No. 1 UConn pulled away from Liberty in the second half for a 3-0 triumph, Saturday afternoon at the Liberty Field Hockey Field.
With the defeat, Liberty (5-8) moves to 3-2 in the BIG EAST, while Connecticut (14-0) remains unbeaten and improves to 5-0 in conference play.
UConn senior Charlotte Veitner delivered what proved to be the game-winning goal in the 27th minute, her 20th goal of 2017. The Germany native scored on a fastbreak opportunity, taking a feed from Amanda Collins and ripping a backhanded shot from the top of the circle. The ball rocketed past Lady Flames goalkeeper Allison Schafer to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead at 26:48.
Liberty's best scoring chances of the afternoon came shortly after Veitner's tally. In the 31st minute, freshman midfielder Jill Bolton blasted a shot, but UConn netminder Nina Klein made the save. Bolton's next shot attempt at 31:00 sailed high, and Agueda Moroni's shot in the 34th minute was also saved by Klein.
Klein (14-0) made three saves on the afternoon, all coming in the first half. Schaefer (5-8) equaled a season high with nine saves for the Lady Flames.
UConn led Liberty, 1-0, at the break, holding advantages in shots (10-5) and penalty corners (4-0).
The Huskies continued to apply pressure in the early stages of the second half, but Schaefer kept it a one-goal game with two saves on Veitner shots in the 42nd minute and saves on Casey Umstead shots in the 43rd and 47th minutes. Liberty's lone scoring chance in the first 15 minutes of the second half came in the first two minutes of the half, a Moroni shot that floated high over the crossbar.
Connecticut seized a 2-0 lead in the 51st minute with a goal from Margot van Hecking Colenbrander. The freshman defender took a feed from stick stopper Antonia Tiedtke and inserter Svea Boker and buried her 13th goal of the year on a forehanded shot from the left side of the circle.
The Huskies increased their lead to three goals, as Jessica Dembrowski tallied the final goal of the day for the visitors at 59:17. Dembrowski dribbled from the top of the arc and found space on the right side, sending a forehanded strike into the left side of the goal. The freshman midfielder's fifth goal of the year provided a 3-0 lead for the Huskies.
Liberty drew its only short corner of the day with about 30 seconds to play in the match. The Lady Flames executed the corner with 0s on the clock.
Liberty sophomore defender Mallory Fortenbaugh, the inserter for the corner, missed just wide left of the cage on a pass from Moroni, ending the contest.
Connecticut outshot, Liberty, 19-7, on the afternoon, with Veitner leading the charge (five shots). Moroni paced the Lady Flames with three shots (one on goal). UConn dominated in penalty corners won, 9-1.
The victory marked the 22nd straight BIG EAST win for the Huskies. UConn leads the conference at 5-0, followed by Providence (4-1). Liberty and Old Dominion share third place at 3-2.
Liberty's four-game homestand continues next weekend with a pair of games against Providence (Friday, 4 p.m.) and Duke (Sunday, 1 p.m.). Friday's match against Providence (9-5, 4-1 BIG EAST) will be a crucial BIG EAST showdown, while Sunday's match against Duke is Senior Day for the Lady Flames field hockey program.
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