Spring Recap: Huskies shine over break

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It’s been quite a while since we’ve produced a newspaper (May 6th and over 110 days to be exact). While covering sports here at the Daily Campus is one of the best things to do as a UConn student, we don’t get to cover the end of the spring season since school isn’t in session. With that being said, how did our spring sports teams fare this past year? Let’s take a look:

Writer’s Note: Although we covered the end of the tennis season, the team is recapped here as well.

Baseball (50-16)

What a historic season for the Huskies. HookC continued their dominance over the conference en route to its second straight regular season title and a Big East Championship win. The squad tied a program record with 43 regular season victories and finished one win away from a trip to the College World Series in Omaha, falling short 2-1 in a two-game set against second-seeded Stanford. Their 50 total wins set a record for most ever by a New England team.

With the team’s successes came plenty of awards for individual Huskies. Seven HookC members took home All-New England First and Second Team honors, with ace Austin Peterson also being named an All-American. Peterson, slugger Erik Stock and skipper Jim Penders swept the New England awards, taking home Pitcher, Player and Coach of the Year, respectively. Penders’ continued efforts of making this team a regional powerhouse earned him a five-year extension through 2027 this offseason.

“The strength of the University of Connecticut’s commitment to Jim Penders and his staff is matched only by Jim’s commitment and love for UConn,” said athletic director David Benedict. “The 2022 baseball season was exciting, and the future is even brighter with Jim and his staff continuing to lead the program.”

For many of the graduating Huskies, their journey is not over. Five Huskies were either drafted in the MLB Amateur Draft or signed as an undrafted free agent, including first rounder Reggie Crawford. The two-way star became the eighth HookC player to be an MLB first round pick, following in the footsteps of All-Stars George Springer and Matt Barnes.

Softball (38-18)

While the baseball team certainly showed out this spring, the softball team turned quite a few heads as well, putting together a 20-4 conference record. The Huskies ended the year a game short of a Big East Championship and an NCAA Tournament bid for the second straight year, but still had plenty to celebrate. UConn clinched its first Big East regular season title, and its first since 1997, in walk-off fashion against Villanova in early May.

There was plenty of conference recognition for the Huskies as well, as Sami Barnett, Briana Marcelino and Elise Sokolsky earned All-Big East First Team honors. Reese Guevarra and Lexi Hastings took home Second Team nominations and Laura Valentino’s crew won Coaching Staff of the Year in just her third year as head coach. The program reached 30 wins for the first time since 2001 and broke several single season records on both sides of the diamond. While Barnett, Marcelino, Guevarra and the rest of the departing Huskies will be missed, the team is looking forward to an even stronger 2023.

Women’s Lacrosse (13-5)

In her last dance with coach Katie Woods and the UConn lax program, star Sydney Watson helped her team put on a show all season long, finishing the year ranked No. 21 in the nation. While falling to both No. 12 Denver and No. 10 James Madison in the Big East Semifinals and the NCAA Tournament, respectively, the season had plenty of bright spots. The team finished 8-0 at home, never failing to impress the crowd at Morrone Stadium.

Five individuals earned All-Conference nods, with Watson and goalie Landyn White earning All-American honors as well. Watson continued her award dominance with a second straight Big East Midfielder of the year. She ended her UConn career as the program’s leading scorer with 205 and finished second all-

time in points with 271. Her 526 career draw controls smash the previous program record and ranks fourth in women’s college lacrosse all-time, cementing a national legacy. White, meanwhile, was the Big East Goalkeeper of the year, leading the conference in saves. She posted an impressive .454 save percentage.

Men’s Golf

The UConn men’s golf team saw another successful season, highlighted by sophomore’s Caleb Manuel earning the title of individual co-champion at the Big East tournament. The Huskies gave it their all, but a hiccup on the third day, coupled with a surging Seton Hall squad thwarted their back-to-back conference champion hopes. Manuel’s big win was the first in the tournament since Brian Ahern in 1994 and earned him a trip to the Regional at Yale, where he placed 15th out of 75 golfers. His career average through 18 holes is just under 72, a program-best mark sure to build up hype for the coming years.

While working on his craft over the summer, graduate student Jared Nelson has seen success as well. Nelson advanced as far as match play at the 122nd U.S. Amateur Championship, joining a select pool of 64 golfers out of over 7,500 participants.

Women’s Tennis (10-12)

It truly was a season of ups and downs for the women’s tennis team, starting the spring 7-3 before crashing back to Earth with a 1-8 stretch. While among the coldest of teams to start the Big East Tournament, the Huskies were able to get a solid upset victory over Villanova in the first round before falling to top seeded St. John’s. Isabel Petri Bere, Julieanne Bou, Leonie Hoppe and Aleksandra Karamyshev all finished with positive singles and doubles records on the year.

Men’s and Women’s Track and Field

The track and field team saw plenty of successes in 2022, as the combined men’s and women’s program took both Big East Championship trophies home, as well as both Coaching Staff of the Year awards handed out by the conference. It was the women’s team’s first Big East title since 1995, while the men repeated as champions. It was the first time in program history that both teams took home the gold in outdoor track.

47 Huskies won All-Big East awards, no small task for the dual champs. At the Big East Championships, 14 UConn athletes won gold, including seniors Mia Nahom (3000m steeplechase) and Eric Van Der Els (1500m). Van Der Els took his talents all the way to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, where he earned All-American recognition for his 20th place finish in the 5000m.

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