NORFOLK, Va. - The top-seed University of Connecticut field hockey team defeated fourth-seed Old Dominion, 4-3, in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament on Friday afternoon at the L.R. Sports Complex.
The Huskies will head to their 14th-straight Big East tournament final and look to win the program's fourth tournament crown in as many seasons. Overall, UConn has won 14 Big East tournament titles and has been victorious in 38 of 49 Big East tournament games under head coach Nancy Stevens.
UConn has now won the last three meetings with their out-of-state rival. In addition, the Huskies extended its winning streak to a program-best 33 games, dating back to the 2014 season.
It only took 39 seconds for sophomore Charlotte Veitner (Dusseldorf, Germany) to put Connecticut on the board. Senior Sophie Bowden (Somerset, England) got the ball into the crease to Veitner, who dribbled to the left of the cage before going one-on-one with ODU net-minder Kealsie Robles and scoring.
The Lady Monarchs responded in the 17th minute when Danielle Grega deflected the ball in off the penalty corner shot to tie the game at 1-1.
Junior Anna Middendorf (Bremen, Germany) swept one past the keeper to give the Huskies a 2-1 edge after Veitner inserted the ball into graduate student Pippa Lewis (Malvern, England), who laid down the stick-stop.
Once again, Veitner was quick out of the gate to start the second half. With 1:20 off the clock, she delivered a strong backhand to send the ball flying over Robles' head into the top left corner of the net.
On a man-up advantage, ODU's Chrissy Horn tallied off the corner, but the Huskies were still ahead 3-2.
In the 57th minute, Veitner pulled the ODU defense to the left side and forced the goalie out of the cage. On the shot, she was hit by a defender, earning UConn a penalty stroke. Sophomore Casey Umstead (Sellersville, Pa.) flipped the ball over the shoulder of ODU's goalie on the stroke to increase the lead to 4-2.
Grega added another deflection for the score to pull within one as the Huskies held on to a 4-3 lead with 5:30 left to play.
Redshirt-sophomore goalkeeper Nina Klein (Topton, Pa.) made two saves in the net for UConn.