Nov. 24, 2013
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Norfolk, Va. - The University of Connecticut field hockey team defeated Duke by a score of 2-0 to earn the program's third National Championship at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia on Sunday afternoon. The Huskies cap a sensational season on the highest possible note with a record of 21-4, while Duke finishes its season at 17-7.
The 2013 national championship in field hockey is the 16th NCAA title in UConn history and the 17th overall national championship. The other NCAA Championships are in: field hockey (1981, 1985), men's basketball (1999, 2004, 2011), women's basketball (1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2013) 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.
Duke earned the game's early corner attempts but Sarah Mansfield (Cornwall, England) denied three shots off the corners and the Husky defense played relentlessly to keep the game scoreless.
UConn used a pair of first half goals and never allowed Duke on the scoreboard to claim the National Title. Both of the Huskies' goals resulted on penalty corners, despite the fact that the Blue Devils finished with a 10-6 edge in corner opportunities. Connecticut capitalized on just its second corner of the afternoon to record its first tally. Roisin Upton (Limerick, Ireland) evaded defenders and launched a shot off the set piece that Duke keeper Lauren Blazing turned aside, but the rebound squirted to the stick of Marie Elena Bolles (Phoenixville, Pa.) on the right side of the goal mouth. The senior played a one-touch centering pass that found an open Hunnable in front of the cage. The junior popped in her 23rd goal of the season to break onto the scoreboard at 23:05.
UConn struck again with 5:36 remaining in the first half to notch the insurance goal. Anne Jeute's (Meerbusch, Germany) efforts in the Duke defensive circle resulted in another UConn corner just before the intermission. Chloe Hunnable (Halstead, England) received the ball from Jeute's insert and unleashed a hard, low shot directly on net from the top of the circle. As Hunnable wound up, Mckenzie Townsend (Harpursville, N.Y.) snuck behind the defense and positioned herself perfectly in front of the net with her stick on the turf to redirect the shot up and over Blazing for a 2-0 UConn lead.
Connecticut nearly increased its lead in the second half, as Hunnable continued her hot play on the offensive end. The junior nearly tipped a Chrissy Davidson (West Lawn, Pa.) free hit into the back of the cage but her redirect went just wide midway through the second half of action. Moments later, Hunnable flicked a shot from close range that clanged off the crossbar and out of play.
Duke called a timeout with 8:54 remaining on the clock in the hopes of solving Sarah Mansfield, but could not find the key to the senior goaltender, as the Huskies cleared the ball from their defensive half with time expiring and rushed the field in celebration.
Mansfield finished with five stops for Connecticut while her counterpart, Lauren Blazing, recorded three saves in the net for Duke. The blanking marked Mansfield's 30th career shutout, which tops the UConn record books and caps an impressive career in net for the Huskies as the program's most decorated goalkeeper.
Marie Elena Bolles, Chloe Hunnable, Roisin Upton, Chrissy Davidson, and Sarah Mansfield were named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team for their exceptional performances in the Tournament. Hunnable recorded three goals and an assist in UConn's four NCAA Tournament games while Bolles notched a goal and three assists. Mansfield combined for 16 saves in the Title run, allowing only three goals and shutting out North Carolina in the decisive Semifinal shootout on the road to the championship.