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by Angie Matarozzi

Villanova field hockey team traveled to New England this weekend to play back-to-back games against UConn and UMass Lowell.

The Wildcats recently fell to the Temple Owls in their Big East season opener by a score of 4-1. Junior back Maddy Harding lead the Wildcats offensively this weekend, scoring half the team’s total goals.

The field hockey team faced No. 3 ranked UConn on Saturday afternoon in Storrs, Conn. The Wildcats fell to the Huskies 7-3. With Saturday’s win, the Connecticut Huskies improved to 8-0 overall and 2-0 in Big East play. The Wildcats fell to a 2-6 record and 0-2 within the conference.

The Wildcats started with an optimistic early lead against the Huskies, with Harding scoring the first goal at the top of the circle at the 14:40 mark. Harding’s goal marked the first time the Huskies have fallen behind in a game all season.  Harding was assisted on goal by junior midfielder Lauren Wilson.

However, led by forward Marie Elena Bolles, the Huskies quickly took back the offensive momentum before halftime. Bolles scored two consecutive goals while forward Chloe Hunnable added one of her own to put the Huskies up 3-1 at the half.

UConn continued to dominate the Wildcats in the second half, scoring three successive goals that put the Huskies ahead 7-1. The Wildcats were able to cut down the deficit with help from sophomore forward Heather Smillie, who scored at the 63-minute mark.

However, the Wildcats were not able to narrow the lead any further until the very last second of play, when junior midfielder Andrea Conte scored a tip-in that got past the UConn keeper, Sarah Mansfield.

The UConn Huskies held a 35-4 advantage in shots and a 12-2 lead in penalty corners. Villanova’s senior goalkeeper, Alex Diekmann, recorded six of the team’s eight saves.  Junior forward Jessica Swoboda and senior midfielder Keira Zambon were each credited with a save a piece.

Despite Villanova’s loss, they made headway against an undefeated, and seemingly unbeatable Huskie team. The Wildcats’ three goals tied for the highest that Mansfield has allowed all season. Penn State previously scored three off Mansfield in their 4-3 overtime loss against the Huskies earlier this month.

The Villanova Wildcats and the UMass Lowell River Hawks were both looking to rebound from their losses the previous day.  The two teams met for the first time on Sunday afternoon at the Cushing Athletic Complex.

The Villanova Wildcats (3-6, 0-2 in Big East) defeated the UMass Lowell River Hawks (1-8, 0-1 in America East) by a score of 3-0. This is the first time that the Wildcats and the River Hawks have faced one another.

The River Hawks, coming off a 4-0 loss to the UMaine Black Bears on Saturday, were not able to bounce back against a persistent Villanova offense.

Swoboda and Harding lead the Wildcats offensively. Swoboda scored first in the 19th minute of play.

Harding scored two goals on the afternoon, her first coming in the 32nd minute. She scored once more in the closing seconds of the contest, with a shot off the corner that slipped past UMass keeper Melanie Hopkins.

Although UMass held a 16-10 advantage in corners, only one saw the goal and Villanova was able capitalized on their offensive opportunities to record the win.

The Villanova Wildcats will travel to St. Joe’s this week to face the struggling Hawks  who hold a 1-7 overall record on the season.

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