Field Hockey: UConn looks to remain perfect, renew UMass rivalry

UConn sophomore forward Charlotte Veitner protects the ball during the Huskies' game against Princeton at the Sherman Family Sports Complex on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015. (Jason Jiang/The Daily Campus)

With just two games remaining in the regular season, No. 2 UConn field hockey is on the cusp of a perfect regular season.

The Huskies hold a 17-0 record and have outscored their opponents by a 104-6 margin this year.

The numbers are astounding but head coach Nancy Stevens keeps the team grounded.

“We do not talk about our record,” Stevens said. “Our focus is on the next game.”

After a 4-1 win over No. 20 Princeton on Sunday, the focus shifted quickly to Wednesday as the UMass Minutewomen comes to Storrs for a 4 p.m. matchup.

A familiar face will be on UMass’ sidelines for the Huskies regular season home finale.

Sarah Mansfield, now a UMass assistant coach, was part of the reason behind UConn’s first national title in 28 years.

Mansfield won a championship in net as she helped the Huskies capture the national title in 2013 before graduating in 2013.

“Sarah was UConn field hockey’s first four-time All American,” Stevens said. “ We are so happy Sarah has continued with field hockey as her career and look forward to welcoming her back to campus.”

Her replacement, Nina Klein, is in the midst of a stellar season of her own. Klein enters Wednesday’s game with a .30 goals-against average and .881 save percentage.

“She learned a great deal playing behind Sarah during her freshman year and has now developed into one of the top goalkeepers in the country,” Stevens said. “She brings a calm and steady influence to our defensive unit and always steps up to play well in the most important games of the season.”

UMass is fighting to finish their season over .500, but is fresh off a 5-0 win over La Salle.

The Minutewomen are led by Izzie Delario, the quarterback of UMass’ offense, her 19 points are a team high.

UConn will counter with an offensive juggernaut of their own. Sophmore Charlotte Veitner was named Big East Offensive Player of the Week for the seventh time this season after her two goals and six assists this past weekend.

Veitner is well within reach of an 80-point season as she has racked up 77 points going into Wednesday’s matchup.

Though they don’t share the same conference, UConn and UMass are far from strangers.

This is the 40th year that the two programs have met. UConn has prevailed in their last four meetings with their regional rivals, including a 2-0 win last season.

“UMass has played very well against the top teams on their schedule and we expect a close contest,” Stevens said. “UMass has a lot of talent on the field, but we match up well with them.”

UMass and UConn are set to get underway at 4 p.m. at the George J. Sherman Family Sports complex.


Bryan Lambert is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at bryan.lambert@uconn.edu.