UConn was able to remain perfect this weekend after surviving a 3-2 thriller against No. 9 Stanford before trouncing California 10-0.
The Huskies jumped out to a 2-0 lead against Stanford, courtesy of two Sophie Bowden goals. Twice, Bowden was able to collect a rebound opportunity and beat Stanford goalkeeper Dulcie Davis.
Stanford was able to draw even in the second half after two successful penalty corner opportunities. After being held to one shot in the first half, Stanford started to show why came into Friday’s game as a top 10 team in the nation.
“They probably weren’t happy with the way they played in the first half,” head coach Nancy Stevens said. “They had one shot and no penalty corners. So you’re losing 2-0… Hey, you better come out and start playing.”
Charlotte Veitner provided the game winner but it was the efforts of midfielder Roisin Upton that allowed the play to develop further.
Stanford tried to get an offensive rush going but Upton showed tremendous defensive awareness and intercepted a pass. Upton was met by a mass of red jerseys in the offensive zone but somehow worked her way into position to find a streaking Veitner. Veitner was able to lift the ball to the back of the net and put to rest any hopes of a Cardinal upset.
“[Veitner] is a special finisher for us,” Stevens said. “But [Upton] set the whole thing up.”
While Friday’s game was close to the very end, Sunday’s outcome was never in doubt.
UConn outshot California 29-2 and dropped 10 goals on the Golden Bears to push their record to 9-0 on the season.
California was fresh off two victories against ranked opponents but was dominated by the Huskies on both sides of the field.
Veitner tallied her fourth hat trick of the season but none of her three goals were sweeter than her first. Veitner received a pass from Roisin Upton in stride and executed a deke that left goalkeeper Kori Griswold sprawled on the turf and the goal unprotected.
UConn’s penalty corner execution was particularly strong on Sunday, as California’s defense seemed to have no answer for it.
“It’s really early to think about postseason, but once you get into the postseason, often times the corner goals will win you championships,” Stevens said.
Seven different players contributed goals for UConn and the starters were able to take a well-deserved breather on the sidelines as the clock wound down.
UConn’s defense was once again in elite form. UConn goalkeeper Nina Klein was only required to make one save on the day. California became the fifth team to be shutout by the Huskies defense this year.
“It was just our day,” Stevens said of the victory. “[California] came in here with two signature wins and for us to win 10-0… that was just unexpected.”
UConn will next welcome Villanova to Storrs next Saturday as the Huskies open Big East play.
Bryan Lambert is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.