The UConn field hockey team took to the field this weekend against conference opponent Villanova in an impressive show of force. The team dominated the play over the course of the two games, winning 8-0 on Saturday and 3-0 on Sunday.
Saturday’s game between the Huskies and the Wildcats was a commanding performance by the UConn Huskies. From early in the first quarter up until the end of the fourth, the Huskies controlled the flow of play and showed Villanova that they were not there to mess around. UConn topped every statistic except for saves, with Cheyenne Sprecher only having to make three saves to the combined eight made by Villanova’s goaltending pair Claire Borman and Jordan McGinley. The team made 20 shots over the course of the game, with 16 being counted as shots on goal and eight of those going in. The Wildcats only managed to take four shots against the Huskies.
Sophie Hamilton wasted no time at all opening up the scoreboard for the Huskies, scoring on a breakaway just 4:43 into the first quarter. Taking a pass from Vivienne Tucker at the center line, Hamilton carried the ball in deep on a fastbreak and beat starting goaltender McGinley during a 1-v-1 move in front of the goal. This was the first of three goals for Hamilton over the course of this game.
The Huskies were able to score again in the second quarter, starting with a penalty corner goal from Aiyi Young. At 22:29, Young inserted a corner and then collected a pass off of that. Bringing the ball to the left side of the box, she was able to bury it in. Just two minutes later, the lead was extended to 3-0 after a loose ball from Young was collected and put into the net by senior midfielder Chiara Ma. The half was closed out with UConn’s fourth goal, just two minutes from the end. Claire Jandeworth scored from the top of the circle after a UConn penalty corner.
The pressure did not let up in the second half. Just two minutes after the start of the half, Hamilton posted her second goal of the game after she stole the ball from Villanova and carried it into their zone on a breakaway and scored unassisted. The next Husky to score was Erica Solomen, who got a pair of goals 40 minutes into the game. Expanding her impressive score sheet, Solomen also got credited for an assist on the goal of the game, again coming from Hamilton. Scoring her third goal of the game, Hamilton took a pass from Solomen and beat the goalkeeper in the center of the circle. Hamilton is now up to 14 goals and 12 assists this season.
Sunday’s game was driven by an extremely consistent and aggressive UConn offense. The Huskies took 17 shots over the course at the game, including 8 on the Villanova net. Just like during Saturday’s game, the constant offensive pressure allowed the team to control the flow of the game and enforce their brand of hockey on the opponent. This is where the Huskies have excelled during the entirety of the season, controlling the flow of the game with constant offensive drives and driving the shots on goal as high as they can. The Wildcats were only able to produce 5 shots over the course of the game, with 3 of those being shots on goal.
Villanova stopped the Huskies from being able to score early in the game on Sunday, not allowing a single shot on the Wildcat net for the first half of the game. They also lead the match in shooting for the first 30 minutes, outshooting the Huskies 3-2.
UConn’s Vivienne Tucker did not wait long to change this around, scoring just 38 seconds after the start of the third quarter. She was able to collect a feed in the center circle from Jessica Dembrowski and carried the ball to the front of the Wildcat’s cage where she beat Borman and opened up the scoreboard for the Huskies. Jandewerth added a second goal slightly less than three minutes later off of a penalty corner with an assist from Young. The third quarter was when UConn’s offensive prowess began to surface, with the team taking 12 of their 17 shots and gaining seven of their eight penalty corners during the third. The final goal of the game came from familiar face Hamilton. After a pass from Tucker, Hamilton took a shot from the right side of the cage and snuck it past Borman.
This pair of wins brings UConn to 9-1 overall in this season, with a conference record of 8-1. They lead the Big East Conference standings with a .889 win %, with Liberty close behind with a 0.833. The Huskies will play next against Providence College for the second matchup of the season with a home and away series on April 9 and 11.