This weekend, the University of Connecticut Huskies played a pair of New England foes, beating each by more than nine goals to improve their season record to 3-1.
No Morrone? No problem. On Thursday, UConn took on the UMass Lowell River Hawks for their home opener. Theoretically, Lacrosse is supposed to be a spring sport, but an impending Nor’easter forced the Huskies to move the contest up a day and into the football practice facility, the Mark R. Shenkman Center. Without fans to cheer the Huskies on, they still pulled through big time, grabbing the 23-14 win.
Despite the final score, it took a moment for the Huskies to get their feet under them. The Riverhawks jumped out to a surprising 4-1 lead in the opening nine minutes, largely thanks to a goal and an assist from Emily Stratton to go along with a pair of Molly Shaw goals. The one Husky goal came from Sydney Watson, who took it all by herself to the net. UConn really got going in the later portion of the first quarter. Lia LaPrise got the party started with a nice dime to Stephanie Palmucci, who netted her second of the season. Watson got another one on her own and then LaPrise got Coon involved, assisting her shot. LaPrise decided it was her turn after her two dimes, putting in one of her own to cap off the 4-0 run in the span of 84 seconds. Megan Brockbank got one back for UMass Lowell to tie things up going into the second quarter of play.
Sophia Scialdone got the Riverhawks going in the second, with her first of the season just before Palmucci and LaPrise came right back with a pair of their own. Izzy Liquori evened the score, but Madelyn George and Kyra Place got the eighth and ninth goals of the game. With time dwindling prior to the half, Liquori got another to make it 9-8 at the break.
The third quarter is really where the Huskies got things going to put the game out of reach. Kate Schaffer got in on the fun with a solo goal and Place got her second of the game less than 15 seconds after. Watson then got her second hattrick of the season and Coon tagged on another to extend the lead to 13-8. Grace Hanson and Liquori scored a pair for Lowell to close the gap to three, but Watson’s typical shiftiness allowed her to score her fourth, fifth and sixth goals of the game all within the last three minutes of the third, bringing the advantage to 17-11.
Coon and Morgan Carter got two quick ones to start the final quarter, but Shaw and Jenn McCarry scored a pair for the Riverhawks. Lauren Barry, Abby Charron and Susan LaFountain each scored their first of the season in the closing minutes of the blowout, ultimately giving the Huskies a 23-14 win.
In their second game against New Hampshire, the Huskies just took complete advantage of the Wildcats from the get-go. Despite UNH’s Abby Cranney opening things up with a goal in the first two minutes, the Huskies responded big. Over the next two and a half minutes, they scored four unanswered goals, including two from Watson.
Kelsey MacCallum answered with a nice shot, but Place and Lafountain got two back. Over the final four minutes of the first quarter, the Huskies went on a 4-2 run to extend the lead to 10-4 going into the second.
Emily Curtis and Liv Dunn cut the Husky lead to four in the opening six minutes of the period, but UConn responded with a 3-0 run of their own. With less than a minute left in the half, Watson got her third hat trick in four games to put the Huskies up 14-7.
After the Wildcats opened the latter half with a pair of goals in the first four minutes, UConn blew things wide open. From the final 11:10 of the third quarter to 2:49 left in the game, the Huskies went on a 9-0 run. This run included two goals for LaPrise, effectively ending the game in a 23-10 win.
WATSON’S WONDERS – Watson continues to prove why she was named a preseason All American, notching 11 goals and four assists on the weekend. So far, Watson has definitively been the best player for the Huskies, with over 20 percent more points than the next most on the team. She hasn’t been terribly efficient on the year with a shot percentage of .393, but with her volume, she has been terrific. The Huskies will go as far as Watson takes them.
A GAME OF RUNS – The Huskies were unrelenting this weekend, going on a 4-0 run or better five different times, including their 9-0 run against Wildcats. This ability for UConn to just blow the game completely open over the course of mere seconds will make them deadly. It’s important to note that in each of those runs, Watson scored at least one, further establishing her core role on the team.
The Huskies will next travel to Amherst, MA to face UMass Amherst this Saturday.