The postseason is nothing new for the No. 3 UConn field hockey team. Thanks to a perfect regular season against conference opponents, the Huskies are the top seed in the Big East tournament and will face Providence first as they hunt for their seventh-consecutive tournament title.
The Huskies have had their fair share of success in the Big East. They’ve won 39-straight regular season conference matchups dating back to 2013, encompassing seven-straight regular season Big East titles. Overall, UConn has won 18 total Big East tournament championships in its time in the conference.
Exceptional performance in conference play does not come without recognition as a slew of Huskies (16-3, 7-0 Big East) were honored for their regular season play, and it all starts with coaching staff. Nancy Stevens and her staff (associate head coach Paul Caddy and assistant Cheri Schulz) took home their sixth-straight Coaching Staff of the Year honors and the school’s 13th overall.
Senior striker Svea Boker was unanimously chosen as the Big East Player of the Year, fulfilling the prophecy as the preseason selection to win the award, and is UConn’s 11th selection for the honor since 1997. Boker’s 28 points and 10 goals in conference play led the Big East while being nationally ranked fourth in points per game (2.53) and third in goals per game (3.53). She was also selected to the All-Big East First Team, alongside freshman teammate Sophie Hamilton and redshirt-sophomore Cheyenne Sprecher.
After taking home the conference’s Freshman of the Year honors last season, Sprecher had high expectations for 2019 and surpassed them. While being named to the all-conference first team, she was also named co-Defensive Player of the Year, sharing the honor with Liberty’s Ashley Dykema. Sprecher was the top-ranked goalkeeper nationally in goals against average (0.79) and save percentage (0.845). She’s the 15th Husky to earn the honor.
The honors don’t stop there. Both Antonia Tiedtke and Abbey Gooderham were named to the All- Big East Second Team. Gooderham, a sophomore, finished third amongst the Huskies in total points (25) and fourth in assists (9). Tiedtke had the most assists for UConn with 16 and was one of three seniors honored ahead of UConn’s 5-1 win over UMass to end the regular season. Though her time in Storrs is coming to an end, she’s excited to compete in a fourth-straight postseason.
“Everyone is so incredible, it’s been a blast here and it’s so bittersweet that it’s going to be over,” Tiedtke said. “But, we’re trying to make it as long as possible so I’m excited for the postseason.”
The Huskies are matched up with fourth-seeded Providence College in the semifinals. The last time the two sides faced off, UConn was fresh off a shutout from Maryland, so the team responded by shutting the Friars out 3-0 in Storrs. A trio of underclassmen handled the scoring in the Oct. 11 matchup as Hamilton and fellow freshman Erica Solomon scored alongside sophomore Maddy Wray.
The Friars (12-6, 4-3 Big East) ended their season with a 2-0 loss to conference foe Liberty. Senior Izzy Mendez leads the way offensively for Providence with nine goals and 20 points on the season, while classmate Mary O’Reilly has a team-best six assists.
Lydia Rice has been a force in net for the Friars. She’s started all 18 games in 2019 while posting a 1.32 goals against average and a .731 save percentage.
The Huskies and Friars will face off at 11 a.m. Friday in Hamden, CT, home of the hosting Quinnipiac Bobcats. If UConn advances to the championship, it will face the winner of Liberty v. Old Dominion Sunday at 1 p.m.
Kevin Arnold is the associate sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com. He tweets @karnold98.