UConn beats Duke to win NCAA field hockey title
Norfolk, Va. - UConn spoiled what was expected to be another Atlantic Coast Conference coronation.
The Huskies, the only non-ACC school in the Final Four, ended up as the last team standing Sunday after defeating Duke, 2-0, to win the NCAA Division I field hockey championship at Old Dominion University.
It was the third national title in program history, but the first since 1985 and the first for head coach Nancy Stevens.
"The ACC makes us work harder," Stevens said during a postgame press conference, "and that's why we are sitting here because we know in order to get here, at this table, that we have to go through them."
UConn, which finishes 21-4, advanced to the final by defeating North Carolina in the semifinals. Duke, which finishes 17-7, upset top-seeded Maryland to reach the final.
The Huskies took control Sunday during the first half, scoring both goals on penalty corners.
Roisin Upton set up the first one, launching a shot that was deflected by Duke goalie Lauren Blazing right to an open Chloe Hunnable, who lifted the rebound into the net at 23 minutes, 5 seconds into the match. For Hunnable, a junior, it was her 23rd goal of the season.
UConn wasn't finished, however. With just 5:36 left in the first half, Hunnable received Anne Jeute's penalty corner, hit a hard low shot toward the lower right corner of the goal and Mckenzie Townsend redirected the shot up and over Blazing to make it 2-0.
Senior goalie Sarah Mansfield would do the rest for UConn, turning aside five shots (both teams had 10 shots) to preserve the shutout.
"For me, what a better way to go out ... it's just incredible," Mansfield said. "It's not even real yet. It hasn't even sunk in ... it's just amazing."
Mansfield was named to the All-Tournament team along with Hunnable, Upton, Marie Elena Bolles and Chrissy Davidson.
"To come here now and get into the national final was the most exciting moment of my life," Hunnable said. "And to now actually win it with my family here ... yeah, I'm going to cry."