This Saturday, the No. 15 University of Connecticut women’s lacrosse team is set to play its second game of the week and its final home contest of the year against the Butler Bulldogs. The Huskies are fresh off a convincing win at Yale in a matchup that featured seven goals from senior Grace Coon. Coon has recorded at least a point in every game this season, but her seven goals is a season high on points and a career high on scoring. Sydney Watson also impressed on Wednesday, notching four goals and three assists.
So far this season, the Huskies have been incredibly successful. They sit at 12-2, with both losses coming to current top 11 teams in the country. Their current standing in the polls is the highest in program history and puts them in good position to make the NCAA tournament.
Butler, on the other hand, hasn’t been nearly as successful. The team sits at 6-7 in games against Division I opponents and has struggled to find consistency. According to Massey, the Bulldogs are the 90th best team in the country, while UConn is 22nd. Their best win is a one-point road win against Kennesaw State in a back-and-forth contest.
At the focal point of the Butler offense is junior Campbell Connors, who leads the team in goals with 35 on the year. She has also added eight assists, but doesn’t focus as much on that part of the game. She’s recorded the stat line of five goals and two assists twice, one in a close loss to Duquesne and the other in a blowout win over Detroit. The team’s success isn’t necessarily dependent on Connors’ production, but if she doesn’t have it going, it could be tough to keep up with the fast paced Connecticut squad.
The key facilitator for the Bulldogs is none other than junior Greer Bireley, who has more than double the assists of the next best distributor on the team. Bireley has 30 dimes on the year, with her best game coming against Saint Ambrose, where she notched four assists. She has double digit games with multiple assists, so her presence will be something for the Huskies to watch out for.
For UConn, the biggest storyline will be whether Coon can replicate her dominant performance from Wednesday. It’s unlikely that she’ll get the same seven goals, but anything in the vicinity would do wonders for the Huskies’ chance of winning. Of the 14 games Coon has played this season, she has recorded a hat trick in seven of them, but never in consecutive games.
Another player to watch for will naturally be Watson, who was recently tabbed as a Tewaaraton Award finalist, an award that recognizes the NCAA’s best lacrosse player. Watson has combined for 27 points in her last five games and will look to add to the total on Saturday. The Huskies shouldn’t have too much of a hard time winning, as they have demonstrated the ability to consistently beat teams they are better than.
The contest will be streamable on FloSports on Saturday at 11 a.m. EST and will be played at Morrone Stadium.