The Big East women’s lacrosse season is short, making each game all the more valuable. Going in, the No. 25 UConn had already played 10 of their 16 contests and were a strong 7-3. Their first opponent of the conference slate, Villanova, came in similarly successful with a mark of 8-3 that was good for a KPI rank of 25 nationally.
Regardless of any games that happened prior, the Huskies blew the Wildcats off their home field, a testament to how far they’ve come from struggling against Fairfield early in the year. They’ve put together four straight wins and look stronger in each one they play. With the seven-goal margin in Wednesday’s, it was clearly their most complete win of the year.
Grace Coon has been on a tear lately and it continued against the Cats. She netted four goals and added two assists, continuing to push forward as the team’s second best scorer. It’s been a great graduate season for Coon, who now has at least a hat-trick in each of her past four outings. She will be a critical piece for UConn if they hope to make some noise in the Big East schedule and later the postseason.
It’s hard to mention UConn without Kate Shaffer too, the senior who’s had an amazing season, improving on her success from late last year. Building on her team-leading position in scoring and passing, Shaffer poured in two goals and three helpers. The attacker has been invaluable for the Huskies this year, as the leader and biggest reason why they’re where they are.
The game started out relatively even, with the teams trading a few goals to make it 3-2 Villanova halfway through the first period. As good as things looked for the Wildcats at that point, the wheels completely fell off. Morgan Carter, Kyra Place, Coon and Lia LaPrise each netted goals to give the Huskies a 6-4 lead at the end of the quarter.
Cara Moreau tried to turn the tide with a goal of her own early in the second period, but it had the exact opposite effect. Over the last 12 minutes of the quarter, the Huskies outscored Villanova 6-0, with Coon and Susan Lafountain each putting two past the keeper. This gave them an unexpected, yet commanding cushion going into the locker room up 12-5.
They didn’t stop pushing in the second half, as Shaffer and Sophie Sorenson netted the first two scores. After the Wildcats managed to put in a goal, LaPrise gave them no time to celebrate with a pair of her own in the next three minutes. With the advantage ballooned all the way to 10 with just one frame remaining, the Huskies turned off the jets. Four different Villanova players found their way onto the stat-sheet, but Madelyn George had the final say, rocketing in her fifth of the season.
That just about wrapped things up, with the Huskies coming out with a 19-12 victory. It was dominating, and bodes well for their chances in their last five games. Their next chance comes against their toughest opponent of the season though, as they’ll have to make it through No. 4 Denver — a team they’ve never beaten — at home this Saturday.