STORRS, Conn. – Coming off back-to-back national championships in 2013 and 2014, the University of Connecticut field hockey team was unanimously selected to win the Big East in 2015 in a vote of the league's coaches, as announced by the conference on Thursday. Additionally, sophomore Charlotte Veitner (Dusseldorf, Germany) was named as the league’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year while senior Roisin Upton (Limerick, Ireland) was tabbed as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Veitner and Upton are joined on the Preseason All-Big East Team by juniors Olivia Bolles (Phoenixville, Pa.) and Anna Middendorf (Bremen, Germany).
Connecticut topped the preseason poll with 25 total points and five first-place votes from the conference’s head coaches. The Huskies will be on the prowl for their 15th conference regular season crown, after claiming the regular season title the past three years and 14 times since the 1996 season.
Veitner had a breakout rookie season in 2014, leading the team and ranking second in the Big East with 50 points (19 goals, 12 assists). She received numerous honors for her outstanding season, including All-Big East Second Team, NFHCA All-Mideast Region First Team and being named Big East Rookie of the Year.
This is the second consecutive season that Upton has received preseason recognition for her defense. She had one of the most impressive seasons in Husky history, earning Big East Defensive Player of the Year and Mideast Region Player of the Year honors in 2014. Her tenacious defense helped land her on the All-America, All-Big East and NFHCA All-Mideast Region first teams. She was tabbed as the Big East Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and made the NCAA All-Tournament Team. To round out her accolades, Upton was named the ECAC Defensive Player of the Year and selected as an ECAC First Team All-Star during UConn’s national championship season.
Bolles, a 2014 All-Big East Second Team selection, recorded 13 points on three goals and seven assists. She anchored the UConn defense that ranked fourth nationally in goals against average (1.04) and fifth in scoring margin (2.07).
Middendorf received Third Team All-America, All-Big East First Team, NFHCA All-Mideast Region Second Team honors last season. A key weapon on the Huskies' penalty corner attempts, she tallied an impressive 27 points with nine goals and nine assists.
The Huskies open up the regular season on the road against Northwestern on Friday, Aug. 28 before facing Northeastern on Saturday, Aug. 29. Action for both games is set to begin at 1 p.m.
The following weekend, UConn will host Quinnipiac for its home opener on Sept. 4 at George J. Sherman Family-Sports Complex. Competition is schedule to start at 6 p.m. and is free-of-charge.