The Huskies women’s field hockey team traveled to the West Coast this weekend for their first two games of the regular season, facing off against Stanford on Friday night, and Pacific University on Sunday evening. After losing in the semifinals last year to the future champion, Syracuse, UConn women’s field hockey entered the season ranked No. 3 in the NFHCA Preseason Poll.
The Huskies (2-0) won both games on the road trip, a great start to the season for the team unanimously voted by coaches to win the Big East. Stanford was ranked No. 11 in the pre-season poll, and Pacific was just outside the top 20, receiving the fourth most points of unranked schools. The wins over tough competitors were important for UConn as the Huskies try to build on last year’s 22-1 season, which culminated in a loss in the semifinals.
On Friday, UConn battled with a tough Stanford team. Eight minutes into the game, senior Charlotte Veitner put the Huskies on top with a shot over the Stanford goalie’s shoulder. Veitner led all of Division I last year in goals per game (1.70) as well as points per game (4.30), and was voted the Big East Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.
The score remained 1-0 UConn at halftime. With under 15 minutes to play in the game, Stanford’s Jessica Welch scored on a penalty corner to tie the game at 1-1. Stanford’s goalie made four saves in the second half to keep the Cardinal within striking distance.
With under two minutes left, UConn senior Monica Fleming scored the go-ahead goal on a penalty corner, assisted by junior Casey Umstead. UConn would go on to win the game by the score of 2-1. The Huskies’ defense was stifling, holding the Cardinal to just one shot in the game, while on the offensive end, UConn fired 14 shots. The Huskies also dominated penalty corners, taking eight to Stanford’s one.
Coming off the thrilling win at Stanford, the Huskies had to refocus for another tough matchup with Pacific on Sunday. UConn came out strong, with three goals on eight shots in the first half, including two goals from sophomore Amanda Collins.
UConn didn’t look back, and went on to win the game 5-2. The Huskies’ offense was strong, finishing the game with a 16-8 advantage in shots and 10-3 advantage in penalty corners. Senior midfielder Anna Middendorf scored two goals on a game-high six shots, including five shots on goal for the Huskies.
UConn will look to carry the momentum into their home opener against Drexel on Sunday at noon.
Josh Buser is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.