Live Stats: Game 1 Game 2
STORRS, Conn. – The No. 1 University of Connecticut field hockey team will begin its 2015 campaign with a two-game road trip starting on Friday, Aug. 28 against No. 10 Northwestern at 1 p.m. The Huskies have a quick turnaround, taking on Northeastern at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
UConn returns 16 letterwinners from the 2014 national championship squad and will be led by captains Roisin Upton (Limerick, Ireland), Sophie Bowden (Somerset, England) and Megan Palmisano (Chatham, N.J). Upton was named Big East Preseason Defensive Player of the Year and tabbed as a Preseason All-Big East Team member.
Earlier this month, Connecticut was selected as the unanimous favorite to win the Big East regular season title and earned a No. 1 ranking in the Penn Monto/NFHCA Preseason Poll.
Charlotte Veitner (Dusseldorf, Germany) was named as the league’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Veitner joined Upton, Olivia Bolles (Phoenixville, Pa.) and Anna Middendorf (Bremen, Germany) on the Preseason All-Big East Team.
In 2014, the Huskies ranked in the top-10 among all Division I schools in nine categories, including points per game (9.65), winning percentage (.870), goals against average (1.04), scoring margin (2.07) and assists per game (3.13).
The 2014 national championship crown marked UConn's fourth title (1981, 1985, 2013, 2014) and second under head coach Nancy Stevens, who is in her 26th year at the helm. The Huskies capped their incredible season with 14-straight wins and have won eight straight NCAA Tournament contests, hoisting two trophies in as many years. Stevens has a 595-178-24 overall career record and was named the 2014 NFHCA Mideast Region Coach of the Year.
Northwestern is coming off a 16-7 season and claimed its first Big Ten Tournament Championship in school history. The tournament title earned the Wildcats an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, the program's first tournament berth in 20 years. The team is coached by former Husky standout Tracey Fuchs, who has compiled an 82-42 record in six seasons. Northwestern returns 13 letterwinners from last year and grabbed the No. 10 ranking in the preseason national poll.
UConn leads the all-time series against the Wildcats, 2-0. Last year’s meeting between the two teams was a back-and-forth battle that went into overtime. Veitner scored the game-winner with just under four minutes to play for a 3-2 victory.
Northeastern’s 2014 season was highlighted by 14 wins, it’s first-ever regular-season Colonial Athletic Association title and its fifth straight CAA tournament appearance. The Huskies are led by veteran head coach Cheryl Murtagh, who enters her 28th season. Northeastern returns 14 letterwinners, including seven starters from last season.
Connecticut has a 21-14 advantage in the all-time series over Northeastern. The two squads first played each other in 1975 but haven’t faced off since the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2012. UConn pulled out a 2-1 win in a double-overtime thriller in the last meeting.