Last time the UConn field hockey team lost a game, it rattled off six straight wins, half of which came against ranked opponents. After the second loss of the season to No. 4 Maryland last Sunday, the Huskies will look to have the same kind of bounce back this weekend, returning home to welcome Providence and No. 10 Delaware.
Maryland, now the No. 2 team in the country, gave UConn fits last weekend, the first time the Huskies have been shut out all season. UConn (10-2, 3-0 Big East) remains at No. 3 as previous No. 2 Duke has lost three of its last four. The Huskies are fourth nationally in RPI.
UConn has a long history against Friday’s opponent, Big East foe Providence. The schools have faced off 48 times, with UConn leading the all-time series 37-8-3. The Huskies have won the last 16 meetings, last suffering a defeat at the hands of the Friars in 2006.
The Huskies are one of two teams still undefeated in Big East play along with No. 22 Liberty. Providence (7-4, 2-1 Big East) is not far behind, having suffered a single loss to No. 20 Old Dominion in a shootout.
The Friars have won three of their last four, falling to No. 6 Louisville on Sept. 29 before back-to-back dominant victories over Villanova and Dartmouth. Providence doesn’t allow many goals, averaging just 1.36 goals allowed per game, but at times it has also struggled to score its own (2.18 per game).
Senior Izzy Mendez is Providence’s most dangerous forward with a team-leading 16 points on seven goals and two assists. She had two goals against Dartmouth last time out. Grad transfer Lydia Rice has started all 11 games in goal, compiling four shutouts and a .714 save percentage.
Sunday’s game against No. 10 Delaware will have some added emotion as UConn celebrates former-Husky Ginny O’Neil, who passed away in May. It’s the Pink Game, so fans are encouraged to wear pink.
Delaware (8-2, 1-0 CAA) is coming off a 5-1 beatdown over No. 25 Northeastern, though these Huskies may provide a little more of a fight. The Blue Hens have excelled despite a tough nonconference schedule, going 4-2 against top-25 opponents. Delaware boasts an even stingier defense than UConn or Providence, surrendering just nine total goals in 10 games.
No surprise, redshirt senior goalkeeper Sydney Rhodes has been superb with a .82 goals against average. But it really starts at the Blue Hens’ backline, as Rhodes has only been forced to make 28 saves this season. For reference, UConn star goalie Cheyenne Sprecher has made 56.
Junior Femke Strien is 11th in the country with nine goals, including three game-winners. However, Delaware is quite multidimensional, as nine different players have scored and five different players have multiple assists.
Unlike UConn’s extensive history with Providence, the Huskies and Hens have squared off just once, a 1-0 victory for UConn in 2017.
UConn looks to extend its flawless home record to 6-0. Friday’s game, originally scheduled for 6 p.m., has been moved up to 3 p.m. due to concerns over EEE. Sunday’s Pink Game gets going at noon, both at the Sherman Family Sports Complex on campus.
Andrew Morrison is the sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @asmor24.