By Andrew Mason
After dropping two straight contests, the Boston University Field Hockey team is set to face its toughest opponent of the season. The University of Connecticut Huskies, the nation’s No. 1 ranked team, host the No. 20 Terriers (4-2) on Sunday afternoon.
The Huskies are hot right now. At 6-0, UConn remains one of only three undefeated teams left in Division I. They are dominant on both ends of the field, outscoring opponents 26-4 so far this season.
The high-scoring Charlotte Veitner leads the Huskies in scoring with 17 points (8g, 1a). The senior from Dusseldorf, Germany puts up an average of 1.17 goals per game, currently the fourth highest rank in all of Division 1.
The Terriers also need to keep UConn defender Casey Umstead in check. Last year, Umstead put up two goals against Boston University in a 5-1 UConn win. The senior from Red Hill, Pennsylvania, is particularly harmful on penalty corners, where she was a perfect 14-14 over her sophomore and junior seasons.
The Huskies average 4.33 goals per game with a .215 shooting percentage.
In addition to offensive threats, UConn’s defense is exceptional. Senior goalkeeper Nina Klein has played just about every minute this season, allowing only four goals and posting three shutouts through six games.
BU stands at 4-2 in their 2017 campaign. After a 4-0 start, the team is stuck on a two game losing streak with losses coming from Albany and UMass Amherst.
In order to find success, the Terriers need to keep UConn’s penalty corner attempts to a minimum. While the Huskies average close to 10 corner attempts per game, BU has had major trouble defending these shots recently, especially in clutch moments.
Terrier goalkeeper Kathleen Keegan is likely to play entire first half, with freshman Millie Baker taking over for half number two. Both women will be put to the test throughout the contest, as UConn averages over 10 shot attempts per half.
Even if BU’s defense plays well, the Terriers will still need to score at a steady pace.
Although the freshman core has led the pack in scoring through the first six games –three of the top four scorers are freshmen – it wouldn’t be unusual to see the veterans step up against a tough opponent like UConn. Look for senior Grace Boston – five points on two goals and an assist – and junior Kara Enoch – three points on a goal and an assist – to pave the way for the Terriers offensively.
Sunday’s fight against UConn is the closing game of a five-game road trip, the longest this Terrier squad is set to face all season. Finishing the trip against the top-ranked team in the country is an intimidating task, but it is also a great opportunity to make a statement to the NCAA.
BU at UConn is set to begin Sunday, Sept. 17 at 1 p.m. The game will take place inside the Sherman Complex in Storrs, Connecticut.