Field Hockey Defeated by No. 3 UConn, 2-0 in BIG EAST Finals
HAMDEN, Conn. – The two-seeded and No. 18 Old Dominion field hockey team was named the BIG EAST runner-up, as it fell 2-0 to top-seeded and No. 3 Connecticut on Sunday afternoon in the BIG EAST Field Hockey Championship Presented by Jeep.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our team’s effort and commitment,” head coach Andrew Griffiths said after the game. “Connecticut scored twice when we were down a player with a yellow card. To me, that yellow card was clearly the difference in the game. It’s very disappointing when a season of effort, sacrifice and commitment can come down to one decision. Nevertheless, I love what our team is all about, and how they played and fought together.”
The difference in the game came when UConn’s Svea Boker, the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year and the eventual Most Outstanding Player of the tournament, scored two goals within one minute and 15 seconds of each other in the third quarter.
While UConn held a player-up advantage, Boker beat Monarch goalkeeper Cam MacGillivray to open the game’s scoring midway through the second half at the 37-minute mark. The Huskies offense took the ball down the field almost immediately after the ensuing pass-back, as Boker deposited a second goal into the ODU net just 75 seconds later, giving UConn a 2-0 lead.
The Monarchs took six shots in the second half, but none of them made it passed UConn goalkeeper and BIG EAST Co-Defensive Player of the Year Cheyanne Sprecher, as she held off a late offensive push from the Monarchs to earn the shutout. The win gives UConn it’s eighth-consecutive BIG EAST title.
MacGillivray collected six saves in the effort, while the Huskies offense peppered 12 shots her way.
Overall, the Huskies held a 12-6 shot advantage over ODU, taking five penalty corners to the Monarchs’ three. Sophomore Riley Taylor led the Monarchs with three shots on the day, all of which came on goal.
The Monarch defensive unit played well the entire tournament, and the conference officials recognized its efforts, naming MacGillivray and defensive backs Rebecca Birch, Marlee McClendon and Nicole Fredricks to the BIG EAST All-Tournament Team.
The Monarchs’ season may not be over just yet, as the NCAA Division I Field Hockey Selection Show will air tonight at 10:00 p.m. 18 teams will be selected to the 2019 championship bracket, including 10 automatic qualifiers via conference championship. The remaining eight participants will be selected at large based on criteria including won-lost record, strength of schedule, RPI, head-to-head competition and additional factors. Fans can tune into the selection show on NCAA.com.
“We played an excellent game, we were on the front foot and aggressive through its entirety,” Griffiths went on to say. “Connecticut could not get out of their backfield comfortably and we had the better game in terms of territory and having them on their back foot. I expect we will have another opportunity to keep playing in the NCAA Tournament, and we will be watching for the announcement on our plane ride home tonight.”