As the Huskies walked off the field after their loss Saturday, the feeling at Sherman Sports Complex wasn’t disappointment. It was a loss, sure, but there was a lot to be excited about. For one, this loss fell to the hands of the No. 19 team in the nation, UMass. Also, despite an early game struggle in which the deficit was as high as six, UConn kept fighting back, getting to within one at half and staying close the rest of the match.
Sophomore Lia Laprise, who finished Saturday’s game with three goals and two assists, felt confident in the team’s abilities after this game and for the rest of the season.
“We just wanted to come out (and) give everything we got, I thought we did that,” Laprise said. “Tough loss, but we proved what we got and what we can do for this season coming up.”
The intensity and fight shown Saturday is reflective of what this team has already done this season, as they currently sit third in the conference at 4-2 on the year. This is their best start to the season since the Huskies went 12-8 in 2016. They have already earned their revenge against New Hampshire and Fairfield, two teams they lost to last year, and hope to do the same to Columbia on Wednesday.
The Huskies have the right mentality: the “Husky Way” or “Husky Mentality” as Laprise called it. Nationally ranked teams don’t phase the team, she added.
“We’re not gonna dwell on too much here, but for Wednesday we’ll go at it with a clear mind and give 100%,” Laprise said.
This team also has plenty of youth, as only four seniors started for the Huskies on Saturday. The other eight were a mix of sophomores and juniors, all gaining key experience for the rest of this season and beyond. A non-starter that got a lot of playing time as well was sophomore Landyn White in goal, backing up a struggling Grace Beshlian. White played the majority of the game for UConn and racked up nine saves to 10 goals allowed. Coach Katie Woods had some high praise for her and the rest of the team’s efforts.
“Having Landyn coming off the bench and coming up with some big saves was huge for us,” Woods said. “There are a couple of different players asked to step up in different ways in terms of the hustle plays, and they did well.”
Woods was optimistic about the team’s future performances as well, but she did acknowledge there is work left to be done.
“For us, we have the ability to play with the best teams,” she said. “We have to take care of the ball and stay composed under all circumstances.”
onathan Synott is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.