BIG EAST Release
STORRS, Conn. – For an unparalleled eighth straight season, the University of Connecticut field hockey team has been selected to finish first in the BIG EAST Preseason Poll, as announced by the league on Wednesday afternoon.
The Huskies, who reached the NCAA Semifinals in 2016, recorded 49 points and received seven first-place votes in the poll. Liberty, who finished with 41 points, was the only other program to collect a first-place vote.
In addition, four UConn players were selected to the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team – redshirt-senior Nina Klein, seniors Casey Umstead and Charlotte Veitner and sophomore Barbara van den Hoogen. Umstead and Veitner were two of the league’s four unanimous selections.
For the third straight year, Veitner was tabbed as the Preseason Office Player of the Year following her sensation 2016 campaign. The two-time First Team All-American and 2016 BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year tallied a team-best 27 goals and 17 assists for 71 points in on her way to breaking the all-time program records for points and assists.
Umstead receive Preseason Defensive Player of the Year honors after being named to the All-Mideast Region First Team and receiving Third Team All-American honors in 2016. The senior is coming off her most dominating year yet, after notching a career-high 51 points (18g, 15a) for the Huskies last season.
Klein started all 24 games in net for UConn and boasted a league-best 1.22 goals per game and six shut out victories. Her .913 win percentage lead her to an All-Mideast Regional and All-BIG EAST Second Team selections.
As a freshman, van den Hoogan started in 22 of 24 games played, racking up 10 goals to lead all freshman. The midfielder picked up four assists and 24 points for the Huskies, including the squad’s lone goals in the NCAA Semifinals against North Carolina. Additionally, she was named to the named to the 2016 Big East Honor Roll.
UConn has won 16 BIG EAST Tournament Championships under Head Coach Nancy Stevens, including five consecutive dating back to 2012.
The Huskies will hold a home exhibition game against Rutgers on Saturday, August 19 beginning at 2:00 p.m. at the George J. Sherman Family-Sports Complex. Admission is free.
UConn will open up the season at home, welcoming West Coast opponent Stanford to Storrs on Friday, Aug, 5. The game is slated to begin at 1:00 p.m.
BIG EAST Field Hockey Preseason Coaches’ Poll
- Connecticut, 49 (7)
- Liberty, 41 (1)
- Old Dominion, 35
- Providence, 33
- Temple, 25
- Quinnipiac, 19
- Villanova, 15
- Georgetown, 7