Field Hockey: No. 4 UConn looks for fifth straight Big East championship

UConn forward Charlotte Veitner, two-time Big East offensive player of the year, winds up for a shot in the Huskies' 5-1 victory over Quinnipiac on Friday Oct. 28, 2016. (Tyler Benton/The Daily Campus)

This weekend, the No. 4 UConn field hockey team will look to build on their undefeated record in Big East play. The Huskies (18-1, 7-0 Big East) will have to win two more games to be named Big East Tournament champions for the fifth consecutive year and secure an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

Ranked No. 1 in the tournament, UConn will play No. 4 seed and tournament host Temple on Friday at 1 p.m.

When the two teams met earlier this season in Storrs, the Huskies beat the Owls 6-0 behind a hat trick from junior forward Charlotte Veitner. UConn has played Temple in each of the last two Big East Tournaments, winning both times on their way to championships.

Despite the Huskies’ dominance in conference play during the regular season, UConn head coach Nancy Stevens knows that everything changes in the postseason.

“It’s never easy. The conference championship is a new season,” Stevens said. “It doesn’t matter what your record was. Although we were undefeated in the regular season, you go into the conference championship and everyone is 0-0.”

Temple (7-11, 3-4 Big East) has had much more success at home than on the road this season. The Owls are 6-5 at Howarth Field, the site of the Big East Tournament games, including an undefeated record in their final five home games.

Junior midfielder Rachel Mueller leads the Temple offense with 10 goals this season while redshirt junior forward Sarah Keer has recorded a team-high six assists. As a team, the Owls have been outscored 60-31.

UConn comes into the weekend fresh off of a thrilling 4-3 overtime win over No. 11 Boston College. After suffering their first loss of the season two weeks ago, the Huskies regained some momentum heading into postseason play.

The Huskies will look to convert on more penalty corners this weekend to have success. Over the season, UConn has earned 129 penalty corners while allowing only 56 to their opponents.

“I think corner execution often times in the postseason is a determining factor in winning,” Stevens said. “So that has to be a point of emphasis. I really feel that we should be scoring more on the attack corner… so we definitely need to focus on that.”

If the Huskies were to win on Friday afternoon, they would face off against the winner of No. 2 Liberty vs. No. 3 Providence in the championship game on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.


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