UConn Field Hockey set for big matchup against No. 15 Rutgers

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Fresh off an opening weekend, the Huskies look to improve upon their record against a tough opponent, the No. 15 ranked Scarlet Knights, in their home opener. 

In their illustrious 44 year history, UConn has led the way, going 31-2-1 since their first matchup in 1977. Currently, they are riding a big win streak of 15 games. Their most recent bout took place back in 2019, when the Huskies beat the No. 19 Scarlet Knights 2-0 at home. Their last loss came way back in 2001, when UConn fell 2-1. 

Rutgers has seen some success early on, going 2-0 in their first two games. They have a plethora of scoring options, with six different Scarlet Knights putting the ball in net so far. The offense runs through senior midfielder Milena Redlingshoefer, who has one goal and a team-high of four assists. The midfield and back line are going to have their work cut out for them in this match. 

Despite UConn playing ranked teams up to this point, the lack of goal scoring may be a concern. In their first two games, they have averaged one goal a contest. Losing last year’s top scorer Sophie Hamilton, the rest of the offense needs to capitalize on its opportunities to win some crucial games. While defense will play a big factor, you can’t expect to win every game 1-0. Their next game is against a Rutgers squad that put up eight goals in their first two outings, including three against No. 12 Duke. If they expect to beat the Scarlet Knights for the 16th time in a row, they are going to have to put the ball in the net. 

Speaking of goals, expect preseason all-conference midfielder Abby Gooderham to emerge as a top scoring option sometime soon. She leads the team in shots with six – double the next Husky. Her shots-on-goal percentage is an even .500, but she has yet to score a goal. In her last season played, 2019, she posted eight goals and nine assists, so look for her to contribute heavily to this offense as an improved sophomore. 

Recently, keeper Cheyenne Sprecher was named to the season’s first Big East Weekly Honor Roll, due to her successful weekend, where she had 13 saves and a 0.722 save percentage. She is going to need to keep up her excellent play, as she and the Husky defense will be busy keeping the Rutgers offense at bay for 60 minutes. 

The game will be played at 6:00 p.m. today at the George J. Sherman Sports Complex, right in the heart of campus. This will definitely be a good game to watch, as it sets the tone for the rest of the season. If the Huskies can walk away from three contests against ranked opponents, having won two of them, that would definitely be a success, especially for a team trying to find some consistent scorers before conference play. 

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