Stanford: Live Stats | @UConnFHockey on Twitter
Pacific: Live Stats | @UConnFHockey on Twitter
STORRS, Conn. – On opening weekend of the 2016 season, the No. 3 University of Connecticut field hockey team will be playing roughly 3,000 miles away from campus when it takes on No. 11 Stanford and Pacific.
Traveling out to the Golden State on Wednesday, the Huskies prepare to face the Cardinal on Friday at 7 p.m. (ET) and the Tigers on Sunday at 5 p.m. (ET). Live stats are available for both games, as well as updates at @UConnFHockey on Twitter.
The Huskies, who finished the 2015 campaign after losing to Syracuse in the NCAA semifinals, look to be national contenders once again. UConn won back-to-back NCAA titles in 2013 and 2014.
Head coach Nancy Stevens begins her 27th season with UConn and her 38th overall, standing as the all-time wins leader in NCAA field hockey history (617-179-24, .767).
UConn returns an experienced team, with seven players of senior standing back in 2016. Redshirt junior Nina Klein, 2015 All-Mideast Region First Team member, is back in the cage after recording 22 victories (11 shut-outs) lasts season.
Junior forward Charlotte Veitner returns as a 2015 First Team All-American, who led the nation in scoring with 39 goals and 99 total points. Veitner was named Big East Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while senior midfielder Anna Middendorf was named Big East Preseason Co-Defensive Player of the Year.
A highly successful 2015 season led the Cardinal into the first round of the NCAA Tournament, where it lost to Duke – a future semifinalist. It was ranked No. 11 in the NFHCA Preseason Poll this season.
Stanford was 13-7 (4-2 America East) last season, losing in the America East semifinal to Maine. The Cardinal returns a balanced roster, consisting of five seniors, seven juniors, four sophomores and six freshmen.
UConn beat Stanford in Storrs last season, 3-2, on Sept. 25 and is 6-1 all-time against the Cardinal.
The Tigers received 42 votes for the NFHCA Preseason Poll, narrowly missing inclusion in the Top 20 rankings. Pacific went 11-8 (5-3 America East) in 2015, making big improvements following a 7-13 record in 2014.
Of 21 players on the roster, 12 are upperclassmen – making Pacific an experienced team. Junior midfielder Savannah Burns returns as the leading scorer for the Tigers.
UConn’s only meeting with Pacific came in 1983, which was a 4-0 win for the Huskies.