Field Hockey's First All Americans and UConn's First National Championship

The year was 1981, Title XI was in place and Women's Sports was starting to gain momentum at colleges and universities across the country. Not that they didn't exist. The AIAW was the governing body for many years until the NCAA took overseeing Women's Athletics.

The 1981-82 academic year was the first under the NCAA umbrella and the University of Connecticut's Memorial Stadium, yes the natural grass home of the football team was the chosen site for the first Field Hockey "Final Four." Under Diane Wright, the program was successful. Six straight winning seasons and three trips to the AIAW Tournament. The 81' Team lost twice, at national power Old Dominion and to Lock Haven in September...

They finished 9-0-1 over their last 10 games, with the one tie at top ranked UMass to qualify for the tournament where they never left campus. At 12-2-3, the Huskies were the 3rd seed overall in a 6 team field with UMass and Old Dominion getting byes to the Championship weekend. UConn faced Purdue and needed a 2-1 OT win to advance to the Final Four...The two seeded Lady Monarchs awaited the Huskies in the semi's in the second meeting of the season. ODU blaned UConn 4-0 on September 20th in Norfolk. The Huskies would reverse the tables...a 3-0 win to take on Top Seeded UMass for the title the next day.

Led by the programs first two All Americans, Mansfield Depot's own Lorie McCollum and Defender Laurie Decker of New Jersey, the Huskies rolled 4-1 on November to claim the crown. McCollum was the teams leading goal scorer and finished in the Top Ten in scoring when she left. For Decker, it was the first of three First Team All American Honors for her. It would be the first of three straight championship game appearances for the Huskies, losing to Old Dominion both in 1982 and 1983.

Lynn Kotler & Rose Smith joined McCollum and Decker on the All Tournament Team. Kotler is now a State Supreme Court Justice in New York. Appointed to the post in January of 2019...

There would be another title in 1985 for the Huskies where they beat Old Dominion in Norfolk to win the crown. It took 28 years to get another, but UConn Field Hockey was on the map and a regular in the NCAA Tournament..

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