UConn Field Hockey Coach Nancy Stevens landed a gem when she recruited German Jennifer Kleinhans. A rock steady, intelligent player that added instant credibility to an already good defensive core. She would take it up a notch or two. As Coach Stevens once described her, " she lifts the level of play at every practice. Her expectations far exceed expectations by coaches voting for conference players." when it came to voting for All Americans...
Highly decorated coming out of school in Germany where she led her teams to great success, she moved to Florida where she played two years at Cypress Creek H.S. in Orlando...not only was she a solid player, she excelled in the classroom as well. Receiving the Principal's Tribute for Outstanding Academic Achievement twice....Her major ? Biomedical Engineering.
When she arrived in Storrs, she was the lone Freshman to start all 23 games and immediately became the leader of the defensive unit as she was named Big East Defensive Player of the Week in the season's second week of 2005. Not to mention finding the back of the net on occasion. Five Goals and Three assists...Scoring against Northeastern, Providence and a pair against Villanova. For her play on the field and keying the top defensive unit, Kleinhans was the only freshman to be named All Big East First Team..the Huskies won the Big East Tournament with overtime wins over Louisville and Villanova before beating B.C. 3-2 in the NCAA's then losing to Duke 3-2 in OT in the Quarter-Finals..
While Lizzy Peijs was leading the offense heading into 2006, Kleinhans continued to anchor the "D" as UConn would lead the Big East and finish 4th Nationally in goals allowed....In a 21-4 campaign for UConn, Kleinhans scored 5 goals and recorded 7 assists in year two...A game winner against Michigan, 3 assists against Sacred Heart and goals against UMass and Georgetown. Kleinhans earning the first of her Big East Defensive Player of the Year Honors and was named NFHCA First Team All American in helping UConn reach the National Semi-Finals against Maryland. Where Jennifer scored UConn's lone goal in a 2-1 loss on penalty strokes...The Huskies allowing just one goal in three games in the NCAA's.
The defense was just as good in 2007 as the Huskies again won the Big East Tournament in posting a 22-3 record and reaching the National Semi's....The Huskies again #1 in the league in goals allowed and 8th nationally at 1.16 per game and 8 shutouts...But Kleinhans had another solid year scoring as well. As three of her 5 goals were game winners against Yale, Rutgers and B.U. in the NCAA's that sent the Huskies to their second straight Final Four where top ranked North Carolina would get the better of them in the Semi's. Kleinhans becoming the First UConn Player to be named a 2x Big East Defensive Player of the Year along with 2nd Team NFHCA All American Honors..
2008 would be another solid year teamwise for UConn at 17-4, but no Big East Crown this time as Syracuse was better on both ends. UConn 2nd in the Conference allowing 23 goals with 6 shutouts...However Kleinhans took an unheard of third straight Big East Defensive Player of the Year Honor...Offensively she had a career high in points with 14 (2g-10a) And in the NCAA's, Duke handed the Huskies a 1-0 loss in the opening round to end UConn's season. Not before Kleinhans gaining a second NFHCA First Team All American Honor.
In all, Jennifer Kleinhans a 4x Time First Team All Big East and Big East All Academic Team Member, a 3x Defensive Player of the Year, 3x All Region Team, 2nd Team All American in 2007 and a 2x First Team All American in 2006 and 2008. In 2009, Jennifer earned the Conferences Scholar Athlete of the Year.. According to the 2019 UConn Field Hockey Media Guide, Jennifer Kleinhans is working on her Doctorate in Biomedical Engineering...Congrats to her !!
Jennifer Kleinhans, the rock of the Huskies Defense from 2005-08, a 3x All American and a UConn Legend