Update Nov. 5: Chloe Hunnable ’15 CLAS) scored two goals, including the game-winner in the last minute of play, as the field hockey team defeated Syracuse by a score of 4-3 to win the Big East Tournament Championship in Louisville and earn the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The tournament field will be announced tomorrow at 6 p.m.
The field hockey team is looking to add to its trophy case this weekend in Louisville, Ky., as the No. 5 Huskies try for their seventh Big East Tournament Championship in the past decade. The Huskies face No. 25 Louisville tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the semi-final game of the conference postseason. The game will be streamed live at Big East.tv.
The Huskies earned a 2-1 regular season victory over the Cardinals (12-7) on Oct. 6 at Trager Stadium, when graduate student Louisa Boddy scored two goals.
Hall of Fame coach Nancy Stevens says the Huskies (16-2) will not need to make many adjustments at this stage of the season, even after dropping their last two regular season games on the road against No. 2 Princeton and No. 3 Syracuse (16-1), which faces Providence (9-8) in the other semifinal matchup.
“We have the second most wins this season in Division 1, so we are in a good place with tactics going into the Big East Championship,” Stevens says. “We have adjusted the tempo at practice to replicate the intensity of post-season play. Our pressing and outletting schemes have improved throughout the season, and these are key components to winning. Our team has worked very hard on attack penalty corners, and we have several effective scoring options.”
The Huskies battled back from scoring deficits against both Syracuse and Princeton, when both opposing teams were able to take more shots and gain an advantage in penalty corners.
“Princeton was a good challenge for us. Four of their players took a year off from school to train with the U.S. National Team, and three of those players went to the London Olympics. Those four players presented match-up challenges for us and the game stats reflect that,” Stevens says. “The game stats were very close in the Syracuse game, and we were proud of our team’s effort to fight back from scoring deficits twice. We would relish the opportunity to play them again.”
The Huskies will rely on their dual scoring leaders, Boddy and forward Chloe Hunnable ’15 (CLAS), each with 34 points, and the speedy forward Marie Elena Bolles ’14 (NUR), who scored 28 points, on the attack. All-American Sarah Mansfield ’14 (CLAS), the nation’s fourth-ranked goalkeeper, has 72 saves on the year and an impressive 1.01 goals against average.
The most experienced postseason Husky is midfielder/back Alicia Angelini ’13 (PHR), who has 14 points, but Stevens is confident in the leadership demonstrated throughout the season by her senior student-athletes.
“I feel that our five senior starters will do a great job leading the team on the field this weekend,” she says.
Several Huskies were honored during last night’s opening tournament banquet. Bolles was named by league coaches as the Big East Field Hockey Offensive Player of the Year and, for the second consecutive year, to the All-Big East First Team. Other Huskies named to the First Team included Angelini, Boddy, Hunnable and Mansfield.
The players show off their skills in this video: