Field Hockey: Huskies take on old foe in Lady Flames 

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10/2/2022 FH vs. Princeton by Sofia Sawchuk, Associate Photo Editor UConn field hockey suffers a 4-2 loss against the ranked Princetown Tigers on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022 at the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex in Storrs, CT. This defeat makes the Huskies record 7-3 overall for the season.

Tournament season has finally arrived! After a rough end to the year, the No. 14 UConn field hockey team look to carry their impressive play through Friday’s meet with No. 19 Liberty University in the first round of the Big East Championship. Though the Huskies are clearly ranked above the Lady Flames in national polling, don’t be fooled — Liberty has been, in recent history, one of the biggest thorns in UConn’s side, so they will look to turn the tides come gametime. 

Since we’ve reached the playoffs, it’s certainly worth diving into the great regular season the Huskies had, especially with how quickly they started. Through their first seven games, UConn won six matches despite the fact that they had to face five ranked opponents in a row. Though they lost to then-No. 8 Rutgers, they reeled off a string of wins, taking down No. 15 Harvard, previously-No. 24 Delaware, No. 13 Old Dominion, and then-No. 16 William and Mary. After such a bombastic beginning, they began to cool off as they hit a brick in the form of none other than their upcoming opponents, Liberty, losing 4-0 at home. That was quite the staggering blow, as Connecticut failed to find their footing again for most of the rest of the season. Though they might defeat inferior competition like Quinnipiac or Georgetown, or even keep it close against another top-25 team like No. 16 Boston College or No. 2 Maryland, the Huskies slid most of the rest of the way, going 5-5 to end their season at 11-6. What’s worse for UConn is that they also lost to Big East rival Temple in their last conference match of the season, finally removing the Huskies from the debate for No. 1 seed in the conference. Regardless, this team can fight, and if they play like they did against Maryland against any future team that comes their way, foes would have to be wary of their might. 

Now, let’s pivot to the Liberty Lady Flames. They come into Friday as the defending Big East champs, looking to keep their crown while taking on the same foe that they faced to win that crown last year. They’ve seen a drop-off in results since they got that crown on their heads, with their overall record dipping from an astronomical 20-3, good enough for a regular top-5 spot, to a much more mediocre 10-7. They’ve also seen some odd losses during this regular season, like ones to William and Mary, James Madison, and Old Dominion — teams they would have dominated less than a year ago. Regardless, they know what it takes to defeat (especially in a convincing fashion) the Huskies, as they do boast a spectacular 4-0 shutout win over them despite being a lesser team. That easily makes Liberty the most dangerous team for UConn in the Big East bracket, because it just seems like the Flames have the Huskies’ number. 

This could be the start of quite the tale for the 2022 UConn field hockey team. If they can take down a team that haunts them like the Lady Flames do, there’s no telling how far they could make it in the Big Dance. If the Huskies win, they would play the winner of Temple/Old Dominion on Sunday to compete for their first championship since the Spring 2021 season. 

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