After a slow start on Sunday afternoon, the No. 3 UConn Huskies field hockey team broke it open in the second half to take care of the Drexel Dragons by a final score of 7-2.
In a day that saw the Huskies outshoot Drexel 34-7, UConn redshirt junior goalie Nina Klein had to make just one save. Head coach Nancy Stevens said she was happy with the way her defense played Sunday.
“What we wanted to focus on was not giving up goals from the field. That means you’ve been opened up or you’re out of position,” said Stevens. “Today we gave up a penalty stroke and a penalty corner goal. The penalty corner was given up when we had our reserve defense in, because we played almost our entire bench… But we didn’t give up any goals from the field. So I’m very pleased with the defense. Very pleased.”
On the other end of the field, six different players found the back of the net to combine for the seven goals on the day. Leading the way was junior Casey Umstead with two goals; freshmen Barbara van den Hoogen and Svea Boker each netted their first collegiate goals. Sophomore Amanda Collins, junior Karlie Heistand and senior Anna Middendorf all added a goal as well.
According to Stevens, having a well-balanced attack like UConn’s can only mean good things to come in the future.
“It becomes difficult to prepare to stop a team like that,” said Stevens. “If you’re playing a team where someone has 30 or 35 goals, if you stop that player than your work is done. When we have six players score, I think that shows our next opponent that we’ll be a difficult team to prevent from scoring.”
With Sunday’s win, the Huskies move to 3-0 on the season, including two wins from a grueling California road trip that included a game against No. 11 Stanford. To some teams, that kind of start would be considered nothing short of amazing. But to Stevens and her team, it’s exactly where they’re supposed to be.
“Last year we were 22-1. It’s a standard of performance we have saddled ourselves with,” admitted Stevens. “It comes with a bit of pressure but usually pressure makes people perform better. So yes, we want to win every single game we play this year.”