-- UConn Field Hockey (@UConnFHockey) November 23, 2014
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - For the second-straight season, the University of Connecticut field hockey team finished as the nation's top team, defeating Syracuse, 1-0, in the 2014 NCAA National Championship game on Sunday afternoon at the Maryland Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex in College Park, Md. The Huskies conclude their historic campaign with a 20-2 record, winning both the conference regular season and tournament crown to go along with the national title, while the Orange round out the season at 18-6.
The 2014 crown marks UConn's fourth title (1981, 1985, 2013, 2014) and second under head coach Nancy Stevens. The Huskies cap their incredible season with 14-straight wins and have won eight straight NCAA Tournament contests, hoisting two trophies in as many years. Overall, Connecticut owns a 37-22 (.627) mark in the national tournament and has won 24 of 41 tournament games since Stevens arrived to the Storrs campus prior to the 1990 season.
The 2014 national championship in field hockey is the 19th NCAA title in UConn history and the 20th overall national championship. The other NCAA Championships are in: field hockey (1981, 1985, 2013), men's basketball (1999, 2004, 2011, 2014), women's basketball (1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014) and men's soccer (1981, 2000). The 1948 UConn men's soccer team was named the national champions by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America before there was an NCAA tournament in men's soccer.
The Huskies scored on their first shot of the game, taking advantage of the game's first corner. Charlotte Veitner (Dussseldorf, Germany) inserted the ball to Chrissy Davidson (West Lawn, Pa.) who executed the stick-stop and fed the ball to Anna Middendorf. The sophomore defender blasted a shot towards the keeper and allowed Mckenzie Townsend (Hapursville, N.Y.) a chance to redirect the ball into the upper right of the net. It marked Townsend's fourth goal of the season.
"It was such a team effort," said Townsend on the goal. "You have the person who gets the corner. The push-out has to be perfect, the stop has to be perfect and the strike in has to be in to the right spot. I'm just the lucky one who gets to have the last touch on it."
The Huskies were playing in their sixth NCAA Final and now sport a 4-2 record in such contests. Connecticut also improves to 28-11-1 all-time against the Orange.
UConn caps its title-winning season with three championship trophies after collecting both the Big East regular season and Big East Tournament championships earlier this month.
Redshirt-freshman Nina Klein posted her second-straight and ninth overall shutout, turning away four Syracuse attempts. Her counterpart Jess Jecko finished a pair of saves.
"I'm just ecstatic," said Klein. "We've been working since August to get here and honestly, I'm speechless."
Syracuse had the game's first offensive opportunity bringing the ball to the endline and throwing a centering pass into the middle of the circle but Klein rushed out and kicked the ball away from danger. The Huskies had a chance in the final two minutes of the first half when Davidson slapped a shot on goal that popped straight up into the air and was knocked away by the Orange keeper.
The Huskies earned a corner with 13 minutes left but Middendorf's blast was blocked away by the defense. The Orange has an excellent look with 300 ticks remaining but Emma Russell's shot skipped just wide right of the cage.
Roisin Upton (Limerick, Ireland), Middendorf, Davidson and Klein were named to the All-Tournament team following the win.