WLAX: Huskies win close Senior Day matchup against Wildcats  

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After an upsetting loss against Denver, the University of Connecticut continued its streak of never being a team to give up. The day of celebration at Morrone Stadium simply added motivation for their 11th win of the season. 

It was truly fitting that on UConn’s Senior Day, their star set of seniors shined, especially in a close matchup. After a slow start to the game and an early 4-1 deficit, the Huskies started firing on all cylinders with late first quarter goals from seniors Stephanie Palmucci and Lia LaPrise. 

LaPrise, a top tier player for the Huskies this year, was effective on all areas of the field in Saturday’s victory. Whether that was on the scoring end with three goals, helping out her teammates with two assists or grabbing a team-leading six draw controls, her impact was truly felt by the Huskies in their victory. 

Even before Saturday’s game, the team faced two close games against tough opponents in Marquette and Denver. So, when the Huskies were faced with another tough competitor in the Wildcats that certainly had the potential to go down to the wire, the team was prepared. The team’s slow start in the first quarter did not faze its performance and the Huskies were able to take a one-point lead into the second half. 

It certainly wasn’t helping that Villanova looked especially dangerous on the scoring end, with valuable contributions from Caroline Curnal and Sydney Pappas. Curnal was a main contributor in giving some quick and early momentum to the Wildcats, and it only took off from there. Pappas, who had four goals on the day, was a key contributor in the first half and did not give senior Landyn White an easy time at all.   

Going into the second half with an 8-7 lead, the Huskies knew they had to strike with force if they wanted to regain momentum. After a goal from Pappas, UConn proceeded to score five straight goals with not a single Villanova goal in retaliation. The senior team of LaPrise, Palmucci, Sydney Watson and Grace Coon were huge in what was a true show of strength.  

Going into the final quarter of the game with a 13-8 lead and plenty of momentum, UConn had to focus on closing out a successful Senior Day game. They could not have a replication of their early Saturday matchup with Marquette, where the team allowed seven goals in the fourth quarter and put the game into jeopardy. Unfortunately, Villanova was ready to make the Huskies fight for Saturday’s win. 

The final quarter of Saturday’s game was all Villanova. The team replicated Marquette’s brilliant scoring against the Huskies with seven goals, including three from Olivia Piccirilli. The Wildcats senior was nearly able to ruin the celebration of Saturday’s Senior Day festivities with two late-quarter goals. Unfortunately for Villanova, their efforts were simply too late. 

The nail in the coffin came with a late game goal from Susan LaFoutain with just 2:33 on the clock along with three fouls on the Wildcats. UConn was able to close out the narrow victory from there. 

After this win, the team now heads to historic grounds of Reese Stadium in New Haven, Conn. to take on Yale University in one of their final games of the season.  

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