No. 2 Maryland field hockey is on the road for a nonconference matchup with the No. 13 UConn Huskies in the season finale at the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex in Storrs, Connectiut. The game is set for Oct. 30 at 1 p.m. and will be broadcasted exclusively on FloLive.
Maryland (15-2) is coming off a defensive 2-0 victory over No. 7 Virginia. The Terps’ recent triumph clinched their first undefeated home record (10-0) since 2019. The defense limited the ACC contender to only 11 shots and four penalty corners. Maryland put together a well-rounded performance and will look to carry the momentum into the Big Ten Tournament next week.
On Oct. 28, UConn (11-5) suffered a 3-2 loss to Temple in a valiant comeback effort. Temple jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead, with the Huskies responding with two unanswered goals by freshmen midfielder Jasmijn Damman and senior back Claire Jandewerth. The latter scored in the final minute of the contest on a penalty stroke. UConn is third in the Big East with its conference schedule behind it.
The Terps held the top spot in the Big Ten for the majority of the season, but a 5-1 loss to Penn State allowed the Nittany Lions to clinch the No. 1 seed in the looming Big Ten Tournament on Nov. 2-6.
Maryland owns a 7-0 all-time series lead over Connecticut paired with a 2-1 advantage in postseason play.
Now let’s look at the Connecticut Huskies.
UConn Huskies (11-5, 5-2 Big East)
2021 record: 11-11 (5-2 Big East)
Head coach Paul Caddy is in his third season guiding the UConn field hockey program.
Caddy’s first season leading the Huskies took place in spring 2021 after the fall season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He quickly established a winning culture with a 12-2 record along with Big East regular season and tournament titles.
Last season, UConn finished with a 11-11 record despite facing 13 opponents ranked in the top-25. The Huskies reached the Big East championship for the 11th consecutive season, but lost to Liberty 1-0.
Prior to being named the head coach on Sept. 2, 2020, Caddy served 10 seasons as the associate head coach. Caddy and the Huskies have won three national championship titles, highlighted by their perfect 23-0 season in 2017.
Under his leadership, UConn has registered 356 victories and an average of 18 wins per season. He has experienced great success as a member of the coaching staff and will look to lead UConn to annual contention in the Big East.
Players to know
Julia Bressler, freshman forward, No. 12 — Bressler is the younger sister of Maryland senior midfielder Belle Bressler. The talented freshman leads the Huskies with seven goals and 33 shots on the season. In UConn’s 2-1 victory over No. 19 Boston College, she recorded the opening goal in their fifth victory over a ranked opponent this season. Bressler scored a pair of goals in UConn’s 3-0 victory over Villanova. She has established herself as a key member of UConn’s attack for this season and years to come.
McKenna Sergi, senior midfielder, No. 11 — The five-foot-five midfielder is second on the team with five goals. Sergi is an explosive athlete with a high motor to consistently identify scoring opportunities. In their early-season 3-1 victory over William & Mary, the New York native recorded a pair of goals in the quality road win. She has recorded 27 shots and 15 shots on goals this season. Sergi had five shots and one assist in the Huskies’ 4-1 victory over Quinnipiac.
Cheyenne Sprecher, graduate goalkeeper, No. 00 — Sprecher nears the end of her final season in blue, red and white. The graduate goalkeeper is fourth in the Big East with 67 saves on the season. She only relinquishes 1.3 goals per contest, which is fourth in the conference. In their 3-0 loss to North Carolina on Oct. 9, she recorded an impressive 22 saves in the contest. The five-foot-four athlete registered 18 saves in the Huskies’ thrilling 2-1 overtime victory over Boston College on Oct. 16. She is an agile goalkeeper defending the cage at a high clip, so finding ways to score on Sprecher will be something to watch.
Shots. The UConn Huskies are third in the Big East with 15.4 shots per game. Five athletes featured on the roster have recorded at least 25 shots this season displaying their depth when attacking opponents’ cages. Their ability to attack in multiple ways has fared well for one of the best teams in the Big East.
Goals. With the season coming to an end, UConn doesn’t have one athlete that has recorded at least 10 goals this season. After Bressler’s team-leading seven goals, the next closest person has five goals (Sergi). The lack of scoring from others is worth monitoring because they’ll need contributions in order to compete for a national title. The Huskies will look to improve in this area with postseason play starting next week.
Three things to watch
1. Will Maryland achieve its most victories in a season for the first time since 2019? The 2022 season has been a successful one for the Terps with two seven-game winning streaks under their belt. With a victory over UConn on Sunday, Maryland will have its most wins (16) since 2019, when it had a 17-4 record. Maryland is second in the NCAA with four goals registered per contest. The Terps have five victories this season with at least six goals scored, showcasing their explosiveness and electricity on the offensive end.
2. How can the Terps’ offense produce four double-digit goal scorers this season? Maryland is one of the best teams in the country with depth at several positions and an offense with firepower. With a goal scored by Maryland graduate midfielder Bibi Donraadt and forward Leah Crouse, the Terps would have four players with at least 10 goals on the season. Donraadt and Crouse would join teammates Danielle Van Rootselaar and Hope Rose with the impressive feat. The Terps’ offense is deep and figures to play a role in their outcome this season.
3. Can Maryland put together another defensive performance before shifting its focus to the Big Ten Tournament on Nov. 2-6? Maryland’s defense dominated in its 2-0 victory over Virginia. With timely defensive rotations and outstanding lateral agility, Maryland junior defender Rayne Wright displayed why she is one of the best in the Big Ten. Maryland’s defense will look to continue its dominance heading into postseason play.