UConn hockey to face Rutgers and Yale this weekend
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 13, 2012 23:09
The UConn women’s field hockey team will take on Rutgers at home this Saturday and Yale at home this Sunday.
Rutgers has began the season with a 3-3 overall record, while Yale has struggled with a 1-2 record thus far. This Saturday will be UConn’s first conference game of the season.
“Conference games always are more intense,” UConn’s head coach Nancy Stevens said. “Only the top four teams in the conference advance to the Big East Championships, so each conference game takes on special importance.”
She used the phrase ‘season within a season’ to describe conference play. Last year the Huskies won all six of their conference games, notably Rutgers, beating them 5-0.
“Starting out 1-0 in the conference sure beats starting out 0-1,” Stevens says. “We were fortunate to go undefeated in conference play last year and our goal will be to repeat that this year. It will be a challenge, but it is always a good goal to have.”
Rutgers has had a strong defense in the past few games. The Scarlet Knights had their first shutout of the season, defeating Bryant 3-0. Senior Ashley Yanek and goalkeeper Sarah Stuby, with eight saves last game, have led the defense with poise and confidence.
“Both UConn and Rutgers beat a very strong Albany team, so I expect Saturday’s game to be close,” Stevens said.
“Close games always bring out the best in both teams and help both teams to get better.”
Although Yale’s season has started off a bit shaky, they are not a team to be taken lightly. With two losses under their belt, the Bulldogs will be eager to prove their strength. Last season, UConn beat Yale by a low score of 1-0.
This past week, both Marie Elena Bolles and Sarah Mansfield received awards to recognize their excellence in the previous weekend’s games. Bolles was named the Big East offensive player of the week for the second week in a row. On top of that, Mansfield was named the Big East defensive player of the week for her performance in goal.
“Any time one of our players receives an honor, it brings recognition to our program and every player on our team,” Stevens says. “Sarah has four senior defenders playing in front of her, so they deserve a lot of credit as well. Marie Elena scored on assists by Louisa Boddy and Chloe Hunnable. Everyone made a contribution to the successful weekend.”
Despite having beaten both teams last year, the Huskies feel the pressure to win in their first conference game. The Huskies have their hands full this weekend.