SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- No. 2 seed Syracuse defeated No. 1 seed Connecticut 3-2 to win the 2011 Big East Championship Sunday at J.S. Coyne Stadium. The Orange, who built a 3-0 lead in the first half, held on to win their sixth championship, and third in the last four years.

Syracuse will represent the Big East as the automatic qualifier in the NCAA tournament. Lauren Brooks was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after she scored two goals in two victories for the Orange.

Other Championship game results
America East New Hampshire 4, Boston U 2
ACC North Carolina 2, Duke 1
Big Ten Penn State 3, Michigan 2
CAA Old Dominion 5, Northeastern 1
Conference Championship Central

The Orange jumped out to an early lead, scoring two goals in the first four minutes of the game. The first goal was scored at the 3:03 mark when senior Martina Loncarica sent a pass through the circle to Brooks, who shot the ball past UConn keeper Sarah Mansfield. 56 seconds later, senior midfielder Liz McInerney dribbled through the Huskies’ defense to position herself at the center of the cage for the goal.

Syracuse added to the lead when senior Heather Susek dribbled into circle and earned her team a penalty stroke. Loncarica took the stroke and sent the ball past Mansfield for the 3-0 advantage.

Susek was assessed a 10-minute yellow card in the 24th minute that put the Orange down a player. Connecticut immediately took advantage, scoring two quick goals to get back into the game. Senior Kim Krzyk sent a pass from the top of the circle that found sophomore Anne Jeute on the right side of the cage. Jeute pushed the ball into the bottom corner for the Huskies’ first goal of the game in the 24th minute.

Just over one minute later, UConn struck again when a penalty stroke was awarded.  \Senior defender Rayell Heistand took the stroke and connected on the goal, bringing the score to 3-2.

 

The first half came to a close with Connecticut leading 7-4 in shots and 3-0 in penalty corners.  SU goalkeeper Leann Stiver recorded two first-half saves and Mansfield had one save.

 

The penalties continued into the second half as Heistand was sent off with a five-minute yellow card in the 40th minute.  Connecticut junior Allison Angulo was also given a five-minute yellow card in the 55th minute.  Neither proved detrimental to the Huskies as the second half remained scoreless.

Syracuse ended the game with a 9-8 advantage in shots while UConn led 5-1 in penalty corners.  The Orange’s Stiver finished with two saves and UConn’s Mansfield ended the game with four.