Lacrosse season is finally back, folks. The wait is over. The UConn women’s lacrosse team kicks off a 16-game season today with its home opener against Fairfield University at 3 p.m.
The Huskies hope to improve upon last season, as they finished with a 3-14 record (1-4 in conference) and finished fifth in the American. In the AAC Preseason Poll, UConn was ranked fifth in their conference of six teams.
Key returner Sydney Watson looks to lead the Huskies again this year after a strong 2019 season, which culminated in an All-AAC First Team nod. Last year, she scored 39 goals, accumulated 51 points and 92 draw controls. She was a unanimous selection to this year’s Preseason All-Conference Team (UConn’s sole representative) as well.
The Huskies lost seven seniors last year, including midfielder Caitlin Leary, who was second on the team in goals scored with 28. This year, there are five seniors on the team, including goalkeeper Grace Beshlian. Beshlian finished her junior year with 148 saves, nine forced turnovers and a 0.429 save percentage in 15 games played.
Katie Woods, in her tenth year as head coach of the lacrosse team, stands as the most successful coach in the program’s history. Her 84 wins (and counting) along with her 0.552 winning percentage prove her worth to the team. After two straight losing seasons, she looks to increase both numbers with a big win over a historically good opponent.
Fairfield poses a tough test for the Huskies, as they finished last year with a record of 15-4 and won the MAAC. They have already played their first game, losing 10-8 at home to Holy Cross.
Over the last four matchups between these two teams, UConn is 3-1, only dropping the most recent game, 7-13, in an away loss. In that game, the Huskies turned over the ball 24 times, matching a tie for second most that season. If the Huskies want to win today, ball control will have to be a major key, especially with junior co-captain Maggie Reynolds of Fairfield earning MAAC Defensive Player of the Week recently.
Looking down the road, the team is set to play James Madison on Sunday at the U.S. Lacrosse Headquarters, and then heads home for next week’s game against UMass-Lowell at the Sherman Sports Complex. In the quest for a bid into the NCAA Tournament, the journey starts here at 3:00 p.m. against a formidable Fairfield opponent.
Jonathan Synott is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.