No. 1 Maryland, No. 7 UConn earn their way to NCAA tournament
STORRS, Conn. -- Less than two minutes into overtime, junior forward Chloe Hunnable found the back of the net for the 20th time in 2013, giving No. 7 Connecticut a 1-0 victory against No. 5 Old Dominion in the Big East championship final. With the victory, the Huskies claimed the 2013 Big East Field Hockey Championship title and improved to 17-4 this season, while the Lady Monarchs fall to 13-7 and will await seeding, pairing and location for the 2013 NCAA Division I Field Hockey Championship.
The game winner came at 71:03 on a fast break attack between senior Marie Elena Bolles and Hunnable. Bolles took the ball into the left side of the circle before flipping a pass back to Hunnable, who put a shot halfway up the cage. Following the game, Hunnable was named the 2013 Big East Field Hockey Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
The win gives the Huskies their 13th Big East championship title and second in a row. Despite being shutout against the Lady Monarchs 5-0 on Oct. 25, the Huskies were able to defeat the No. 2 seed, holding them to just six shots.
Neither team could muster much on offense in the opening 35 minutes, as there were just six combined shots. Montana Fleming had one of UConn’s better opportunities in the first half when she received a high pass in the middle of circle and sent a backhanded shot on goal that was saved by a diving Megan Hept at 24:51.
With just more than three minutes remaining in regulation, Roisin Upton nearly gave the Huskies a late lead when she fired a shot from the top of the circle that was blocked by a Lady Monarch defender on a corner penalty.
Head coach Nancy Stevens, who is in her 24th year at the helm of the Huskies, improves to 33-10 all-time in Big East tournament contests and now boasts 568 career wins.
Sarah Mansfield finished the game with three saves in the cage, thwarting four corner penalty attempts and earning her 10th shutout of the season. Her effort helped extend her own school shutout record to 29. Her counterpart, Hept, was able to stop four Husky shots but allowed the sudden-victory goal.
No. 1 Maryland 2, No. 3 North Carolina 0
NEWTON, Mass. -- Maryland scored two goals early in the second half and benefitted from a strong defensive performance to score a 2-0 victory against North Carolina to win the 2013 ACC Field Hockey Championship.
With the win, Maryland (20-1, 6-0) clinched its 10th ACC title in program history in its final year on the conference. The Terrapins' previous title coming during the 2010 campaign. In addition, the Terrapins locked up an automatic berth to the NCAA championship and avenged a 4-2 loss to the Tar Heels in the 2012 ACC Field Hockey Championship title game.
After a first half that consisted of tight defensive play from both squads, Maryland looked to open things up in the initial five minutes of the second period, as it generated two solid offensive chances within a three-minute stretch that forced North Carolina goalkeeper Sassi Ammer to turn away multiple shots.
The offensive pressure produced success at the 39:07 mark of the first half, as the Terrapins got on the board first. Hayley Turner found tournament most valuable player Jill Witmer in the circle to put Maryland up 1-0. Turner drove along the end line to Ammer’s left and centered a pass to Witmer, who lofted a shot to the top left corner of the cage for her team-leading 16th goal of the season.
Minutes later, the Tar Heels (16-5, 3-3) defense buckled yet again, as it allowed Maryland to stretch its lead to 2-0 on a goal by Anna Desoye. Off of a penalty corner, Ali McEvoy blasted a shot through traffic toward the net that Ammer turned away. Desoye, however, was in perfect position to poke the rebound past Ammer.
In all, Maryland posted 12 shots and five penalty corners to North Carolina’s eight shots and four penalty corners.
The Terrapins held the nation’s second-best scoring offense to eight shots and just its second scoreless game of the season. The victory was Hunter’s 18th of the year and her third shutout of the 2013 season.
BIG TEN FINAL
Michigan State 3, No. 20 Iowa 2
ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Third seeded Michigan State claimed the Big Ten tournament championship on Sunday afternoon with a 3-2 defeat of No. 5 seed Iowa. It is the fourth tournament title for the Spartans (12-9, 4-2 Big Ten) and first since 2009. With the win, Michigan State earns the Big Ten’s automatic berth to the NCAA tournament.
The Spartans erased a two-goal first-half deficit to comeback for the 3-2 win. Abby Barker scored two goals for Michigan State, while Adelle Lever notched the game winner in the 62nd minute.
No. 17 Delaware 5, Northeastern 1
NEWARK, Del. -- Top-seeded Delaware used five goals from five different players to defeat second-seeded Northeastern 5-1 in Sunday's CAA championship game at Rullo Stadium.
Delaware improved to 16-4 on the year and captured the program's third CAA title and first since 2009. The Blue Hens posted a perfect 6-0 in league play to earn their first regular-season title and also hosted their first CAA championship this weekend.
UD received goals from Esmee Peet, Michaela Patzner, Meghan Winesett, Kasey Prettyman and Maddie O’Beirne.