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Univ. of Delaware crowned NCAA nat'l champs in field hockey


The University of Delaware field hockey team is bringing a national title back to Newark.

The 8th ranked Blue Hens are NCAA Division I field hockey champs after edging 4th ranked North Carolina 3-2 in Norfolk, Virginia.

"Wow, what a beautiful job they did again. Cinderella, not Cinderella, 2016 is the year for the Blue Hens," said head coach Rolf van de Kerkhof.  " We knew it from the get-go. We don’t want to be arrogant, but we believed in ourselves when some other people didn’t. We just said ‘us against the world’ and we have grown because of it.

Greta Nauck tapped home the game-winning goal with just under six minutes left to play, handing UD its first NCAA field hockey title in its first championship game appearance.

The decisive goal was one of two Nauck scored on the day.

"We just won the National Championship.  I can’t describe this.  It’s a good feeling; it’s just amazing. We love to prove people wrong.  That’s what we did today, that’s what we’ve done the past few weeks. And Delaware isn’t an underdog anymore," said Nauck.

The Hens jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half, but UNC rallied with a pair of second half goals – including the equalizer with seven and a half minutes remaining.  But Nauck struck back 90 seconds later to put UD back in front to stay.

The Blue Hens also got great goaltending from Emmeline Oltmans, who made 7 saves in the victory.

UD won its last 19 games to complete its championship season with a 23-2 record. That 19 game win streak is team-record.

The NCAA title is the first for a Blue Hen squad since the football team won the Div. I-AA national championship in 2003.  The only other sport the Hens have won a NCAA championship in is women’s lacrosse.  That came in 1983.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for nearly three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.
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