BIG EAST First Team performer. Cochrane and Henderson joined Christie on the first team, with all three earning unanimous selections. Malone and junior forward Kelly Stolle (Warren, CT) earned All-BIG EAST Second Team honors.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Connecticut led the league with the most weekly awards garnering eight total, while Boston College was next with sixth. UConnís Henderson led the way earning a league best four Offensive Player of the Week awards (9/30, 10/7, 10/21, 11/4), while Butler finished with two Defensive Player Awards (9/23, 11/4), including the ECAC Goalie of the Week (9/23). Cochrane also earned an Offensive honor (9/3), while sophomore Lauren Christie rounded out the awards with a Defensive Player of the Week (10/7).
VERSUS THE NATIONíS BEST
UConn finished 3-6 versus top 20 teams on the season with wins over No. 7 Northeastern (2-1 OT), No. 15 Harvard (3-2) and No. 18 Boston College (1-0 OT). The Huskies are 2-2 versus nationally-ranked opponents when the game goes into overtime with UConnís losses coming to No. 2 Michigan (3-2 OT) and No. 14 Princeton (4-3 2OT). The Huskies are 5-2 overall in overtime games, including 2-2 versus ranked opponents.
CONNECTICUTíS TOURNEY HISTORY
Connecticut is 18-12 overall after 14 appearances in NCAA Tournament play. UConn has two national titles (1981, 1985) and UConn is fifth overall in NCAA games won (18) and seventh overall in NCAA games played (30). The Huskies are 4-2 in NCAA games that go into overtime.
THE NATIONAL SCENE
UConn broke into the top 20 with a No. 15 ranking for the first time on Nov. 9 after capturing the BIG EAST title. Despite not being ranked in the polls all season, the Huskies were well represented in the national statistics. Sophomore Lauren Henderson boasted a career-high 23 goals and added four assists to rank fifth nationally in points (54), and seventh in points per game (2.27). Hendersonís 23 goals also ranked her third nationally in goals scored and fifth in goals per game (1.0). Senior Kelly Cochrane finished the year with a career-high 21 assists and eight goals scored. Her 21 assists placed her second in the nation in total assists and assists per game (0.95). As a team, the Huskies finished 11th in scoring margin (1.17), 12th in scoring defense (1.29) and 14th in scoring offense (2.56).
BIG EAST STATS
UConn sat atop the BIG EAST stats in scoring with both Henderson and Cochrane leading the way with 54 points and 37 points, respectively. Connecticut led the conference in two out of three overall categories, goals (57) and assists (48).
Depsite UConnís prolific scoring this season, no team records were set, however, two Huskies matched or bettered some single game records. Henderson scored a career-high five goals in UConnís 6-0 win over Quinnipiac (10/4) to tie the school mark for most points in a game with 10 points. Cochrane set a new UConn record for most assists in a game when she had five versus Quinnipiac (10/4).