The pressure is on this year for the UConn Field Hockey team as they look to repeat as Division I National Champions. Just a year ago, the Huskies recorded the first undefeated season in school history en route to their third national title in just five years.
2018 marks Head Coach Nancy Stevens 29th year at the helm of the Huskies and her 40th overall as a collegiate head coach. Stevens, the all-time winningest coach in the sport, will look to improve on her 662-181-24 record and .777 career winning percentage as she navigates the Huskies through a difficult 2018 schedule.
UConn’s schedule includes matchups with 12 teams that finished last season ranked in the NFHCA Coaches Top 25 and seven games against opponents who made the 2017 NCAA Tournament. The Huskies will play host eight times at the Sherman Family Complex this fall. UConn will welcome Michigan State (8/31), Michigan (9/2), Quinnipiac (9/15), Temple (9/28), Maryland (9/30), Princeton (10/7), Villanova (10/12) and Liberty (10/18). Expect there to be some extra emphasis and emotion on September 30th when Maryland makes a visit to Storrs. The Terrapins were on the losing end of last year’s national title game by a score of 2-1.
Although the Huskies are returning five starters from last year’s championship squad, they will have to fill in the holes left by the four graduated seniors. Senior forward and team captain Amanda Collins will look to end her collegiate career back-to-back titles. Like last year, this team will have four seniors leading the way, including Collins, forward Aubrie Bleier, forward/midfield Amelia Iacobucci and fifth-year defensive player Cecile Pieper.
In a year where the Huskies were selected to finish first in the BIG EAST Preseason Poll for the ninth consecutive season, Collins was unanimously selected to the 2018 Preseason All-BIG EAST team. In addition, Collins was selected as Preseason Co-Offensive Player of the Year, sharing the honor with Liberty’s Agueda Moroni. Just a year ago, Collins racked up a team-leading 20 assists and averaged 0.83 assists per game, good enough for third best in the country.
Junior forward Svea Boker, a two-year starter for the Huskies, was also selected to the 2018 Preseason All-BIG EAST squad. Boker scored an impressive 9 points (2 goals, 5 assists) in just four conference games a season ago and will look to improve on that mark. Boker also scored 25 goals last season as a part of UConn’s potent offense. The Huskies had the best scoring margin in the nation last year at 3.57 and second in scoring average with 4.24 goals per game.
Kevin Arnold is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.