On a cloudy Tuesday in the state capital of New York, the University of Connecticut women’s lacrosse squad took on the SUNY Albany Great Danes in a matchup of teams trending in opposite directions. The Huskies entered riding a five-game win streak, while the Great Danes had lost three of their last four. Although this one remained close throughout, the Huskies always felt in control, pulling away when they needed to and secure the victory.
Shaffer set the tone for the contest in the first three minutes, with a nice solo goal. Grace Coon added another, thanks to a nice feed from a red hot Lia LaPrise. Shaffer got her second on a strong drive to the net, maneuvering the ball past the keeper and tossing her stick in celebration. Over a four-minute stretch, the Huskies surrendered three straight goals, thanks to the efforts of Albany’s Courtney Rowe, Sarah Falk and Bryar Hogg, tying things up. To close up the first quarter, Shaffer completed the hat trick off a deep pass from Madelyn George — a really beautiful play.
Coon, Shaffer and George added a trio of solo goals to make it a 4-0 run, putting a considerable amount of pressure on the Danes. Kathryn Sancilio tacked on a goal to narrow the deficit to three, but Huskies star Sydney Watson responded with her first score of the matchup to end the half.
Rowe and Falk opened the third frame with a pair of goals in the first six minutes, once again pulling the difference back to two. Less than two minutes later, Watson took it upon herself to make it a 9-6 game, but Rowe once again bounced back with a score less than 50 seconds later. Over a 32-second span, Watson and Shaffer each added another to their large respective totals, doubling the UConn lead. Katie Pascale and Hogg continued to add to the push-pull feel of the game, grabbing two more goals to reduce the lead to just two again at 12-10.
Landyn White made a save with 6:36 left in the contest and heaved it to Watson at midfield, who then took the ball the rest of the way herself for the score. Shaffer and Watson each knocked in their sixth goals of the game and thanks to a Lauren Barry goal, the Huskies all of a sudden had extended their advantage to six. Rowe added her fourth of the game, but the damage was done, and UConn pulled out a nice 16-11 win.
SHAFFER BREAKS OUT
Kate Shaffer had 13 goals coming into the game against Albany. She increased this total by 46% on Tuesday, thanks to her massive six-goal effort. Shaffer scored early and often, which is a welcome sign to Huskies fans as they look for a tertiary option moving into the second half of the season. Watson and LaPrise have stolen the show offensively, but is now the time for Shaffer to shine? If she can be half as good as she was against the Danes in future games, the potential for the No. 22 Huskies is nearly unlimited.
WATSON CONTINUES DOMINANCE
Sydney Watson once again proved why she was named a preseason All American. Watson netted a season high six goals on Tuesday, adding to her current season total of 30, which is good for 20th in the nation. She is doing everything that the Huskies could be asking of her and more as the focal point of the offense. If she is named to the national first team, this game will be looked at as a signature moment in UConn’s season.