A program can be nationally ranked, boast top players in the country and be riding win streaks, but even with a home matchup, other teams can just have their number.
The No. 25 UConn women’s lacrosse team learned this the hard way on Saturday, falling to No. 3 Denver 14-9. This was the eighth meeting between the two programs and the eighth straight loss for the Huskies.
It took five minutes of back-and-forth play to start the game, but Connecticut’s Lia Laprise put her team on the board first, striking the ball past Pioneer goalkeeper Emelia Bohi. Denver took little time to retaliate, putting away three unanswered goals to take a 3-1 lead. Not afraid of a little competition, the Huskies responded in a big way. Laprise and leading scorer Kate Shaffer added two more goals, evening things out at 3-3.
One thing was clear early on in Saturday’s contest – unlike the Pioneers’ first two Big East matchups, the Huskies would put up a fight. However, at some points during the match, Denver’s sheer offensive talent took over, as they added five straight goals between the end of the first quarter and start of the second quarter. Despite a 2-1 run to cap off the half thanks to goals from Madelyn George and Grace Coon, Connecticut entered the break trailing 9-5.
Opening up the third quarter was the Pioneer offense yet again, striking twice before George stopped the bleeding with a goal of her own. Denver added two more scores alongside a Rayea Davis strike, but with the period winding down, the contest looked to be all but over heading into the fourth.
Susan Lafountain would add her first two goals of the day in the last six minutes of the contest, but at that point it was too little too late for the Huskies, falling 14-9 to their Big East rivals.
All in all, UConn was just outclassed by this top-three team in the nation. The Pioneers outshot the home team by eight and won 13 more draw controls. The matchup was heavily decided on free position opportunities, with UConn converting on just one of its eight attempts. The visitors, on the other end, made eight of their 11 free position shots.
Even star goalkeeper Landyn White had a tough day at the office, facing what is surely the best offense she’s seen all year long. White allowed 14 goals with only eight saves, far from the .519 save percentage she boasted entering the day. Three Pioneers earned hat tricks: Ryan Dineen, Sloane Kipp and Julia Gilbert.
While the Huskies certainly aren’t happy with a defeat, they shouldn’t hang their heads too low. Denver has long been the top dogs of the Big East, currently undefeated with wins over five ranked teams, including two that were in the top five at the time of victory.
With the loss, the Huskies fell to 8-4 and 1-1 in Big East play, snapping what was a four-game winning streak. They have a week’s break to rebound, heading out to Milwaukee to take on Marquette this upcoming Saturday. That game will start at 12 p.m. EST and will be broadcast live on FloSports.