Field Hockey: Huskies end season on a sour note

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10-30-2022 FHOC vs. Maryland, by Skyler Kim, Staff Photographer. UConn Women’s Field Hockey competes against Maryland on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022. Maryland’s second goal in the final quarter handed the Huskies their sixth loss of the season.

Though the UConn field hockey team fought hard this past weekend, they managed to fall short in both of their matches. First, on Friday, UConn started slow and lost to unranked Big East rival Temple 3-2. Then, on Sunday, in a grueling slugfest, it lost a heartbreaker in double overtime to No. 2 Maryland 2-1, capping off a season that was, despite how the regular season ended, a very good one. 

The Huskies first match of the weekend was a crucial one against a conference rival in the Temple Owls, whom UConn had to defeat in order to maintain a high seed in the Big East standings. Despite the urgency of the situation, Connecticut could not get out of the gate from the offset. It all started in the sixth minute, when the Owls’ Tess Muller netted one with relatively little resistance, and everything just snowballed from there. Temple got another goal at the 26:09 mark off the stick of Myrthe Schuilenburg, assisted by Alize Maes, and the half came to a close at 2-0. No matter what halftime speech might have been given, the Huskies still came out sluggish on the other side of the break, as they let in yet another goal from Temple, this time from Sydney Beck, assisted by Muller. At this point, they were more than two-thirds into their last, most important Big East matchup of the year, and they were down 3-0. They could not have put themselves in a worse spot, and sure enough, they never quite could dig themselves out of that deficit. UConn’s Jasmijn Damma scored right at the end of the 55th minute and Claire Jandewerth added another via a penalty stroke at the 59:04 mark to put Connecticut just within reach of a tie, but it was too little, too late. Despite the Huskies’ advantage in shots (15-8), shots on goal (8-6) and penalty corners (5-2), a stagnant start kept them from having a real chance to win this game. 

Now for the more encouraging game of the weekend against the second-ranked Maryland Terrapins. Given how poorly it performed on Friday, UConn came to play Sunday, and it really showed: after a scoreless first quarter, Jandewerth struck again off an assist from Madison Dipietro to put the Huskies up in the 18th minute. The Huskies would hold that lead through the rest of the second quarter and head into the half with an improbable 1-0 lead on the second best team in the country. Already, they’d shown much more fight than they did against Temple. However, only two minutes and 34 seconds into the second half, Maryland got their equalizer from Hope Rose with a great entry pass by Bibi Donraadt. That’s when it really turned into a nailbiter: both teams tried their hardest to put one in the back of their opponents’ net, but to no avail, and the score would stay 1-1 through the third and eventually to the end of regulation. The first overtime came, but neither squad budged. There certainly were chances, but good defense held both squads in check, as it had all game, and soon a double overtime was necessary to crown a victor. After an impressive stand at near their own crease, the Terrapins gained one final surge of energy and powered the ball down the field into an exhausted Husky defense that finally relented, and at the 74:42 mark, the match finally ended 2-1 in Maryland’s favor. The overall stats also demonstrate just how close it was the whole way: UConn led in total shots (18-15), Maryland led in shots on goal (7-6), UConn won the corner battle (11-6) and both squads tied in saves. In a test of ultimate willpower, Maryland just barely managed to hang on to end what was probably Connecticut’s hardest fought game of the year. 

Despite how disappointing that finish was for the Huskies, there were lessons learned during this weekend that should be incredibly useful going into their first match of the tournament season on Tuesday. They’ll look to use their tried-and-true winning strategy of playing aggressive all match and never slowing down to inch their way to a potential Big East championship. 

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