Last weekend was filled with many positives for the UConn women’s field hockey team. The program not only snapped their five-game skid, but their offense came alive for the first time all season long, scoring all three goals within 10 minutes of each other in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter in their Sunday showdown against Princeton. This weekend, the Huskies will have two opportunities to build off everything they did well in last weekend’s showing, with their first matchup coming against their Big East rival, Georgetown. Sunday will be the real test for this squad, as they face the No. 20 ranked Delaware and a win here is a major statement for a team that came into the season with sky-high expectations yet, up to this point, has struggled to make it off the ground.
The Hoyas come into this fixture sharing the same struggles that the Huskies have had, owning a 1-7 record up to this point and earning their first win last weekend against Lock Haven. While Connecticut should have it their way with Georgetown, don’t expect it to be an easy victory. Despite the fact that the Husky defense has been stellar so far, their offense has been disappointing, averaging only 1.13 goals per contest. If UConn’s offense stalls out, it’s anyone’s guess who will come out on top. Despite Connecticut’s poor play up to this point, the Hoyas have played even worse; before their Sunday win against Lock Haven, Georgetown owned a 20-game losing streak that extended into last season.
The road to victory for UConn on Sunday against the University of Delaware will be nothing short of treacherous. The Blue Hens have played great up to this point, owning a 4-4 record, however, these contests feature an offense that will capitalize on small mistakes. They’ll quickly put games out of their opponent’s reach, evident by their 8-0 victory over Villanova. The Blue Hens average nearly three goals per game while only giving up a little over two per game. Despite all of the advantages that Delaware has over UConn, there are many ways that Connecticut can pull off the upset. Interestingly enough, the Blue Hens played Princeton earlier this season, losing 2-1, in a defensive battler where both offenses failed to get off the ground, and last weekend the Huskies upset the Tigers 3-1. While this coincidence alone doesn’t guarantee victory for the struggling Huskies, it does tell us they have a fighting chance. The UConn defense has kept games within reach all season long, and while their record might not reflect it, the Huskies have a defense as good as any team in the country. If UConn can use the momentum from last weekend’s excellent offense showing, it’s anyone’s guess which team will be the last one standing.
UConn has gotten off to a nightmare start this season, however, there is plenty of time to flip the script. It’s easy to forget the difficulty of its schedule up to this point, facing top nationally ranked programs like Syracuse, Saint Joseph’s and Rutgers. None of Connecticut’s losses ended in a runaway. These were all hard-fought battles, yet unfortunately, for the Huskies’ sake, they ended up on the wrong side of things. This weekend will be an excellent test for the young team. If they win out, which they certainly can, collegiate field hockey is officially back in Storrs, Connecticut.