Women’s Lacrosse: No. 16 Huskies return home against Villanova 

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The UConn women’s lacrosse team narrowly defeats Marquette, capturing a 18-15 win on April 2, 2022 in Morrone Stadium in Storrs, CT. This victory added to the Huskies win streak, extending it to nine in a row. Photo by Sofia Sawchuk / The Daily Campus.

For the first time in program history, the UConn women’s lacrosse team is ranked as high as No. 16 in the nation according to Massey, a massive stepping stone in a successful year. The Huskies are currently 10-2 overall and have two of the best scorers in the sport. Sydney Watson and Kate Shaffer are each in top 50 in goals per game, headlining the offense. Their last contest came in a heartbreaker at No. 9 Denver in a matchup where they led for most of the game. They lost the lead late in the fourth quarter but still managed to force overtime, although the result still ended up being a Pioneer win. This loss did earn the Huskies respect though, vaulting them up from No. 20. 

Their opponent for this game should be considerably easier, with the unranked Villanova Wildcats coming to Storrs. The Wildcats are 4-9 on the campaign and are 0-4 against ranked foes. Their closest such game came against current No. 19 Michigan Wolverines in a double overtime thriller. Villanova’s best win was in their Alumni Game over UC Davis, where they weathered the storm and grabbed the victory, largely thanks to Sydney Pappas’ five goal effort.  

Pappas, a New York native, stands as the Wildcats’ most prolific option as of late. Including the UC Davis game, Pappas has paced the team in scoring with 18 goals in the last five games, carrying her season total of 27. As a freshman, Pappas’ performances represent a bright future for Villanova’s program, although this season hasn’t quite turned out as the Wildcats pictured. Giving Pappas the starts and minutes will be critical as she continues to develop through ‘Nova’s program.  

Caroline Curnal has been considerably more consistent this year, which makes sense as a senior leader for the squad. After not scoring in the first game of the year at William and Mary, the Connecticut native has scored in each of the last 11 games, notching multiple in nine of those contests. Her best performance came in a blowout over Lafayette, where she scored five goals along with an assist. If the Wildcats want to pull off the upset, they will need Curnal and Pappas to be clicking.  

The UConn women’s lacrosse team narrowly defeats Marquette, capturing a 18-15 win on April 2, 2022 in Morrone Stadium in Storrs, CT. This victory added to the Huskies win streak, extending it to nine in a row. Photo by Sofia Sawchuk / The Daily Campus.

For the Huskies, the key player will be Kate Shaffer. The biggest question is whether she can keep up the best stretch of her career. In the past six games (five wins), Shaffer has recorded a hat trick in each contest, reaching the five goal mark four times and six goals once. In the Denver game, Shaffer had three goals and three assists, demonstrating her multi-dimensionality. The Huskies should be able to win the game pretty easily, but keeping Shaffer in rhythm as the regular season comes to an end will be a critical mission.  

The game will stream on FloSports this Saturday at 1 p.m.  

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