The Huskies (11-0, 3-0 Big East) haven’t played since traveling to Providence last Friday, their longest break this season, leaving them well-rested heading into a busy weekend with Villanova on Friday evening and Dartmouth on Sunday afternoon to begin a four-game homestand.
UConn faced a tough task last Friday, battling the Friars (9-3, 2-1 Big East) for first place in the Big East. In a tightly contested game, junior Casey Umstead scored her 10th goal of the season in the 32nd minute to give the Huskies the lead. Freshman Svea Boker added a goal in the 62nd minute, and UConn won the game 2-0. Goalkeeper Nina Klein had five saves in the game to preserve the shutout, a season-high for the redshirt junior.
Villanova comes to Storrs with a 3-9 record, 0-3 in Big East play. However, the Wildcats have won three of their last five games, outscoring their opponents 18-11 during that stretch. More recently, Villanova is coming off of a 7-0 victory over LIU Brooklyn.
The Wildcat offense is led by Junior Francesca Bello, who has recorded seven goals and five assists on the season. When UConn played Villanova last year, a game also played in Storrs, the Huskies won 10-0.
Dartmouth comes into the weekend on a three-game losing streak. Freshman Carmen Braceras leads the team with five goals. The Big Green (3-6) host conference rival Penn on Friday before traveling to Storrs. Dartmouth has not beaten UConn in the 20-game history between the schools.
Despite being heavily favored in both games this weekend, the Huskies will once again have to defend the best efforts from their competitors trying to beat the No. 1 team in the country. UConn head coach Nancy Stevens knows that her team can’t slip up.
“In some ways, it’s a bit like a horse race where they handicap the best runners by putting more weight in the saddle,” Stevens said. “When you have that high ranking, you get everybody’s very best game. So we just have to be ready for that.”
For UConn, Charlotte Veitner will try to build on her recent success. She recorded an assist against Providence, bringing her total to nine on the season and a tie for the team lead with sophomore Amanda Collins. Veitner is also just four assists away from the UConn career record of 46 assists, and she still has another season of eligibility to reach it.
Friday’s game begins at 6 p.m. and Sunday’s game will begin at noon. Both games will be played at the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex in Storrs.
Josh Buser is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.