Louisville Field Hockey Defeats UConn, Advances to School-First Final Four

The program will face Michigan in their first ever trip to the NCAA Semifinals.
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(Photo of Louisville Field Hockey Players: University of Louisville Athletics)

Press Release from the University of Louisville:

COLLEGE PARK, Pa. – Senior Alli Bitting’s goal in the first quarter stood as the game-winner as the third-ranked University of Louisville field hockey team defeated No. 6 UConn 1-0 in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Field Hockey Championship Sunday afternoon at Penn State's University Park. With the win, the Cardinals (14-5) advance to the NCAA semifinals for the first time in program history.

Louisville will take on No. 2 Michigan on Friday, May 7 at either 1 p.m. or 4 p.m. in Chapel Hill, N.C. Top-seeded North Carolina and the No. 3 seed Iowa will face off in the other NCAA semifinal. The national championship game will take place on May 9 at 7 p.m. All three games will be televised on ESPN3.

"First of all, hats off to the University of Connecticut and their coaching staff. They're a class program, a storied program and they are very well-coached," said UofL head coach Justine Sowry. "In regards to our performance, to get the win today and get to our first-ever Final Four, I couldn't be more excited and proud of our team."

The game was tightly-contested with each team firing off nine shots and earning seven corners. UConn (12-2) had five shots on goal while Louisville finished with four.

The Cardinals jumped on the scoreboard with under four minutes left in the first quarter. Bitting got the corner started and senior Meghan Schneider provided the stop for Pastor who sent a shot toward the cage and Bitting was there to deflect it past UConn goalkeeper Cheyenne Sprecher.

The Huskies intensified their attack in the second quarter, holding a 6-2 advantage in shots, but Louisville goalkeeper Sam Minrath picked up three saves to hold UConn at bay.

Louisville entered the break with a 1-0 lead despite UConn holding a 6-3 edge in shots and a 3-2 advantage in corners.

The Cardinals gained some momentum in the third quarter, drawing four corners to one for the Huskies and held on to the 1-0 lead.

The Huskies held an advantage in numbers when the fourth quarter when a yellow card was issued to Erica Cooper, forcing the Cardinals to play with 10 on the field for five minutes, but the defense held strong through three UConn penalty corners with Sam Minrath posting a crucial save.

UConn lifted Sprecher in favor of an extra field player for the final 2:46 of the game and began to surge forward in the final minute, but stalwart defense kept the Huskies out of the circle.

Minrath collected five saves in the game as she tallied her third shutout of the season.

"The entire year has been a very long season – two seasons," said Sowry. "We've had some highs and some lows. We've had some tears and certainly a lot of laughter and fun along the way. And to get to this point we are pretty excited and relieved. The team is excited to get another matchup against Michigan, another quality opponent. We're going to celebrate and get back to business tomorrow morning."

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