For any team besides the UConn women’s basketball team, beginning the season with four straight ranked opponents would be nearly unheard of, and that’s ambitious even for Geno’s squad. But for Nancy Stevens and the field hockey team, it comes with the territory.
After opening the season with a pair of road wins against No. 15 Northwestern and No. 21 Stanford, the Huskies make their home debut this weekend, taking on No. 19 Rutgers on Friday and No. 6 Harvard on Sunday.
UConn (2-0), currently ranked No. 4 in the country, could play a fifth-straight ranked opponent next weekend, as long as No. 7 Michigan doesn’t drop out of the rankings. First, the Huskies have to worry about this weekend’s challenge.
Rutgers (2-0) comes to town on Friday for its first road test of the season. The Scarlet Knights already have a top-25 win under their belt, dominating No. 24 Maine in their season opener, 3-0, before defeating Ball State, 4-1, last Saturday. Redshirt senior Austyn Cuneo has gotten off to a fast start, tallying three goals and two assists through two games.
The Huskies and Knights are well-acquainted, as UConn eliminated then-No. 11 Rutgers from the NCAA tournament last season, dropping a 5-0 shutout in the first round. That likely means the Knights will play with extra passion this weekend, offering a tough home opener for the Huskies.
On Sunday afternoon, the Huskies square off against Harvard (2-0), a team who has yet to play a game this season. The Crimson will make their season debut at No. 22 Albany on Friday night before traveling to Storrs for Sunday’s game. Harvard is the reigning Ivy League champion with a sizable number of returning players, including Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year Bente van Vlijmen.
UConn last played Harvard in 2017 when the Huskies did not lose a single game, defeating the Crimson 3-1 in Cambridge.
For the Huskies, senior Svea Boker and freshman Marie Auer each have two goals to lead the team, while redshirt sophomore Cheyenne Sprecher has accumulated seven saves and a .700 save percentage. On Wednesday, senior Antonia Tiedtke was named the NFHCA National Defensive Player of the Week, adding a goal and two assists while helping hold opponents to just 13 total shots in the two games.
Friday’s game against Rutgers begins at 6 p.m. and Sunday’s match against Harvard will begin at 1 p.m. Both games will be played at the Sherman Complex on campus and will be streamed on Huskies All-Access.
Andrew Morrison is the sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.