Huskies seek first home win
Published: Thursday, September 12, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 12, 2013 23:09
The UConn field hockey team will play its first home game of the season tonight against Fairfield University at 6 p.m. at the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex.
The No. 4 Huskies opened their season with a trio of road games — two of which were against ranked teams — and emerged from the demanding stretch with a 3-0 record. The team most recently defeated No. 6 Penn State 4-3 in overtime on Sept. 8.
“Going into the game, we knew that Penn State had a high-octane offense, but the goal is to outscore the opponent,” said head coach Nancy Stevens.
“We were able to do that and move to 3-0 on the season. A road win against a nationally ranked team demonstrates resilience, poise and the ability to perform under pressure. It was thrilling to win the game just 90 seconds into overtime.”
Despite playing in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Fairfield has shown the ability to match up with ranked major-conference competition. The Stags have accrued a 3-1 record this season, with the lone loss coming at the hand of reigning national champion No. 3 Princeton. The team fell just short of an upset, falling to the Tigers 4-3 after holding them scoreless in the first half.
“We match up well with Fairfield,” Stevens said. “If we play a wide-open style and move the ball with speed, we will have a good game. Most of their play goes through [Felicitas Heinen] and she is their key performer on penalty corners. We have played Fairfield in the past and we are pleased to be renewing the series.”
Once again, the Huskies will look to their All-Americans for leadership and production. Stalwart goaltender, Sarah Mansfield, has carried over her excellent play from a season ago, as the senior is averaging just 1.51 goals allowed per game with a .815 save percentage through three games.
Offensively, senior forwards Marie Elena Bolles and Anne Jeute, along with junior forward Chloe Hunnable continue to pace UConn in the scoring column. Jeute and Hunnable each have five points on the year, with Jeute leading the team in assists with three.
Bolles scored the game winning goal in overtime to defeat Penn State on Sunday.
“The most obvious thing we take from the Penn State game is the need to limit the opponent’s attack corner opportunities,” Stevens said.
“We are addressing that this week, and we need to solve problems higher up on the field. Scoring four goals against a highly ranked team is a huge plus. We want to build on that success and create more separation between our team and the opponent.”
The Huskies will also take on Lafayette College Sunday at noon at the Sherman Family Sports Complex. The Leopards’ record stands at 1-2 on the year.
UConn will look to continue their early season success this weekend, and if all goes as planned the Huskies will take a still undefeated record into a matchup with New England rival No. 7 UMass at home on Sept. 18.