Field Hockey: Huskies return to winning ways after splitting a pair of tough contests 

UConn field hockey loses a close match against Rutgers with a score of 1-2 in double over-time on Sept 1, 2023. Huskies look to gain momentum this weekend in games against Georgetown and Delaware . Photo by Skyler Kim/The Daily Campus

The UConn women’s field hockey team’s weekend did not start off hot as they dropped their first Big East matchup against Temple University. Despite dropping their fifth straight matchup, the women looked forward and put together their best performance so far, handing Princeton University their fourth loss this season, a contest that was expected to be a close one.  

Connecticut’s fixture against Princeton also appeared to be an offensive awakening for the Huskies as they created many opportunities and found the back of the cage three times. This offensive explosion for Connecticut on Sunday has seldom been seen as their loss against Temple and struggles throughout the season illustrate this very point.  

Huskies fans were disappointed with their team’s performance on Friday when they opened conference play with a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat. It was a contest where their defense shined but offense was nowhere to be found as not only did they fail to score, but they didn’t even put up a shot in the fourth quarter. While it may be easy to look at the final score and call Connecticut’s offense dormant, that was not the case on Friday. However, one could argue that Temple’s offense was just as inactive.  

The Owls only managed to get five shots past the Husky defense. Connecticut’s defense was playing their Big East rivals so tough that in two quarters, the Owls failed to get a shot off at all —  a testament to the high-level of defense UConn plays at. The Huskies’ best opportunities to find the back of the cage came in the second and third periods, where they outran, outhustled and most importantly outshot Temple by a massive 9-2 deficit.  

The Huskies had a whopping 8-0 advantage in penalty corners for the two middle quarters. Despite Connecticut’s many opportunities, the Temple defense and goalkeeper Molly Frey kept the Huskies at bay, not allowing a goal or shot in the fourth quarter either. The only goal conceded by UConn that proved to be the decider came in the fourth quarter off of a rebound on a penalty corner.  

Despite the close loss, the tides are turning for this young team as their defense continues to play well time and time again. Goalkeeper Natalie McKenna continues to look great, and while the scoreboard might not reflect it, the Connecticut offense is playing better field hockey than we have been accustomed to at this point. 

Sunday’s showdown against Princeton was the highlight of the season for the women as their 3-1 victory showcased that they can compete with any team on any given day. Connecticut outperformed their Ivy League opponent for the first three quarters, outshooting them 5-1. However, they failed to find the back of the net.  

The fourth quarter was shaping up to be yet another 0-0 gridlock as both of these teams are familiar with overtime battles. However, it never came to that as forward Sophia Ugo started the scoring barrage in the 46th minute. Forward Julia Bressler and midfielder Sol Simone added to the lead as all three athletes scored within 10 minutes of each other. This ultimately gave the Tigers no chance to come back, although Sam Davidson scored a consolation goal on a penalty for Princeton. 

The UConn women will next compete at home this Friday against Georgetown. After, they will play in a 12 p.m. Sunday showdown against the University of Delaware.  

Connecticut very well can win out this weekend and put themselves back into contention as the Hoyas come in 0-7 and similarly have struggled to mount significant offense. Delaware comes in as the favorites with a 4-4 record and the No. 19 nationally ranked squad, though Connecticut is more than capable of pulling off the upset. Earlier in the season, the Blue Hens fell to Princeton 2-1. Don’t forget that coming into the season, Connecticut was a nationally ranked team. This weekend will have big implications for this young team as they face a Big East opponent. If they pull off the upset against Delaware, they will build momentum and find themselves back on track to make a push for the Big East championship. 

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