Oct. 23, 2011
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STORRS, Conn. - In a contest that showcased two of the best teams in the country and with the BIG EAST Regular Season Championship on the line, the No. 4 University of Connecticut field hockey team got the best of No. 6 Syracuse, 3-2 in double-overtime, on Sunday afternoon at the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex in Storrs, Conn. With the win, the Huskies clinch at least a share of their 12th BIG EAST Regular Season title and improve to 15-1 overall, 5-0 in the BIG EAST. The Orange slip to 14-3, 4-1.
All 12 of UConn's BIG EAST Regular Season championships have come since the 1996 season. The Huskies have also won 11 BIG EAST Tournament crowns.
Connecticut clinched a 15-win season for the 24th time in its 33 seasons. The Huskies have posted at least 15 wins in 16 of the last 18 seasons under head coach Nancy Stevens.
Sophomore standout Marie Elena Bolles registered the game-winner on Sunday. Classmate Anne Jeute played the ball ahead from the midfield to a streaking Bolles. Bolles got by the Syracuse defense and was in a foot race for the ball with Orange keeper Leann Stiver. Stiver and Bolles met at the ball simultaneously but Bolles was able to get a stick on it and poke it around Stiver and towards the net. The ball rolled slowly towards the empty net and a couple of Syracuse defenders tried desperately to catch it. However, the ball rolled untouched past the goal line to seal the Husky victory.
The two teams were evenly matched as UConn held a 10-7 edge in shots while Syracuse held a 5-4 penalty corner advantage. Both Connecticut keeper Sarah Mansfield and Stiver made four saves.
The Huskies got the scoring started at the 14:04 mark. Senior forward Cara Silverman, who was honored in a pregame ceremony with her six classmates, netted her third goal of the season to give UConn an early 1-0 edge. The Huskies were awarded a penalty corner and senior back Jestine Angelini hit a shot from the top of the circle towards the corner of the goal. Silverman was camped there and she deflected Angelini's shot past Stiver and into the back of the net.
UConn held the lead through the remainder of the first half but Syracuse netted a pair of goals in a 2:03 stretch to claim a brief lead. Iona Holloway scored at 45:21 and Lauren Brooks added the go-ahead tally at 47:24 to give the Orange a 2-1 lead.
However, UConn took advantage of another corner as Jestine Angelini got the feed at the top of the circle and dribbled in a few feet deeper. She struck a shot towards the corner again, this time for Jeute. Jeute redirected Angelini's shot into the back of the net and knotted the game up at 2-2, setting up Bolles' heroics in double-overtime.
Connecticut is back in action on Friday, October 28 when the team travels to Rutgers to take on the Scarlet Knights. Game time is set for 3 p.m. in Piscataway, N.J. A win on Friday will clinch the outright BIG EAST Regular Season Championship.