The UConn women’s lacrosse team battled the defending national champions hard in the first half of their game Sunday, but James Madison University was able to pull away with an 11-goal second half to beat the Huskies 18-9.
At the U.S. Lacrosse Headquarters in Sparks Glencoe, Maryland, the Huskies (0-3) dropped their third straight game to open the season while the No. 4 ranked Dukes (2-1) won their second in a row after losing their season opener.
The first half was tightly contested, as both teams traded goals. Both UConn and JMU built two-goal leads but saw them disappear as they went into halftime tied at 7-7.
Head coach Katie Woods said she really liked what she saw from her team in the first half.
“We controlled the energy and momentum and didn’t allow JMU to grab it and run with it,” Woods said. “We were patient on offense and came up with some good stops on defense.”
The second half was all Dukes though, as they scored 10 unanswered goals to open the half and took a commanding 17-7 lead. UConn would get a couple of goals back late, but they were never able to recover and ended up losing by nine.
“They (JMU) hit the reset button at half time and came out harder than they did at the start of the game,” Woods said. “We fatigued a bit and made some unforced errors giving JMU the momentum which made it really hard for us to get into a groove in the second half.”
Despite the loss, several Huskies had big games. Freshman Sydney Watson had a five-point game with four goals and one assist, while another freshman Casey O’Grady recorded her first career points with a goal and two assists. Lexi Kenneally had two goals and an assist, and Olivia Miles and Abby Vetsch each scored one goal. Sophomore goalie Annie Carroll made nine saves in net.
James Madison was led by Hanna Haven and Logan Brennan, who each scored four goals in the win.
As a team, UConn took 22 shots and secured 19 ground balls. They also turned the ball over 22 times, compared to just 16 by the Dukes.
It was really a tale of two halves for the Huskies in this one, as they went punch-for-punch with a top five team in the nation for the first half but could not get anything going in the second. Even still, Woods was happy with the way her team competed against the defending national champions.
“I think we did a really good job with the Husky factors of our game,” Woods said. “We competed hard right away, the players worked extremely hard, and they did it together – backing each other up, talking, going in twos and threes to the 50/50 balls.”
The Huskies will have a week off before they finally return to the Sherman Family Complex to play their home opener against New Hampshire next Sunday at 1 p.m., still looking for that all-important first win.
Danny Barletta is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.