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NORFOLK, Va. - National Champions!

That title belongs to the University of Delaware field hockey team after the No. 8 Blue Hens capped their history-making campaign with a 3-2 win over No. 4 North Carolina to capture their first-ever NCAA field hockey crown.

Delaware, which won its fourth straight CAA title this season, capped an incredible year that saw the Hens win their final 19 games. Delaware outscored its opponents by an astonishing 100-39 margin over the course of the season.

As she has done all year, Blue Hens sophomore Greta Nauck (at left; Krefeld, Germany/Gymnasium am Moltekeplatz) was the difference-maker as the forward scored her second goal of the day with just under six minutes remaining to break the tie and send Delaware to the victory at Old Dominion's L.R. Hill Complex.

In just her second season in the Hens royal blue and yellow, Nauck became the ninth player in program history to surpass 100 career points and completes the season with 103 total points on 44 goals and 15 assists.

The Blue Hens jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the Tar Heels (20-6) as Nauck scored just 9:32 into the game and senior Meghan Winesett (below right; Centreville, Va./Westfield) tallied with 5:11 left in the stanza. 

North Carolina struck early in the second half, pulling to within 2-1 on a goal by Lauren Moyer. UNC then tied it up with less than eight minutes remaining with a tally from Megan DuVernois.

With 5:56 to play, Nauck collected a long pass from the right side from junior Taylor Lister (Hummelstown, Pa./Lower Dauphin) and tipped in the shot for her 33rd goal of the season.

Nauck and Lister joined senior Maura Zarkoski (Eagleville, Pa./Villa Maria) as NCAA All-Tournament Team honorees while junior Emmeline Oltmans (Baarn, The Netherlands/Het Baarnsch Lyceum) was named the Tournament MVP.

Oltmans finished the game with seven saves and in total registered 10 saves this weekend.

Head Coach Rolf van de Kerkhof
“Amazing. I’m so excited for this team, this players group, our staff, our support staff, the whole athletic department and even bigger, the University of Delaware.  I’m very proud to be a part of this. Wow, what a beautiful job they did again. Cinderella, not Cinderella, 2016 is the year for the Blue Hens. 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.

[On fan support]: “This was a championship atmosphere. The stands were full and people were standing. To have our band and spirit squads, what a great ambiance to be a part of and to represent the Blue Hens.”

[On the game MVP]: “Everybody. We fight together, we win together, and we did it again today. We were never in doubt that we would come out here being winners. I’m just so excited for this team. They believed in it and they went for it. Every single day we got better. I’d say 23-2 is pretty good.”

Senior Tri-Captain Meghan Winesett
“It’s a mix of believable, but also unbelievable. I think people undermined us all season and we proved people wrong when we beat Louisville, Duke and Princeton. To come out and beat a six-time champion, it probably won’t hit me for a while, but this has been one of the most amazing days ever. We struggled early in the tournament because we played not to lose, but when we came out against Princeton, we don’t want to be here just to be here.  We got here and we knew we were going to win the National Championship, so we had to go out strong. We played our game today and I think that spoke for itself. We’re very unselfish, the whole team. That’s how we play Delaware Hockey. We trust everybody at all times and that’s what got us the win today.”

Senior Tri-Captain Esmée Peet
“I’m just so happy. This is incredible. I just can’t believe it. The fans that came out today were just amazing. All of these people were here for us, they’re so proud of us. We just play for each other, work hard for each other. That was our goal. We never thought about losing, we were on a roll. Wow, this is just our day, it’s incredible. 

[On motivation to win]: “I think last year [losing to Virginia in OT in first round play] gave us so much motivation. We also know, we’ve experienced finals with the CAA Tournament, you just have to give it all and that’s what we did today.  It’s incredible.”

[On five families traveling overseas for NCAA Championship weekend]: “It means a lot that our families came over.  It also means that they trusted us, they knew we were going to Sunday’s game and that’s unbelievable.  I’m so proud that they’re here.”

Sophomore Greta Nauck
“Again, what just happened. That’s a good question. Yeah, 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.  It doesn’t matter what other people say, it’s what we believe in. And we believed in ourselves the whole season. Our coaches believed in us. Our fans believed in us. Our parents believed in us. That was a big reason why we won today.”
     · The Blue Hens field hockey squad became the first Delaware team to capture a national title since the UD football team won the NCAA FCS crown in 2003.
     · They also become the first UD women's team to claim a national title since the women's lacrosse squad won its third straight national title in 1983.
     · Rolf van de Kerkhof, the CAA Coach of the Year, was the first-ever male to serve as the head coach of a NCAA Field Hockey Championship game at the Division I, II or III level.
     · Delaware won more games this season (23) than any other Blue Hens field hockey squad has played in a single year (22).
     · Esmée Peet finished her four-year career ranked fourth all-time with 120 career points and 48 goals and sixth with 24 assists.
     · Delaware is 8-7 all-time in NCAA Tournament action with appearances in 1982, 1988, 2004, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
     · The Blue Hens are now 2-6 all-time against North Carolina and snapped a six-game losing streak to the Tar Heels since their last win in 1981.

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