STORRS, Conn. – The No. 3 University of Connecticut field hockey team scored five goals in the first half and never looked back, downing Kent St., 6-1, on Saturday afternoon in an NCAA First Round game at the George J. Sherman Family-Sports Complex in Storrs. UConn now stands at 17-2 in 2014, while Kent St. ends its 2014 campaign with an 11-11 record. UConn advances to play the winner of Louisville/Stanford with a berth to the National Semifinals on the line.
UConn improves to 19-7 all-time in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and has won its eight of its last 10 matchups in the first round. The Huskies have won five straight NCAA Tournament contests and sport a stellar 34-22 mark in 26 trips to the national event.
The Huskies extend their season-best winning streak to 11 straight and have out-scored opponents 52-14 over the run, including nine victories by at least three goals.
Connecticut wasted no time getting on the board, tallying the game’s first goal with just 3:18 gone by. Veitner raced to the endline and threw a centering pass to Chloe Hunnable (Halstead, England), who tipped in her ninth goal of the year on the near post.
Eight minutes later, the two hooked up again, this time with Hunnable sending in a cross from just outside the circle to Veitner who cut in and got a stick on the ball, which sailed into the upper right corner of the cage. The Huskies kept attacking and scored their third goal of the afternoon at 14:32 when Olivia Bolles (Phoenixville, Pa.) dragged the ball along the endline and flipped a pass into the center of the circle where Veitner was able to push the ball past the keeper for her second score of the game.
Bolles created UConn’s fourth goal of the game, finding space 30 yards from the cage and taking the middle into the middle right of the circle before tossing a shot past the dive of the keeper and into the net for her third score of the year.
Veitner put an exclamation mark on the first half, notching her third goal of the game after receiving a centering pass from freshman Karlie Heistand, who beat the Golden Flashes’ backline. Veitner’s seven points mark the highest single-game total by and Husky player this season.
The Golden Flashes grabbed a goal back in the second half but Kendall Youngblood answered for Connecticut, scoring her third goal of the year after stealing in the ball deep in the attacking third and finishing on an barren net.
Redshirt-freshman Nina Klein (Topton, Pa.) made three big saves in 70 minutes of play, earning her 17th win of the year. Her counterpart, Andrea Rinehart stopped five Husky shots but allowed all six goals. Anna Middendorf registered a defensive save in the victory, clearing the ball off the line on a shot by Julia Hofmann.
The Huskies owned a 15-to-6 overall shots advantage, including 12 in the first half.
The Huskies will play the winner of the First Round matchup between Stanford and Louisville on Sunday, Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. at the Sherman Family-Sports Complex with a trip to the National Semifinals on the line.