Defense steps up again for field hockey in win
Published: Monday, September 30, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 30, 2013 00:09
The No. 3 UConn field hockey team moved to 9-0 on the year after defeating Villanova and No. 10 Princeton at home this weekend, 7-3 and 1-0, respectively.
2013 marks the third time in the last five seasons that the Huskies have begun the year with nine consecutive wins, having also accomplished the feat in 2012 and 2009.
“We’ve been fortunate to have so many good teams,” head coach Nancy Stevens said. “But this team has great chemistry, and if we can stay healthy we can have a very special season. That’s the key though, to keep them healthy.”
Defense provides another shutout performance
The Huskies’ defense, whose 0.82 goals against average was ranked fourth in the nation heading into the weekend, lived up to its billing against reigning national champion Princeton on Sunday, holding the Tigers scoreless to a 1-0 shutout loss, UConn’s fourth shutout of the season.
“Whenever you get a shutout against a really high scoring team that’s a real positive,” Stevens said.
Goaltender Sarah Mansfield had another excellent performance, making several acrobatic saves against what was a feisty and persistent Princeton attack. Mansfield’s four saves included one game-preserving stop with 1:30 left in the second half in which the senior spurned Princeton midfielder Cat Caro on a one-on-one attempt.
“Our goal is to get shutouts, so we were really happy with that effort,” Stevens said. “Sarah had four saves, three in the first, so she really wasn’t tested much in the second half. We generated 16 shots, 12 in the second half, so that’s the difference.”
Upton continues breakout season
After being named last week’s Big East Defensive Player of the Week, sophomore midfielder Roisin Upton carried her momentum into this weekend, posting a total of two goals and an assist in the Huskies’ wins over Villanova and No. 10 Princeton.
Upton, who now ranks second on the team with 15 points on the year, scored the game-winner on Sunday in the 62nd minute to push UConn past the Tigers 1-0.
“I’m more than willing to put the game in her hands,” Stevens said of Upton.
“We were at a critical point where we really did need to score on a penalty corner. Their defense was so stout, and I as well as the team have a lot of faith in Roisin and her ability to execute under pressure.”
The Huskies will go on the road this weekend to take on Providence on Saturday, Oct. 5, before returning home to face No. 17 Boston College on Sunday at the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex.