No. 19 University of Connecticut opened its season at a 1-1 record, and little did anyone know that the team would be entering early April as a winner of nine straight games, an all-time mark for the Huskies.
Yet, on Saturday, that’s exactly the case. Now, the Huskies are entering their toughest matchup of the season with a road game almost 2,000 miles away from Storrs. It’s certainly been a contest that’s been circled on the calendar since the beginning of the season.
Their opponent? The University of Denver, which stands with just a single loss to the No. 2 Boston College Eagles, making it one of the premier teams to beat in women’s lacrosse. There is indeed a reason that the Pioneers stand at No. 10 in the entire country according to USA Lacrosse magazine. They boast a 6-0 all-time record against the Huskies.
The Pioneers’ season has been filled with impressive wins over several top teams. Whether it was ranked programs like Stanford, Vanderbilt or Michigan, the team took care of business. Those wins are no easy task and exemplify why Denver is the toughest opponent that the Huskies will have played to date this season.
If you need to score and you’re Denver women’s lacrosse head coach Liza Kelly, your main option is undoubtedly graduate Bea Behrins. She’s been unstoppable this season with plenty of impeccable performances including her last matchup against Butler that included seven goals in a 17-8 Denver win. She’s also ranked No. 14 across the sport in total goals scored. Behrins is a main target for the Huskies to look out on Saturday.
There’s plenty more to the Pioneers than just Behrins. From freshman Lauren Black to junior Julia Gilbert, this team can score effortlessly. With the team’s mark of excellence on the scoring end, that puts a massive amount of pressure for senior Landyn White to bring her A game.
While the Huskies were able to win a close home matchup in their last game against Marquette in their first Big East action of the season, it was a shaky second half for White, who allowed 13 goals in the second half alone after giving up just 2 goals in the first half. She’ll need to shake off the performance and play her best for the Huskies the best shot possible at winning on Saturday.
Along with a dominant performance from White, UConn will need to continue to be aggressive on offense. UConn juniors Kate Shaffer, Sydney Watson and Lia LaPrise prove that UConn won’t go down easily when this offense is rolling.
It is sure to be a blockbuster Big East matchup for both programs. It will also be the inaugural pride game for Denver. The game will start at 2 p.m. EST and will be streamed via Denver’s website.