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No. 1 Seed UConn Edges No. 2 Seed Liberty 5-3 in BIG EAST Championship Title Game

November 4, 2018  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty finished as the runner-up at the 2018 BIG EAST Field Hockey Championship.

Liberty finished as the runner-up at the 2018 BIG EAST Field Hockey Championship.

The No. 1 seed Connecticut Huskies edged the No. 2 seed Liberty Lady Flames 5-3 in a back-and-forth BIG EAST Championship title game for their seventh straight BIG EAST crown, Sunday afternoon at the Liberty Field Hockey Field.

UConn, the fourth-ranked team in the nation, broke a 3-3 tie in the second half with two goals to pull away from Liberty. The Huskies are now 18-3 and have won their last six contests. With the win, UConn earns an automatic bid to the 2018 NCAA Division I Field Hockey Championship.

No. 15 Liberty falls to 13-6 with the setback. The Lady Flames have played in each of the last three BIG EAST Championship title games.

Scoring Summary
1' – UCONN – Amanda Collins (unassisted)
12' – LIBERTY – Agueda Moroni (Kendra Jones, Mallory Fortenbaugh) | Penalty Corner
17' – UCONN – Amelia Iacobucci (Abby Gooderham) | Penalty Corner
32' – LIBERTY – Mallory Fortenbaugh (Agueda Moroni) | Penalty Corner
34' – UCONN – Antonia Tiedtke (unassisted)
45' – LIBERTY – Moniek van Aarle (Agueda Moroni) | Penalty Corner
46' – UCONN – Svea Boker (Jessica Dembrowski)
47' – UCONN – Vivienne Tucker (unassisted)

W: Cheyenne Sprecher 18-3, five saves
L: Allison Schaefer 13-6, nine saves

Turning Point
Early in the second half, Liberty knotted the game up at 3-3 following a goal from van Aarle on a short corner at the 44:01 mark.

However, UConn responded in emphatic fashion, scoring two goals in a 55-second span shortly after van Aarle's equalizer. Huskies junior Svea Boker scored her 17th goal of the year on a cross from sophomore Jessica Dembrowski to make it 4-3 UConn at the 45:16 mark. Less than a minute later, the Huskies entered the circle again. Following two shots on cage from the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, redshirt senior Cecile Pieper, sophomore Vivienne Tucker tallied a goal on a rebound effort.

Tucker's fourth goal of the season boosted the Huskies' lead to 5-3. The Lady Flames' final penalty corner and best chance to cut into the lead came with less than nine minutes to play on a short corner, but they failed to get within one.

Key Stats & Notes

  • The Lady Flames placed four players on the BIG EAST All-Tournament team: senior Agueda Moroni, sophomore Ashley Dykema, senior Moniek van Aarle and sophomore Jill Bolton. Moroni led Liberty with five points in the championship (1 g, 3 a), while van Aarle scored two goals. Bolton notched two assists in the tournament, and Dykema was a key factor in Liberty's 4-0 shutout of Providence on Friday.  
  • Senior Agueda Moroni set three new program records in Sunday's game – career goals (55) career points (135) and single-season assists (14). The Argentina native's goal at the 11:32 mark was the 55th of her storied career, setting a new benchmark. Moroni's four-point game also allowed her to set a new program record for career points. She surpassed Natalie Barr (2012-15) in both categories. Barr held the previous program marks of 54 goals and 134 points. Moroni's two assists on Sunday put her ahead of Bethany Barr (12 assists in both 2013 and 2016) for the most in one year in school history.
  • Moroni has 26 goals, 14 assists and 66 points in 19 games, this year.  
  • Junior goalkeeper Allison Schaefer's first save on Sunday was the 300th of her career. The Millersville, Pa., native made nine stops on the day and now has 308 in three seasons with the Lady Flames.
  • Liberty has appeared in six conference title games (three BIG EAST, three NorPac) in eight years of the program's existence.
  • UConn finished the game with a 25-14 advantage in shots. Liberty won the penalty corner battle 8-6 and drew five in the first half. The Lady Flames scored on three short corners in the match.
  • The three goals the Lady Flames scored are the most they have ever scored in a game against Connecticut. The Huskies are 6-0 all-time against Liberty.
  • Junior Mallory Fortenbaugh and redshirt sophomore Kendra Jones each had assists on Sunday. Fortenbaugh has 11 this season, tied for the fourth most in a year in program history. Jones has 10 helpers on the year, the seventh-highest total in a season in school history.
  • Liberty scored seven goals in two BIG EAST Tournament games. The Lady Flames featured six different goal scorers in those contests.
  • Liberty is now 3-3 (.500) all-time at the BIG EAST Championship.

All-Tournament Team
Cecile Pieper, Connecticut
Cheyenne Sprecher, Connecticut
Amanda Collins, Connecticut
Svea Boker, Connecticut
Amelia Iacabucci, Connecticut
Agueda Moroni, Liberty
Ashley Dykema, Liberty
Moniek van Aarle, Liberty
Jill Bolton, Liberty
Mary O'Reilly, Providence
Abby Siana, Villanova

Most Outstanding Player – Ceciile Pieper, Connecticut

Up Next
The Lady Flames will now wait to see if they will receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Field Hockey Championship. The NCAA Selection show will air Sunday night at 10 p.m. on the homepage, where the tournament bracket will be unveiled.

Two tournament play-in games will be contested on Wednesday, while the first and second rounds of the championships will be held on Friday and Sunday of next week.