After a 1-1 weekend split including a tough loss to No. 8 Maryland on Sunday, the No. 18 UConn field hockey team looks to bounce back against Big East rival Georgetown and No. 20 UMass Amherst at home.
This season, the Huskies (8-8, 4-1 Big East) have been a rollercoaster ride, beating up teams they were projected to, while suffering the wrath of a brutal non-conference schedule. When most of the matchups are against teams like No. 5 Northwestern and No. 6 Syracuse, it’s hard to get the proverbial ball rolling over a stretch of games. Every one of UConn’s eight losses came at the hands of a Top 25 squad, according to the NFHCA Coaches Poll. Half of those games were lost by only one goal, a testament to the Huskies’ fight and talent, even against tough competition.
While UConn has a plethora of scoring options at any given moment, the team’s goal leaders are Sophia Ugo, McKenna Sergi and Claire Jandewerth, tallying eight, seven and six goals apiece, respectively. Ugo leads the Huskies in points with 18, while she and Abby Gooderham have taken a team-high 37 shots each thus far.
UConn has been fairly dominant on the defensive end this year, ranking No. 12 in the nation in shutouts with six. The unit is led by graduate student and former Big East Defensive Player of the Year Cheyenne Sprecher, who is ranked No. 16 in the country in save percentage.
Georgetown (8-7, 2-3 Big East) has experienced an up-and-down season full of streaks. After starting the season 2-0, the Hoyas immediately succumbed to a four game losing streak, only to win four of their next five. They are currently trending in the downward direction, losing their last contest to Saint Francis in a penalty shootout. Their only ranked games were against conference rivals No. 9 Liberty and No. 15 Old Dominion, which were both losses.
The Hoyas, similar to the Huskies, don’t have a defined goal scorer. The top strikers on the team are Sophie Towne and Emma van der Veen with just five goals apiece.
UMass (10-5, 3-2 Atlantic 10) is enjoying yet another successful season. While its non-conference schedule isn’t as strenuous as UConn’s, it has faced some quality competition and proven its worth. Its last two contests against ranked teams have been fruitful, taking down No. 10 Boston College and No. 11 Saint Joseph’s. However, the Minutewomen have struggled in conference play, getting upset by unranked teams like VCU and, most recentlym Richmond this past Sunday.
UMass has plenty of scoring options on this squad, with 14 different Minutewomen tallying at least one goal this year. The team is led by graduate student Georgie McTear, who has six goals and 12 total points. Look for her to make an impact in this game, as she has scored three goals in UMass’ last four matchups. While the Georgetown game is slightly less worrisome, Sprecher and the defense will have their work cut out for them.
Besides the Huskies going for their fourth ranked win on the year, there is a little extra for the team to play for on Sunday: Senior Day. Unfortunately, the details of the pregame event and a list of which players will be honored is currently unavailable. However, with even more to play for on the table, look for UConn to have a big homestand this weekend.