STORRS, Conn. – Freshman forward Charlotte Veitner scored her first career goal with 3:44 remaining in overtime to help propel the No.3 University of Connecticut field hockey team to a 3-2 victory over No. 14 Northwestern on Sunday afternoon at the George J. Sherman Family-Sports Complex in the squad’s 2014 season opener.
With the win, UConn has now won 12 straight season openers and extends its winning streak to nine games, dating back to 2013.
UConn was fueled by second half goals from Sophie Bowden (Somerset, England) and 2013 leading scorer Chloe Hunnable (Halstead, England). Redshirt-freshman goalkeeper Nina Klein (Topton, Pa.) picked up her first career win, notching a pair of saves and helping defend against four Wildcat penalty corner attempts.
The Huskies held an overall 26-to-8 shot advantage and earned 10 total penalty corner attempts.
Northwestern tallied the only score of the first half, taking advantage of a penalty corner with just over eight minutes gone by in the game. Isabel Flens received the ball from Charlotte Martin and was able to fire a shot past the Husky defense and into the lower left corner of the cage to give the Wildcats the early advantage.
UConn stormed back in the second half, scoring on a penalty corner attempt when Bowden redirected a shot and squeezed it by Northwestern’s Maddy Carpenter. After Flens scored again, Hunnable evened the contest, driving a shot into goal that came from a beautiful pass from Darby Smith (Sussex, N.J.) in the middle of the box.
The game-winner came in the 82nd minute as Olivia Bolles (Phoenixville, Pa.) grabbed a loose ball and rushed to the end line before tossing a beautiful cross towards the waiting Veitner, who buried the chance and secured the Husky victory.
“It’s great that we have young players who were able to come in an make an immediate impact,” said 25th-year head coach Nancy Stevens. “We’re thrilled with the result of the game, especially against a quality team like Northwestern.”
The UConn defense was stellar in the second half as Chrissy Davidson (West Lawn, Pa.) and Bolles both made terrific defensive saves and held the Wildcats to just six shots in the final 47:16.
Connecticut returns to action on Sept. 6 when No. 6 Penn State visits the Constitution State for a noon showdown. Prior to the game, there will be a ceremony to honor the 2013 National Championship team.