After four-straight wins to open the season, all against top-ranked opponents, the No. 3 UConn field hockey team suffered its first defeat of the season in a road matchup against the No. 11 Michigan Wolverines Friday night. Fortunately, the Huskies were able to salvage their weekend trip with a win over Michigan State on Sunday.
The Huskies (5-1) have only trailed in a game once this season (2-0 against Stanford) before Friday. The Wolverines (3-2) pounced on the scoreboard, scoring a goal at the 20-minute mark and another just over eight minutes later to take a commanding two-goal lead into the half.
Senior Svea Boker embraced the “comeback kids” mindset, scoring UConn’s first goal of the day almost eight minutes into the third quarter. The senior forward snuck a reverse chip shot up high for her third goal on the season.
Michigan seemingly put the dagger in the heart of the Huskies when they scored a third goal with under five-minutes left to play, but the Huskies were not about to roll over. Going shot-for-shot with the Wolverines, each side put up 11 shots and seven on goal.
Though they were not able to capitalize on any penalty corner opportunities, all of which occured in the fourth quarter, the Huskies kept their hopes alive with a last second goal. Sophomore Maddy Wray was able to tap one in from the right side with just 44 seconds left in regulation.
The comeback attempt would end there, with the final score reading 3-2. Michigan successfully avenged a 2-1 loss a year ago when the then-ranked No. 5 Wolverines made the trip to Storrs to face a top-ranked Huskies squad.
After a four-save effort in Friday’s loss in Ann Arbor, Cheyenne Sprecher and the UConn defense posted the season’s third shutout in East Lansing, winning 2-0 on Sunday afternoon.
The Huskies dominated No. 25 Michigan State (4-2), outshooting the Spartans 30-2 and needing Sprecher to make one, lone save.
After going 0-for-3 on penalty corner attempts against Michigan, Abby Gooderham & Co. took the ball from the corner 12 times and scored twice. At the 14:42 mark, Gooderham notched her first goal of the game with senior Antonia Tiedtke and freshman Sophie Hamilton earning assists on the play.
Gooderham, a sophomore out of Norwich, England, posted a number of season-high stats in the shutout win with eight shots and three shots on goal, on top of being responsible for both goals scored.
Her second goal came on a second-half penalty corner, with Tiedtke earning her second assist in the contest. Boker was also in on the play for her third assist of 2019, capping off a 12-2 advantage on penalty corners in the shutout win.
The Huskies have had the Spartans’ number in their history together. A season ago, the Huskies shutout MSU 5-0 in dominant fashion when the Spartans paid a visit to the George J. Sherman family complex. Overall, the Huskies now own a perfect 11-0 record over the Spartans and have scored 41 goals in the rivalry’s history.
Next time out, the Huskies travel to Hamden, CT. to open conference play against BIG EAST rival Quinnipiac on Friday, Sept. 20. UConn won’t play a home game until they matchup with Old Dominion on Friday, Sept. 27.
Kevin Arnold is the associate sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org