The last time the No. 1 UConn field hockey team squared off with the UMass Minutewomen, they narrowly escaped Amherst with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory. It was not the same case this time around in the Huskies’ 8-1 win at the Sherman Sports Complex.
UConn wasted no time getting going Wednesday as their offense scored early in often as sophomore Amanda Collins found the back of the net just eight minutes into the game. It’s an obvious difference from the last matchup with UMass when the Huskies didn’t score until late in the second half.
Head coach Nancy Stevens acknowledged that it’s not always this easy against a strong team like the Minutewomen.
“UMass has a lot of talent,” Stevens said. “They beat Boston College on Sunday who was ranked in the top ten in the country. When we played them in [Amherst] they were sharper, clearly. Today we were just much, much, sharper.”
Charlotte Veitner scored two of her four goals in the first half and Casey Umstead added another as the Huskies went into halftime at 4-1.
UConn would shut out UMass in the second half; Veitner added two more goals for a team-high 16 goals on the season. Freshman Barbara van den Hoogen and sophomore Amelia Iacobucci added the other two goals of the half.
The Huskies tied their season-high record of eight goals in Wednesday’s game. The only other time they reached eight goals was in a game at Virginia, Veitner had six goals in that game. Stevens was pleased with the way her offense played today.
“We were able to score from the field and score from the corner,” Stevens said. “I think we were 50-percent from our penalty corners. That’s a really high percentage. We were very pleased with that performance. Some of the field goals were just spectacular today.”
Earlier this week Stevens and her team reached the number one ranking in the latest NFHCA poll. While it’s an honor, Stevens explained that it doesn’t mean much.
“To be honest, we look at it like a dartboard,” Stevens said. “It’s really not hierarchical. You have the inner circle on the dartboard, which is where we are at the moment, but also North Carolina, Syracuse and Duke. So there’s really no difference, there really isn’t.”
Later on this week, the Huskies will take on conference teams Providence and Villanova. Stevens made sure her team was aware that when you have that high of a ranking, you’ll be sure to get everybody’s best game.
“You saw how strong UMass came out today,” Stevens said. “People get excited to play the number one ranked team, trust me. We have to be ready for that.”