For the second-consecutive weekend, the UConn field hockey team will hit the road for a pair of contests. First up is Big East rival Quinnipiac Friday before a top-10 matchup with sixth-ranked Princeton.
Though the Huskies (5-1) suffered their first defeat last weekend to No. 8 Michigan, UConn only dropped one spot in the rankings. Now No. 4 and with a blemish on their record, the Huskies will look to continue their dominant season into conference play that includes three shutouts.
The penalty corner has been very hit or miss for Nancy Stevens’ squad thus far. On two seperate weekends, the Huskies were held goalless on penalty corner attempts, only to score multiple goals on the play their next time out. Last weekend, Michigan did not allow a goal on three UConn penalty corners. Two days later against Michigan State, Abby Gooderham knocked home a pair of goals on the penalty corner in a career day for the sophomore.
Freshman sensation Marie Auer has cooled off from her hot start in the States. The German native scored a goal in each of her first four games in a UConn uniform, taking 12 shots over that span. On the road trip to Michigan, Auer took only one shot and was held scoreless.
While UConn was coming off a shutout win over MSU, Quinnipiac (1-4) was out on the road against Hofstra Monday. Though the Bobcats could not pull out the win in the 3-2 loss, graduate student Bianka Strubbe added a pair of goals to her stat line, leading the team with three. Senior Inès Ruiz Martinez assisted on both goals, her first assists of the season.
Goalkeeping duties have been split thus far for the Bobcats between Hedda Biermann-Ratjen and Mack Vorel. Vorel, a freshman, started the first three games of the season, allowing eight goals with 24 saves. Quinnipiac switched to Biermann-Ratjen for the last two contests and has seen a slight improvement with the freshman allowing 1.70 goals a game while saving .792 percent of shots on goal.
No. 6 Princeton, like the Huskies, started the season facing multiple ranked opponents. Even with the loss to No. 1 North Carolina to start the season, the Tigers (3-1) have won three straight games against No. 10 Wake Forest, No. 20 Albany and, most recently, No. 17 Penn. State. Before the Huskies come to town, Princeton will take on a fifth-ranked opponent in No. 21 Rutgers.
Sophomore Hannah Davey has led the way for the Tigers’ offense. The senior from England has a team-best of four goals thus far, with a pair of assists and a team-high of 10 shots on goal. Juniors Clara Roth and Julianna Tornetta are tied for the team lead in assists with four each.
Grace Baylis has been a stonewall in net for Princeton. The senior from London has made every start this season while allowing 3.17 goals a game with a .625 save percentage.
UConn and Quinnipiac will square off at 3 p.m. Friday afternoon in Hamden, Conn. With an off day Sunday, the Huskies will have some down time before taking on their seventh-ranked opponent of the year in Princeton, with a noon start on Sunday.
Kevin Arnold is the associate sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com