A faceoff between two of the top four teams in the country usually leads to some pretty entertaining field hockey, and that’s what we get this weekend as No. 3 UConn takes on No. 4 Maryland on Sunday in College Park.
First, the Huskies (9-1, 2-0 Big East) head to Philadelphia for their third installment of conference play, taking on Temple on Friday. UConn is 13-2-1 all-time against the Owls and has won 12 straight dating back to 1994. Last season, the Huskies put a 7-0 beating on Temple in Storrs.
The Owls (4-4, 0-2 Big East) are currently tied with Villanova for last place in the Big East standings, having suffered losses to Liberty and Providence to open its conference slate. Unlike UConn, which already has seven wins against ranked opponents, Temple’s wins have come against opponents with a combined record of 7-28.
Junior Dani Batze is Temple’s leading goal scorer with three, and sophomore Nienke Oerlemans leads with three assists. In goal, junior Cristina Carotenuto has 29 saves on the season, coming off an impressive eight-save performance in a losing effort to Penn last time out.
The quality of opposition ramps up significantly on Sunday, as the Huskies go from a team that they have historically dominated to a team which has historically dominated UConn.
Maryland (9-1, 2-0 Big Ten), just behind UConn at No. 4 in the country, is 6-1 all-time against the Huskies. Last season, UConn fell 1-2 in College Park in an overtime thriller.
The Terrapins’ sole loss of the season was a tough 0-1 defeat to No. 2 Duke on Sept 8. Maryland enters with the same record as UConn and nearly as impressive of a resume, with wins over No. 17 Boston College, No. 8 Virginia, No. 12 Princeton and No. 18 Rutgers. The Terrapins will also get quite the tune-up before taking on UConn, as they’ll play No. 5 Northwestern on Friday.
Senior Madison Maguire is the leader of the Maryland attack with 16 points on five goals and six assists. Sophomore Linda Cobano comes in red-hot, having scored twice in each of Maryland’s last two games. Senior goalkeeper Noelle Frost has made 33 saves to go along with a .767 save percentage.
On the UConn side of things, the Huskies are coming off a phenomenal weekend in which they swept the Big East weekly awards. Senior Svea Boker, who had four goals in two games, was named the Offensive Player of the Week for the second-straight week, redshirt sophomore Cheyenne Sprecher earned Defensive Player of the Week once again for her 15 total saves and Sophie Thompson grabbed Freshman of the Week after a seven-point weekend.
Maryland is the ninth ranked team that UConn will face this season, though at No. 4, it’s the toughest test yet. It’s a crucial weekend for the Huskies to take care of business against Temple and remain perfect in conference play, and then to notch a top-5 victory to defend its national ranking. Friday’s contest begins in Philly at 5 p.m., Sunday’s in College Park starts at noon.
Andrew Morrison is the sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @asmor24.