Nov. 18, 2011
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The No. 4 seed University of Connecticut field hockey team built a 3-0 lead over No. 1 North Carolina but the team was unable to hang on and dropped a 4-3 double-overtime decision to the Tar Heels in the Semifinal Round of the NCAA Division I Field Hockey Championship in Louisville, Ky. With the loss, UConn concludes its season with a 19-3 overall record and rounds out its third National Semifinal appearance in the last six years. UNC wins its 18th straight and improves to 22-1 overall.
North Carolina will play for the National Championship on Sunday, November 20 against either Old Dominion or Maryland.
The Huskies narrowly missed making their first appearance in the National Championship Game since the team won the 1985 National Championship. Connecticut slips to 4-6 all-time in the National Semifinal.
Connecticut led 3-0 after First Team All-Mideast Region pick Anne Jeute scored at the 34:19 mark and First Team All-Mideast Region selection Sarah Mansfield was doing her best impression of a stonewall, turning away UNC's first 18 shots on goal to preserve the 3-0 lead.
However, after UNC pulled its goalie at the 53:01 mark, Kelsey Kolojejchick finally got one by Mansfield with 15:40 remaining after she got on the weak side and punched in a ball that was served through the circle by Gaudiosso Radvany.
Mansfield and the UConn defense held for more than 13 minutes though and the Huskies led 3-1 until Caitlin Van Sickle scored off a feed from Katelyn Falgowski with only 54-seconds remaining. The game-tying goal came 31-seconds later after Radvany deflected a long ball feed from Kolojejchick past Mansfield to send the game into OT.
Connecticut regrouped though and put together a couple of great chances in the 7v7 overtime period. At the 4:45 mark, Jeute got ahead of the defense and into the circle. As she sprinted into the circle, she rifled a shot towards the net that looked good but UNC keeper Sassi Ammer was able to kick it away to preserve the 3-3 deadlock.
Mansfield, who ended the day with a career best 19 saves, came up with two big stops with 30-seconds to go in the first overtime. First, she kicked away a cross and the ensuring deflection was controlled by UNC. UNC attempted a high shot off the rebound that Mansfield swatted away to keep UConn's national title hopes alive.
The game-winner came when Loren Shealy intercepted the ball at midfield and fed towards the UConn goal to a streaking Kolojejchick who got into the circle and chipped it just over the reach of Mansfield to send the Tar Heels into the National Championship Game.
Mansfield made a couple of big saves early in the game to preserve the scoreless tie and set up a goal by fellow All-Mideast Region Teamer Marie Elena Bolles.
Bolles netted her 11th goal of the season at the 14:35 mark. BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year Jestine Angelini served a long ball into the circle where Bolles was posted up near the net. Bolles deflected the ball at the last moment and found the back of the net to give Connecticut a 1-0 lead.
Bolles 12th goal of the season came in similar fashion, this time off a long hit from senior back Kim Krzyk at 22:56. Bolles once again craftily redirected the long hit past a stunned Ammer to give UConn a 2-0 lead.
2011 NCAA Division I Field Hockey Championship All-Tournament Team
Emma Batten - Old Dominion
Marie-Elena Bolles - Connecticut
Jestine Angelini - Connecticut
Sarah Mansfield - Connecticut
Jill Witmer - Maryland
Megan Frazer - Maryland
Harriet Tibble - Maryland
Jemma Buckley - Maryland
Kelsey Kolojejchick - North Carolina
Caitlin Van Sickle - North Carolina
Katelyn Falgowski - North Carolina