Another year, another dominant campaign for the Huskies. Although they came up short in the NCAA tournament, a 19-4 record and a seventh straight Big East title are nothing to frown upon. It feels like UConn is competing for the championship year in and year out, and in a 2019 season where they had the Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year all in one place, it was no different.
The Huskies got off to a hot start to the season, winning four straight games against ranked opponents, but faltered a bit, allowing a season-high three goals in a loss against then No. 11 Michigan. From there UConn won six straight, allowing just three goals while scoring 24 before falling once again to No. 4 Maryland in one of just two shutouts they would experience. Fueled by the loss, the Huskies would win six of their last seven and cruise to the Big East title before losing in the second round of the NCAA tournament to No. 9 Princeton. Despite not reaching their final goal, it was another impressive season for the Huskies, featuring a complete effort from just about every member of the team, especially on the attacking end.
The Swiss army knife that was UConn’s offense was led by one familiar face in Svea Boker and a new face in Sophie Hamilton. For Boker, 2019 was another step toward an illustrious four years playing for the Huskies. Not only did her 21 goals and 55 points led the Huskies, but they also placed her at No. 4 in the NCAA and moved her to No. 5 all-time among UConn players in each stat, respectively. As if that wasn’t enough, she also added 13 assists en route to being named the Big East Offensive Player of the Year, Big East Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Mideast Region Player of the Year and headlining the All-Big East and All-American first teams. Boker was simply on another level.
— UConn Huskies (@UConnHuskies) May 3, 2020
Whereas we’ve gotten used to Boker’s impressive numbers, Hamilton’s year was more than anyone could have hoped for. The first-year midfielder finished second on the team in goals (9), assists (14) and points (32), earning a spot on the All-American third team and being one of two freshmen to be named to the All-Big East first team. She left her mark on the season in round one of the NCAA tournament, where she scored the game-winner in overtime to beat No. 25 Fairfield University. Hamilton’s freshman numbers look eerily similar to those of Boker in her first year, and she appears to be next in line to lead the charge for this UConn team.
Overall, the Huskies won eleven games against ranked opponents in 2019, ending the year ranked No. 3 in the NCAA in goals (73) and No. 1 in assists (71), led by senior Antonia Tiedtke’s team-high 16. But for as good as their offense was this season, it was their defense that carried them to several of their wins.
Coming off a solid freshman season where she allowed 29 goals and put up a .750 save percentage, Cheyenne Sprecher made major strides in her game just a year later. With the experience under her belt Sprecher boosted her save percentage up to .842, the best in the country, and allowed just 18 goals all season. Her incredible play was enough to lead UConn to a nation-best 13 shutouts and earned her the Big East Defensive Player of the Year.
While every other UConn team (sorry football) will be experiencing new life in the Big East, nothing is going to change for field hockey. The sun will rise, it will rain every Tuesday in Storrs, UConn will be a top-10 team and everything will be right with the world.