Field hockey faces hardest weekend away
Published: Thursday, October 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 24, 2013 23:10
The No. 4 UConn field hockey team will continue its stretch of away games against No. 10 Old Dominion and No. 2 North Carolina.
The Huskies will be eager to prove their dominance after their second loss of the season against American University.
“We are obviously disappointed with the result against American,” head coach Nancy Stevens said. “They have an outstanding team and outplayed us for that brief period of time in the second half. That lapse in concentration on our part proved the decisive factor. Fortunately, we played an outstanding game against our conference opponent, Georgetown. The Georgetown win keeps us in first place in the conference.”
The loss against American marks UConn’s first loss to an unranked team since 2010. Despite this setback, the team continues to keep a positive attitude and looks for ways of improvement.
“Overall, our team played well at American,” Stevens said. “We’ve scored 26 goals in the past six games, averaging just over four goals per game. We are working to correct mistakes in the defensive red zone.
UConn’s opponent on Friday will be a difficult challenge for the Huskies. No. 10 Old Dominion recently beat No. 1 Maryland to break the Terps’ undefeated record. The Monarchs beat Maryland 3-2 in an upset last Sunday, bringing the team from No. 15 to the No. 10 in the NFHCA poll. Old Dominion has won eight consecutive games, making them a tough team to not only play but also beat.
“Old Dominion’s win over Maryland is not only good for the Monarchs, but also very good for our conference,” Stevens said. “We now have two teams in the top 10, which speaks to the strength of the conference. Old Dominion and UConn both rely heavily on counterattack opportunities for scoring. It will be a high-tempo game in which both defenses will be tested.
UConn’s game on Saturday will also be quite a challenge. The Huskies will take on No. 2 North Carolina, who is also 12-2 this season. The back-to-back challenge of excellent teams will test UConn’s ability and endurance. It will also give the Huskies an opportunity to show their talent as a team and prepare them for the postseason that is quickly approaching.
“This is when the season becomes the most exciting for players and coaches,” Stevens said. “We are chasing a regular season conference title, the conference tournament championship and working very hard to earn a bid to the NCAA tournament.”
With all of the goals and challenges the team faces, Stevens and the underclassmen players rely greatly on the senior leadership for their experience and skill.
“Senior leadership is such an important factor in big games and postseason play. Our seniors have been there before and know how to manage these important games,” Stevens said. “We are fortunate to have outstanding seniors who do a great job leading this team.”
The Huskies will be put to the test in by far their hardest weekend yet. It is guaranteed that both games will be evenly matched and filled with great field hockey.