Women’s Lacrosse: Huskies look to upset No. 12 James Madison in Maryland 

The UConn women’s lacrosse team beats Fairfield in a neck and neck game 18-17 in overtime. Their next game will be on the road against James Madison University on Saturday, Feb. 18. Photo by Jordan Arnold/The Daily Campus

It’s been one game and the Connecticut Huskies women’s lacrosse team has already produced a ton of excitement, barely edging out the Fairfield Stags in their opening game overtime thriller. This time, they’ll be headed to the U.S. Lacrosse Facility in Sparks, Maryland to take on the No. 12 James Madison Dukes in something of a grudge match.  

Last year, the Huskies had a phenomenal season, going 13-5. They were first handed the taste of defeat against the Dukes in their second game of the season and their final loss was also against James Madison, this time in the NCAA tournament. They lost both games by over six scores, an indication that JMU just had their number. Although former star Sydney Watson has graduated, there’s a chance that this team is more well-rounded than last year’s squad.  

They’ve returned almost everyone else, and after just one game, the vets look ready to step up. Kate Shaffer had career bests with seven goals and three assists in the outing, looking to prove just how much of a jump she’s made. If she can be the Huskies’ go-to player this year with production in the ballpark of what she did against the Stags, that’s a great omen for coach Katie Woods’ squad.  

Rayea Davis was the team’s biggest surprise though, finding the back of the target three times with a hat trick. She also peppered Fairfield’s two keepers with nine shots, which was tied for the team-high. The sophomore didn’t play a game last year with an injury and delivered some much-needed production to the team to get over the hump against the Stags. She scored the team’s final two goals — including the overtime winner — a critical part of the winning effort. In just her second game, Davis will be tested heavily, but regardless of her performance, it’ll be good exposure.  

James Madison got whacked 18-8 last year by Loyola Maryland the game after they beat UConn for the second time. The Huskies are the Dukes’ second most recent victory, as they’re 1-1 so far. They opened their season with a challenge, going down to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to take on No. 1 North Carolina. They didn’t win, but they also weren’t embarrassed, losing 14-9. Their next game came at Virginia Tech in a low-scoring affair that they won, 8-6. It was tight all the way, but a lockdown defensive second half helped JMU, as they only gave up a single goal.  

The player to watch is Isabella Peterson, who has been far and away the Dukes’ best weapon through two games. She has eight of the team’s 17 goals to go along with two assists. The team hangs their hat on defense, but when they do score, Peterson is at the focus of their attack, contributing to 59% of the team’s scoring.  

The biggest storyline will be UConn’s offense against James Madison’s defense. JMU has been on lock on defense, limiting the top team in the nation and shutting Virginia Tech down. UConn shined on offense in their lone game and will look to tear apart the Dukes behind Shaffer and Davis.  

The opening draw will be on Saturday at 12 p.m. EST.  

Leave a Reply