After a weekend on the road, the No .1-ranked UConn field hockey team is back in Storrs for a weekend homestand against Big East foe Providence and cross-state rival Massachusetts.
The Huskies kept their perfect season intact last weekend with a pair of wins over Temple and the defending national champion Delaware.
The Huskies needed overtime to escape Delaware with a win. Senior Charlotte Veitner scored the game’s only goal and the game-winner in the 81st minute to keep the Huskies undefeated.
Head coach Nancy Stevens believes there are several takeaways for the team from the narrow victory.
“Our team was able to compete at the highest level on the road in front of a raucous crowd,” Stevens said. “The atmosphere of the game was terrific and it felt like a postseason matchup. It was our first overtime game this season, which was also a great experience in preparing us for postseason play.”
The next goal that Veitner scores will give her the most in the program’s history. Veitner has been an offensive revelation since she first arrived at UConn. Her 249 career points and 55 assists are also program records. Stevens says that Veitner brings leadership to the team as well as offense.
“She would be the first to give credit to her teammates who pass her the ball,” Stevens said. “Playing on the nation’s top team over the past four years puts players in a position to be successful and [Veitner] has been able to take advantage of that opportunity. She also has done a terrific job helping our younger players [understand] the tactics we employ for each game.”
Providence enters the weekend with a spotless record in Big East play. The Friars are in the midst of a three-game win streak, and if they want to see four, they should hope that their defense gives goalkeeper Megan Guilbert some support. The senior’s .672 save percentage doesn’t rank within the top 50 among Division I schools.
Providence wasn’t able to score a goal in their one trip to Storrs last season. Stevens says there is not a whole lot that changes year-to-year when preparing for conference foes.
“If the team retains the same coach, there is definitely a similar style played by that team from year to year,” Stevens said. “Providence is well-coached, has good talent and will be highly motivated. It will be a great conference game for us.”
UMass relies heavily on forward Sarah Hawkshaw for their offense. The senior from Ireland currently has 14 points and six goals on the season. The Minutewomen also have dependable defense behind them. Goalkeeper Emily Hazard is currently 12th in the nation in goals against average.
The Huskies and Friars will get their Big East showdown underway this Friday at 6 p.m. before UConn wraps up the weekend against UMass at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Both games are at the George J Sherman Family Sports Complex.
Bryan Lambert is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.