Six players combined for seven goals in No.4 UConn’s 7-0 rout of No. 14 Northwestern on Sunday.
Northwestern seemed to be fighting an uphill battle for most of the game, even before UConn scored their first goal, a well-placed shot by Amelia Iacobucci she collected off a rebound and fired past Northwestern goalkeeper Annie Kalfas.
Amanda Collins joined her on the score sheet a few moments later when she lifted the ball over a sprawled Kalfas for her first goal of the season.
Northwestern head coach Tracy Fuchs immediately called a timeout to collect her team and inserted three substitutions. Fuchs was willing to reach for her bench throughout the game, keeping a steady rotation of fresh legs on the field.
UConn head coach Nancy Stevens believed Fuchs’s reliance on her bench was a consequence of the Wildcats’s schedule.
“I think it was because they had to play back-to-back. We played Friday-Sunday which is a huge advantage. They had to play Saturday-Sunday. It’s hard to go back-to-back,” said Stevens.
With under a minute left in the first half, the Huskies were able to draw a penalty corner that was taken by Charlotte Veitner. The ball ricocheted off a handful of sticks before finding Margot van Hecking Colebrander. The freshman finished in front with a backhanded shot that Kalfas was half a step late in reaching. It was van Hecking Colebrander’s second goal in as many career games.
Stevens says that van Hecking Colebrander’s production is unique not only for age but also her for position.
“The irony is that she’s the deepest defender in the field… We bring her up on the attack penalty corner and she has the opportunity to score on that. We couldn’t be happier,” said Stevens.
Van Hecking Colebrander is one of 10 newcomers that the Huskies have on their team this year, almost half of their roster. However, most of the freshmen will see limited playing time. Stevens has won two national titles while using, for the most part, a shallow rotation of only two bench players. Stevens says the program does a good job of preparing players to take on an added workload when they come back the next season.
“When you notice that we have five seniors we have to prepare younger players to step in. So we’re not going to depend on all the freshmen this season. They need to be ready for next season,” said Stevens. “The key contributors who are starting are Margot (van Hecking Colebrander) and Jessica (Dembrowski). And then we’ve had freshmen come in and help in a support role but for most of our first year players it’s really about the next year.”
A change in goal wasn’t enough for Northwestern to start a rally as the Huskies tallied four more goals in the second half with Florien Marcussen between the pipes.
The Huskies finished the game with 25-7 advantage in shots and advanced to 2-0 to begin their 2017 campaign.
UConn will be back in action next Sunday when they travel to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan in their first road game of the season.
Bryan Lambert is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at Bryan.Lambert@uconn.edu.