UConn Field Hockey will host Pacific this Friday before heading to Boston to take on No.18 Harvard on Sunday.
The No. 2 Huskies are fresh off a 2-1 victory against Michigan last weekend. It was the team’s third straight win, all coming against teams ranked within the top 20 in the coaches poll.
UConn ranks within the top 10 nationally in both goals per game and scoring margin. Senior Casey Umstead is leading the way offensively for the Huskies despite changing positions this season. Umstead’s nine points are a team-high. Amanda Collins and Margot van Hecking Colenbrander are the closest to Umstead’s total with five points apiece.
Head coach Nancy Stevens says that Umstead has put in the work this offseason to make the most out of her senior year.
“She spent a part of her summer training at the U.S. Field Hockey National Training Center as a member of the U.S. Developmental team,” said Stevens. “Casey moved from left striker to left back for us, so she brings superb attacking skills to the back. This provides us with an attacking back which gives our team an additional threat.”
Pacific sits below .500 coming in to Friday’s matchup but both their losses against nationally ranked teams. Stevens believes the Tigers still pose a threat to break out and put good shots on goal if the Huskies aren’t careful. Emma Leach and Krieke van Wky are the two players the Huskies will have to keep close tabs on. The two have combined for 10 points in just the Tigers’ first three games.
“Pacific presents a counter attack threat, so we have addressed that at practices this week,” said Stevens. “Fortunately, we have a very bright group of players who can make adjustments for each game.”
Sunday’s game in Harvard is the first game the Crimson will play at home this year. Three different Harvard players have contributed five points apiece. Goalkeeper Olivia Startup is having a solid start to the season in net. The Crimson have yet to lose a game in which she has played in and her 1.50 goals against average ranks within the top 30 nationally.
With a diverse offense and a solid defense behind it, Harvard is an opponent that is difficult to scheme for on any given day. Having to plan for another team the same weekend only increases that difficulty.
Luckily, Stevens says because both of their opponents this weekend have similar tendencies, they have been able to gameplan for both teams thoroughly.
“Pacific has twelve international players and Harvard has ten international players on their roster,” said Stevens. “Fortunately they play similar styles of hockey, so our preparation this week has been good for both opponents.”
Friday’s game against Pacific will get underway at 6 p.m. at the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex. The Huskies will then head north to help Harvard open up Berylson Field for the first time this season. That game will begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday.