This Saturday, the University of Connecticut Huskies (3-1, 0-0) women’s lacrosse squad will play their first game of the season as an unranked team, despite winning their previous two games by a combined 22 goals. This matchup will be against their third straight New England state school foe, the UMass Amherst Minutemen, who are also 3-1.
UMass has had a very similar season to the Huskies so far in the way it’s been constructed. The Minutemen began the year with an 18-4 rout over UMass Lowell, who UConn just beat 23-14. They then hosted the No. 1 Boston College Eagles and were trounced, losing 22-5 in a contest that wasn’t ever close. A week later, they bounced back against Vermont and Boston University, winning those two games 17-11 and 21-6, respectively.
It’s hard to read into their schedule, as they’ve either been the completely overmatched team or have completely overmatched their opponents. This game against the Huskies should provide both teams with a nice close game, to serve as a barometer for how good each team really is. Massey projects the Minutemen to win by just two, essentially meaning that this could be anybody’s game.
Taking a closer look into the Minutemen, it is clear that most of their production comes from the two-headed monster of Kendra Harbinger and Alex Finn.
Harbinger, a graduate student midfielder from New York has had a profound impact on the team, leading the way with 16 points. She has three hat tricks in just four games on an efficient shooting percentage of 66.7%. She also leads the team in game-winning goals, holding two of the team’s three in that statistic. Her best game came in their opener against BU, where she led the way with a trio of both goals and assists. On the other hand, when she is shut-down, it’s hard for the team to get anything going. She just managed one goal and no assists in the Eagles’ rout of the Minutemen, but the entire team was silenced there.
The other head? That would be Alex Finn, junior attacker out of Massachusetts, who barely trails Harbinger with 15 points. The next best player on the team has eight, for reference. Her best game by far was in the same, explosive BU blowout, where she arguably had a better game than Harbinger, with five goals and two assists. She doesn’t have any games since with more than three points, but is hyper-efficient with a 83.3% shooting percentage.
For the Huskies, things have been all Sydney Watson. The preseason All American senior has been as good as any player in the nation so far, with a team high 22 points. The scoring machine has 16 goals, including a whopping 11 in the past two games. She’s added six assists which is a team high, but really has demonstrated her true prowess in putting the ball in the net. One of the most encouraging things about Watson’s play is her inefficiency, shooting just 47.1%. If she can get those numbers up a bit over the 50% mark, she could become even more electric.
Another player who has excelled lately is attacking senior Lia LaPrise. In her past two games, she has 11 points, which includes seven goals and four assists. LaPrise has been a clear second option behind Watson and will really need to play well if UConn wants to walk out of Amherst with a victory.
The thing to watch for here will be which team can take more control on the scoring end. Per Massey, both teams are in the top 20 nationally in offensive efficiency, so the biggest focus for each will be how to best exert their will on that side of the field.
The game will be held at Garber Field in Amherst, Mass. at 1:00 p.m. and will not be televised.