Nov. 4, 2011
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - -
The fourth-seeded University of Louisville field hockey team jumped to a 2-0 lead, but could not hold on as top-seeded and fourth-ranked Connecticut (17-1) scored three unanswered goals to win 3-2 in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Conference Championship.
"Today we competed," said U of L head coach Justine Sowry. "We played our hearts out and left it all out on the field. We put in phenomenal effort. We had our opportunities and absorbed a lot of pressure and I cannot fault our team at all. I'm especially proud of our three seniors, Hayley Turner, Heather Stevens and Caitlin Collins, who have been great representatives and great leaders for my first year here at Louisville. They've really built a foundation and a springboard for the future."
The Cards (10-9) jumped on the scoreboard just 2:21 into the game when they were awarded the first penalty corner of the game. Freshman Mallory Mason sent a feed to the left side of the cage where senior BIG EAST Co-Offensive Player of the Year Hayley Turner connected on her team-best 11th goal of the season.
Louisville added to that lead eight minutes later. Sophomore Erin Schneidtmiller sent a cross from right side of the cage to sophomore Elizabeth Vance who was waiting on the left post to notch her seventh goal of the season and giving the Cards a 2-0 lead at the 10:26 mark in the game.
After a UConn timeout, the Huskies quickly earned a corner during which Jestine Angelini connected with assists from Kim Krzyk and Allison Angulo to cut the lead to 2-1 at the 12:19 mark in the game.
The Huskies continued to apply offensive pressure, firing off three more shots on goal in the half. Louisville goalkeeper junior Erin Conrad turned back all three, including two in the final minute of the half to keep the Cards up 2-1 going into the break. UConn held a 2-1 edge in corners and outshot the Cards 6-2 in the first half with Conrad posting five saves.
Connecticut carried the offensive momentum into the second half, drawing an early corner. Anne Jeute converted an assist from Angelini to even the score at 2-2 just seven minutes into the half.
The Cards had a chance to regain the lead, but could not capitalize on a penalty corner opportunity midway through the half.
The Louisville defense withstood more pressure as the Huskies fired off four more shots before Cara Silverman deflected a shot from Ali Blankmeyer to pull her team ahead 3-2 with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game.
It seemed as though the Cards would have one final scoring opportunity as they worked their way to their offensive 25 in the final two minutes of the game, but the Connecticut defense stood strong to preserve the win.
The Huskies outshot the Cardinals 14-2 in the game and held a 4-2 edge in corners. Conrad (10-9) collected nine saves in the contest.
Louisville finishes the season with a 10-9 record and a 3-3 mark in league play. They made their seventh straight appearance in the BIG EAST Conference Championship and placed five players on the all-league team, including: seniors Caitlin Collins and Hayley Turner, junior Erin Conrad and freshmen Dominique Pasqualichio and Alyssa Voelmle.