Field Hockey: UConn continues to struggle following tough road trip 

UConn field hockey loses a close match against Rutgers with a score of 1-2 in double over-time on Sept 1, 2023. Their season record is now 1-2. Photo by Skyler Kim/The Daily Campus.

It was a weekend to forget for the UConn women’s field hockey team. The Huskies traveled out to face Cornell on Friday, then yesterday visited Syracuse to face the No. 7 Orangemen. Despite dropping both of these matchups, the Huskies had moments where they looked like they could take over, however, their offensive opportunities seldom panned out, putting up a single goal this weekend. This has been their kryptonite all season long, as they average one goal per contest. Despite UConn’s offensive woes, the program’s defense has been excellent, conceding an average of just two goals per game.  

Husky fans are feeling heartbroken following Friday’s loss to Cornell, considering that the game got off to the start they desired. It took not even five minutes for Connecticut’s Julianna Kratz to find the back of the cage, partly due to the team’s aggressiveness on offense. The Huskies had five shots in the first quarter, including three penalty corners; this put immense pressure on the Big Read Bears, who only had a single shot all quarter long. Despite all of the good things UConn did in the first quarter, its offense fell off a cliff as the Huskies failed to garner any significant chances off of four shots in the final three quarters. Interestingly enough, Cornell’s offense also struggled as they had fewer shots than UConn, yet they were more precise. It took 44 minutes for Caroline Ramsey to put her team on the board; however, her night was far from over. Connecticut conceded a penalty corner, and this opportunity was enough for Ramsey as she smashed her second goal of the contest just seven minutes later–good enough to give Cornell a 2-1 advantage and their first win of the season. 

The Husky’s second fixture of the weekend was never a close one as, again, Connecticut’s offense never got anything going. The only thing that kept UConn in the game was its defense, as the offense failed to put up a shot in the first half, which was a testament to Syracue’s elite defense and the struggles of Connecticut’s offense. Willemijn Boogert put the Orangemen on the board with an excellent hustle play. Natalie McKenna had a save on Boogert’s initial shot; however, she could not corral the rebound, and in turn, Boogert slammed in the second chance opportunity to give her squad the early 1-0 advantage. A penalty corner catalyzed Syracuse’s first score, which is similar to how they found their second goal of the game, as this time it was Eefke Nieuwenhof exposing UConn’s defense. The Huskies would put up a lone two shots on goal for the second half, both of which Brooke Borzymowski had no problem saving. Despite a significant lead, the Orangemen kept the pedal to the metal: with seven seconds left, Amber Coebergh had a long goal for her squad to secure a 3-0 Orangmen victory and extend their undefeated streak to 5-0.  

Undoubtedly, the Huskies have yet to get off to the start they desired. They sit unranked with a 1-5 record and a schedule that is just as challenging as their first six games. Despite being on a four-game skid, there is plenty of time time for the Huskies to turn their season around, as they have 12 games left, including seven against Big East opponents. Coming into the season, many saw UConn as a top-ranked team in the country, yet despite it not playing out that way, its defense has played at an elite level. Fans could see that on display this weekend, as the lack of offensive chances is what lost the Huskies their last two games.  

Historically speaking, UConn’s offensive production hasn’t always been this poor. Over the previous two seasons, the Huskies have averaged two goals a game, yet in the four-season span between 2017 and 2020, they had one season where they failed to put up four goals a game, which was in 2019. In that season, UConn went 19-4 and put up over three goals a game, which was undoubtedly a successful campaign. There’s no way to sugarcoat it.  

If Connecticut wants to find success and earn top-dog status as a premier field hockey team, they need to generate more offense. If the program can find a way to create more offensive opportunities and maintain their electric defense, fans should expect to see more Husky wins in the future. 

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