(L-R) Liberty Field Hockey Head Coach Nikki Parsley, captains Alynn Richardson, Cassidy Bremner and Rachel Suter and Senior Associate Athletics Director - Academic Affairs Kristie Beitz accepting the second-place trophy on Sunday.
The No. 1 seed UConn Huskies prevailed, 3-0, over the Liberty Lady Flames in the 2017 BIG EAST Field Hockey Championship title game on Sunday at Lennon Family Field.
UConn continues its unbeaten season, improving to 19-0 on the year. The Lady Flames' 2017 season ends at 8-11 overall. UConn receives the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Field Hockey Championship.
Liberty has made appearances in five title games in the program's seven years of existence (three NorPac finals, two BIG EAST finals). The Lady Flames have finished as the runner-up in the BIG EAST in each of their first two seasons in the conference. Connecticut's title is its sixth consecutive BIG EAST crown.
The Huskies scored their three goals before intermission to build a 3-0 advantage. Their goals came from the sticks of Jessica Dembrowski, Casey Umstead and BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Player Amanda Collins.
Dembrowski's penalty corner goal in the third minute proved to be the game-winning goal. The UConn freshman tipped in a feed from Margot van Hecking Collenbrander from the right post for her seventh goal of the season, staking the Huskies to a 1-0 edge at 2:48.
The Lady Flames drew consecutive corners in the eighth and ninth minutes but only managed one shot (Agueda Moroni).
Connecticut struck again at the 13:29 mark. Liberty was called for an infraction inside the circle, setting up a penalty stroke for Umstead. Umstead buried a shot into the left side of the cage, the 14th of the season for the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year, to give the No. 1 Huskies a 2-0 lead.
The second-seeded Lady Flames again responded with two more short corners following UConn's goal. The first attempt saw Abby Julius' shot saved by Huskies netminder Nina Klein. On the second effort, failed to generate a shot.
The Huskies stretched the lead to three goals on Collins' goal in the 25th minute. After Svea Boker carried the ball through the Liberty defense up the right side and neared the circle, she sent a pass that just missed connecting with the outstretched stick of Charlotte Veitner.
However, Collins was behind Veitner, settled the loose ball, and ripped a reverse shot. Collins' rocket scooted off the left pad of Schaefer and rolled into the Liberty net. The junior forward's 11th goal of the year made it 3-0 in favor of UConn at the 24:13 mark.
The Huskies drew more one short corner in the half, while the Lady Flames did not manage a shot over the final 16:33 of the opening stanza. UConn led, 3-0, at the break, with an 8-3 edge in shots. Liberty outcornered the Huskies, 4-3, in the first frame.
Liberty drew four short corners in the second half but could not find the back of the cage. The Lady Flames' final attempt with less than a minute remaining featured a shot by Moroni kicked aside by Klein and a Julius shot that sailed wide. Liberty only managed one shot on frame on the four short corners in the second stanza.
Liberty drew eight corners in the match, compared to just five for UConn. The Huskies outshot the Lady Flames, 8-5.
Klein (19-0) recorded her 11th shutout of the year with a three-save effort. Schaefer (8-11) settled for the loss and made three saves on the afternoon.
Liberty placed three players on the BIG EAST All-Tournament team – Moroni, Jill Bolton and Ashley Dykema. Moroni, a sophomore, tallied a goal, an assist and nine shots in two tournament games. Bolton, a freshman, recorded four shots while playing a steady midfield position for Liberty. Dykema, a freshman, helped the Liberty defense surrender only one goal to Old Dominion on Friday and kept the UConn Huskies below their scoring average (4.95) coming into Sunday's contest.
Most Outstanding Player Amanda Collins, Connecticut All-Tournament Team Danielle Grega, Old Dominion Anouck Vandersteen, Old Dominion Megan Guilbert, Providence Manon van Weezel, Providence Agueda Moroni, Liberty Jill Bolton, Liberty Ashley Dykema, Liberty Casey Umstead, Connecticut Charlotte Veitner, Connecticut Karlie Heistand, Connecticut Amanda Collins, Connecticut