Field Hockey preview: St. Joe’s and UNH

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With Friday’s game at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia canceled due to inclement weather, the UConn field hockey team lies in wait preparing for Sunday’s home game against the University of New Hampshire. UConn is looking to carry over the momentum from their big 5-0 win against Hofstra in the season opener and continue their strong start to the season.  

Last season, the UNH Wildcats averaged 1.83 goals per game on 12 shots with an on-goal shot percentage of 58.3%. In comparison, the Huskies averaged 5.0 goals per game on 23 shots with an on-goal shot percentage of 65.2%. This game should be a solid tune-up match for the Huskies who will need all their offensive firepower to be successful later in the season. Defensive discipline and sound offensive execution will be the key to limit the Wildcats’ goal-scoring opportunities. The season opener proved that the UConn women still have a solid roster with veteran leadership and a host of talented new faces.  

These new team members include Erin Daly from Yorktown/Lakeland, New York, Claire Van Den Noort from Baricum, Netherlands, Morgan Kaufman from West Lawn, Pennsylvania, Aiyi Young from Palm, Pennsylvania, Anna Horan from Limerick, Ireland and Ana Carney from Woodbridge, Connecticut.  

These freshmen are coming into a UConn field hockey program that emphasizes winning culture and playing sound fundamental field hockey. Kourtney Kennedy, senior back for the Huskies and Big East defensive player of the week, was a force against Hofstra as she racked up two goals and an assist in the winning effort. Her defensive prowess also served to anchor the Huskies in the big confidence boosting win.  

A bored goalie is a sign of a stout defense. Junior goalie Cheyenne Spencer only had to make one save in the season debut. This level of team cohesion, crisp passing and overall team chemistry will be instrumental in racking up another potential win on the Huskies’ home turf.  

A big key to the game will simply be creating many shot opportunities and controlling the time of possession. One of the telling losses last season against Maryland occurred due to UConn being outshot in creating chances on goal by a margin of 10 shots on goal to three in favor of Maryland. While this can be seen as an aberration, these games early in the season pose as learning experiences for the younger players so that they can contribute with the veterans when games get tough and adversity rises against the other big conference threats.  

Make sure to tune in on Husky Live to support the women’s field hockey team in their quest to start the 2020-21 season 2-0 at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 21.   

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