For the first time in nearly three weeks, the No. 3 UConn field hockey team will return to the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex for a pair of home games against No. 22 Old Dominion and Boston University.
The Huskies (7-1, 1-0 BIG EAST) will look to extend their 33-game conference win streak when the Monarchs come to Storrs on Friday. It will also be the eighth time in nine matches that UConn will face a ranked opponent. The last time out, the Huskies snatched an overtime win from the then-sixth-ranked Princeton Tigers when Svea Boker notched the game winning goal.
Boker, a senior forward, earned BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week for her performances against both Quinnipiac and Princeton. As the Huskies’ leading scorer (six goals, 14 points) Boker scored twice in last week’s matchup against the Bobcats before capping off a three-score weekend in overtime against the Tigers, who dropped drastically in the rankings to No. 26 in the nation.
Boker was not the only Husky to earn conference recognition as goalkeeper Cheyenne Sprecher was tabbed BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week. The redshirt sophomore out of Pennsylvania recorded nine saves over the weekend while allowing a lone goal against the Tigers, bringing her total saves to 32 while allowing less than a goal (.88) per contest.
Old Dominion (5-2, 1-0 BIG EAST), like UConn, is on the tail end of a long road trip. The Monarchs have played their last five contests away from home and most recently suffered a 3-1 defeat by James Madison University. Old Dominion captured its first conference win of the year in a 4-3 victory over Providence last Friday.
Senior Rebecca Birch leads the team in scoring (four goals, two assists) and is one of four Monarchs to record multiple goals in 2019. Marlee McClendon, a redshirt junior, has dished out a team-best four assists and, along with Nicole Fredericks, will look to keep Sprecher busy in net. Fredricks has won BIG EAST Freshman of the Week in back-to-back weeks.
Cam MacGillivray will have a busy time in net against the high-powered UConn offense, but has had an impressive 2019 campaign thus far. The redshirt sophomore goalkeeper is allowing 1.67 goals on average, with 23 saves and two shutouts on the year.
Historically, the Monarchs hold a 24-17 advantage over the Huskies since 1979, but UConn has won the last seven matchups between the conference rivals. The Huskies were able to pull out a 4-2 road victory in last year’s contest, outshooting Old Dominion 21-8. Boker and Jess Dembrowski recorded goals in the game.
The Huskies and the Terriers from Boston University also have quite a bit of history, one that is dominated by Nancy Stevens’ squad. UConn has won 34 matchups with BU, compared to just eight loses. A year ago, UConn went on the road and took home a 2-1 victory to extend its winning streak over BU to 13 games. The Huskies will look to keep that streak alive when BU comes to Storrs on Sunday.
The Terriers (3-4, 0-1 Patriot League) most recently lost 1-0 to Bucknell and have yet to beat a ranked opponent this season (No. 14 OSU and No. 24 Maine). Ranked No. 25 in the country at the time, the loss dropped BU out of the top-25 nationwide rankings and was a tough way to open up conference play.
Junior forward Alisa Connolly leads the way for the Terriers offensively, posting a team-best five goals and 12 points in the team’s first seven games. The New Zealand native is tied with three teammates for the team-lead in assists (two).
Caroline Kelly, BU’s freshman goalkeeper, has endured the growing pains in her adjustment to collegiate field hockey. Through her first seven divisional I contests, Kelly has allowed 16 goals while recording 37 saves. Those numbers are good enough for a 2.34 goals allowed average and a .698 save percentage.
Friday’s contest against Old Dominion is set to start at 3 p.m. while the Terriers will take on the Huskies at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
Kevin Arnold is the associate sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com. He tweets @karnold98.