It was a weekend of mixed emotions for the No. 3 UConn field hockey team. After remaining unbeaten in conference play in commanding fashion over Temple Friday afternoon, the Huskies’ six-game winning streak was brought to an end Sunday against No. 4 Maryland.
Outside of the 2017 National Championship game, in which UConn (10-2, 3-0 BIG EAST) took home the crown after a 2-1 win, the Huskies have never beaten the Terrapins in regular season action. Fourth-ranked Maryland continued the tradition Sunday in College Park, shutting out the Huskies 2-0.
The game started favorable for the Huskies after head coach Nancy Stevens won a coach’s challenge that awarded her team a penalty corner. UConn even led in shots (4-1) through the first 15 minutes of action, but those would be the lone victories in Sunday’s loss for UConn.
Cheyenne Sprecher had a busy day in net. The redshirt sophomore goalkeeper faced 13 shots and 10 on goal in the contest. Sprecher, who entered the weekend as the fourth-ranked goalkeeper in terms of goals against average, made eight saves on Sunday, including four in the second half to keep the Huskies in the game.
The only flaws in Sprecher’s performance came in the second quarter on a pair of deflected shots. Maryland (11-1, 3-0 Big Ten) got on the board first when Linda Cobano got her stick on a shot from Madison Maguire at the top of the circle to sneak the ball by Sprecher for a one goal advantage.
Maguire would get one of her own, her sixth of the year, just ten minutes later. At the 27:47 mark, Maguire redirected a Riley Donnelly shot from the far right side to give the Terrapins the 2-0 lead.
Though the “Sunday Scaries” hit the Huskies hard on Sunday, UConn looked like its normal self against Temple (4-5, 0-3 BIG EAST), its third conference win of 2019.
Four different Huskies scored in UConn’s 5-0 shutout Friday afternoon. Jess Dembrowski scored first and was the only Husky to score twice. The junior’s first goal, aided by Abby Gooderham and Sophie Hamilton, came at the 11:36 mark.
Not even seven minutes later, Dembrowski struck again with the same duo assisting on the play. On one of UConn’s 16 penalty corners in the game, compared to Temple’s two, Dembrowski was able to get enough of her stick on the shot to deflect the ball past the goaltender for the score. Gooderham and Hamilton each finished the game with three assists.
In between the Dembrowski action, McKenna Sergi scored her first collegiate goal. The freshman from New York found herself in the starting lineup for the first time on Sunday and made the most of it when Svea Boker lent a helping hand on the freshman’s first goal as a Husky at 17:11.
Boker would add a goal late in the contest on Gooderham’s third assist, extending her team lead in goals scored to 11. Hamilton is the next closest with six scores.
Gooderham was able to find the back of the net for herself right as time expired in the first half. With Antonia Tiedke and Hamilton on the assists, Gooderham scored cleanly off a penalty corner. Hamilton’s three dimes put her in a tie with Tiedke for most on the team, with each having a total of eight. Gooderham trails their count by just one.
Sprecher earned her sixth shutout on the year, needing to suppress just a pair of shots on net. UConn outshot the Owls 22-3 overall and 13-2 on net.
Next up for the Huskies is a home bout with BIG EAST rival Providence College on Friday afternoon before Sunday’s Pink Game against Delaware. Friday’s match with the Friars has been moved from a 6 p.m. start to 3 p.m. due to the growing concerns of the mosquito-borne illness EEE.
Kevin Arnold is the associate sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @karnold98.