Field Hockey: Huskies split tough weekend 1-1

The Huskies suffer a 2-1 loss Friday night against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in a double overtime battle at the Sherman Family Sports Complex. Down 1-0 the majority of the game, the Huskies were eventually able to grab a goal in the fourth quarter to tie it up and force overtime play. The Scarlet Knights capitalized on a penalty stroke in the second overtime to win, making it Rutgers third ever victory over UConn out of the 33 life-time matchups between the two programs. Photo by Sofia Sawchuk/The Daily Campus

The win streak is no more.

After 15 straight victories against the Scarlet Knights, the Huskies fell to No. 15 Rutgers on Friday in a double overtime stunner, 2-1.

Both squads didn’t capitalize early, as neither team scored in the first quarter. The Scarlet Knights were the first on the board when Carly Snarski snuck one in early in the second quarter. Rutgers kept their offense rolling from there, creating a lot of pressure, but the Huskies didn’t let the relentless Scarlet Knights convert.

UConn came out strong in the second half, putting up a couple shots in the third while allowing none from the opposition. The Huskies had a great chance to score in the fourth quarter when freshman Sophia Ugo was able to get out in transition to force a 1-on-1 with the keeper. A nice save from Gianna Glatz was enough to keep the Huskies at bay, at least for the time being. Ugo got her revenge five minutes later, slipping one by Glatz off of a great feed from captain Kourtney Kennedy with seven minutes in regulation. Both teams were held scoreless until the whistle, so off to OT the game went.

In the two 10 minute, 7-v-7 periods, the Huskies had their chances. While the Golden Knights had more opportunities (five shots to UConn’s one), the Huskies came incredibly close to starting their season 2-1. With six minutes left in the second overtime period, a penalty corner was served up to senior Abby Gooderham, right at the top of the shooting circle.

Wide left.

Just a few minutes later, Rutgers was awarded a penalty stroke, which was converted by the team leader in points, Milena Redlingshoefer.

Ball game.

UConn’s defense was what kept them in contention Friday, as they held Rutgers to their lowest-scoring game so far this season, with an extra 20 minutes of game time. Goalkeeper Cheyenne Sprecher was stellar in this contest, only allowing two goals while saving seven shots. 

The defense kept their momentum moving into the rest of the weekend too, as they shut out UMass Lowell on Sunday, propelling the team to a 1-0 victory. The River Hawks were held to only five shots all game, two of which were on target. 

The second contest was more lopsided than the first, as the Huskies were able to retain possession for most of the match. They were able to generate 18 shots to UMass Lowell’s five, and earned seven penalty corners to the River Hawks’ three. 

Despite plenty of opportunities, UConn just couldn’t seem to hit the mark often in this match, with Ugo scoring her second career goal a few minutes into the second quarter. 

Sprecher wasn’t busy as often in the second game, but she sure showed up when needed. The two shots on goal from UMass Lowell came dangerously close to tying up the game at one apiece. Most notably, the Huskies lost possession off of a penalty corner, allowing the opposing team to transition. Defender Nanne Eijkman and Sprecher were left to defend a 4-on-2, with Eijkman blocking a pass through the shooting circle. Sprecher was able to capitalize on the deflection, knocking the ball away from the goal. 

This shutout marked the goalie’s 25th of her career, as well as her 50th win as a Husky. Look for her to keep making an impact on the defensive end, as UConn has only given up seven goals in four games.

While the defense has been outstanding thus far this season, the offense has been struggling. They are still averaging just one goal a game and have only scored twice in one contest. There will be some off games from the back line this year, and the front line needs to be there when that happens. Currently, the Huskies are looking for a consistent scoring threat. They have certainly had their opportunities, but need someone to break out and put the ball in the back of the net. The bright spot in this area so far is Ugo, who leads the team in goals, points, shots on goal and shots on goal percentage. She looks to continue her efficiency in putting shots on target, as UConn needs to assert themselves as a bigger threat offensively.

The Huskies look to improve upon their 2-2 record when they take on Boston College on the road. This should be a challenging game for UConn, as BC recently beat powerhouse Northwestern and are 4-0 to start the year. They finish the weekend at home against Syracuse, which has started the season 2-1.

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