Field Hockey: No. 1 UConn prepares for top-five matchup

UConn took on Liberty University on Saturday Oct. 15,2016 and won 7-2.  This weekend they will take on Georgetown and Maryland.  (Tyler Benton/ The Daily Campus)

With four games remaining in the regular season, the No. 1 UConn field hockey team will go on the road for two crucial games this weekend. The Huskies (15-0, 5-0 Big East) head to Washington D.C. to play Georgetown on Friday before heading to College Park to take on No. 5 Maryland on Sunday.

The game against Georgetown will be UConn’s last Big East game of the season. Head coach Nancy Stevens and her team can clinch the Big East Regular season title outright with a win, but risk a possible co-champions situation if they were to lose.

“We have 30 Big East trophies and we’d love to have 32 at the end of the season,” Stevens said. “We’re not good at sharing. Our goal is always to win the conference regular season, to win the conference championship tournament and then to advance into the NCAA tournament as far as we can.”

The Hoyas come into the weekend with a 4-10 record, sitting in last place in the Big East at 0-5. However, in their last game, Georgetown took Providence to overtime before losing 3-2. The Friars are in second place in the Big East at 4-1 and, when UConn played them earlier this season, the Huskies won by just two goals.

Georgetown has been outscored by opponents 52-24 this season. Leading the offensive attack is sophomore Helena Masiello, who has scored four goals and recorded one assist. Senior goalkeeper Rachel Skonecki is averaging 9.07 saves per game for the Hoyas, the most in the Big East.

The game will begin at 1 p.m. on Friday at Cooper Field.

UConn will then travel to Maryland for a showdown with the No. 5 Terrapins. The two teams last met in the 2012 NCAA Quarterfinal, where Maryland won 2-1. The Terps hold a 4-1 advantage in the five games played against the Huskies all-time.

“That’s such an exciting matchup for us,” Stevens said. “We’re so glad they’re back on the schedule.”

Maryland (12-3, 6-1 Big Ten) is coming off a huge win on the road against No. 6 Penn State. The Terps won 5-4, extending their winning streak to five.

All three losses for Maryland this season have come against teams that are currently ranked in the top 10. The Terps are also undefeated at home this year, something the Huskies will hope to change on Sunday.

“To play a great ACC team, that’s going to be a fun challenge,” Stevens said.

Leading the Terrapins’ offense is graduate student Welma Luus. Luus has 12 goals and four assists on the season and is part of a Maryland attack that has outscored its opponents 48-27 on the season.

Maryland has six wins over top 15 ranked schools this season, and will try to hand UConn their first loss of the season. Meanwhile, the Huskies have already gathered four victories over teams ranked in the top 20, hoping to defeat their highest ranked opponent of the year.

The game will begin at noon on Sunday at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex.


Josh Buser is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at joshua.buser@uconn.edu.