One of the most exciting teams to watch every year, the field hockey team looks poised for another successful season.
While they haven’t reached a final four since 2017, the Huskies haven’t lost their notoriety as a powerhouse program. UConn is fresh off of a conference championship, their ninth straight. Receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, they won their first game on the road and fell to No. 3 Louisville in the quarterfinals, 1-0.
This season should be an interesting one, namely because field hockey was pushed from the fall season to the spring in 2020. Instead of their normal nine-month break, athletes instead get just three. The tough loss to Louisville should remain fresh in the team’s mind as they try to go on a run for their sixth national championship.
The Huskies are already trending in the right direction, as the majority of coaches selected them to win the Big East this season. Right on their tail in the poll is Liberty, who gave UConn their only regular season loss of the year in 2020.
UConn had four players nominated to be on the preseason all-conference team this year. Kourtney Kennedy, Claire Jandewerth, Abby Gooderham and Jess Dembrowski all received that honor, with Gooderham being a unanimous selection. While no Huskies were selected for preseason offensive or defensive player of the year, having a third of the preseason conference team is a great indication that this team will be special.
One of the biggest returners to the team is redshirt senior Cheyenne Sprecher. The star goalie was named to the All-Big East second team at the end of last season, and her sophomore year received All-Big East first team and Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors. She started every game last year for the Huskies and posted a 0.52 goals against average, the best in the country. She looks to improve upon a monster 30 save season last year and help this team to another championship.
One of the biggest losses this year is that of Sophie Hamilton, the team’s top scorer in 2020. Heading into her junior year, she decided to redshirt the season. She led the team last year with 19 goals and 15 assists as a sophomore, which awarded her Big East Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-American honors. While this is a big loss for the team, more opportunities to score should arise for other Huskies, especially preseason all-conference players Jandewerth and Dembrowski, who finished third and fourth in scoring last year, respectively.
This upcoming season will be the second for coach Paul Caddy, who was one of the top assistant coaches in the nation for years before taking over the reins from the legendary Nancy Stevens. It’s tough to follow the winningest coach in collegiate field hockey history, but Caddy is up for the challenge. He has been with the program for 21 seasons, mainly developing technical skills and recruiting some of the best players in the world. While already accomplishing so much at UConn, Caddy is far from finished.
The Huskies kick off their season at Northwestern on Friday, August 27th, and will come back for their home opener against Rutgers on September 3rd. Key matchups this season include a home battle with Big East runner up Old Dominion and a clash at Liberty. With the George J. Sherman Sports Complex being right in the heart of campus and the team being conference favorites, the field hockey team should be a great team to watch this fall.