The Huskies (4-1) are coming off an exceptional week, picking up home victories against the University of Albany (4-2) and No. 22 UMass (2-2). Sydney Watson greatly contributed to these impressive victories, tallying 10 goals and 24 draw controls over the course of the two games. The sensational performances by Watson earned her the IWLCA co-offensive player of the week.
The Minutewomen won their only home matchup this season 16-7 against UMass Lowell. In that game, UMass got off to a scintillating start, racking up 14 goals in the first half. Stephanie Croke led the team in scoring against UMass Lowell, recording four goals. A concern for the Minutewomen, however, is that they were only able to generate two goals in the second half of that game. UMass has gotten off to exceptional starts in all four of their games this season, but have only once produced more than three goals in the second half. When their opponents make adjustments at halftime, the Minutewomen seem to freeze and not execute their game plan as efficiently. UMass will have to play a more complete game if they want to get revenge on the spectacular UConn squad on their home turf.
Watson has been responsible for scoring 21 of the Huskies’ goals this season, approximately 28.4% of all UConn’s goals in the first five games of the year. She’ll look to continue her stellar performances when they travel to Amherst for Game 2 against the UMass Minutewomen. In the first game versus UMass, Watson recorded six unassisted goals, including the tiebreaker in OT.
The Huskies concluded the game against UMass with four more groundballs and three more draw controls. UMass, on the other hand, finished with two more shots on goal and five fewer turnovers.
Game 2 between UConn and UMass will likely be another nail-biter, as both teams are tremendously talented. Not much separated the two squads on the stat sheet after game one, and I expect that to be the case again on Saturday.
The game at UMass will conclude non-conference play for the Huskies, and Big East play will begin for UConn on March 19, when they go on the road to face Marquette. The Huskies are currently slated to play 10 conference games, four at home and six away.