Spring break is over for the UConn women’s lacrosse team as they travel to Cincinnati to begin Big East Conference play against the Bearcats.
“Our conference season always has a little more weight. You want to finish strong,” coach Katie Woods said. “We’re just excited to get back out and play. It was a good time for a break and now we’re excited to get back out on the field.”
It was a well deserved 11 days of rest for the Huskies. UConn and the Fairfield Stags slugged it out during a March 18 Husky victory. Both teams struggled to find the back of the net but UConn endured for the 6-4. The four goals were a season low and the Huskies put on a showcase of defense both in and in front of net. The win pushed UConn over .500 as the Huskies improved to 5-4.
Cincinnati (2-7) is in the middle of a roller coaster of a season but show some grit in a hard fought loss against No. 15 ranked Ohio State. The Bearcats will need to come out fighting on Sunday but will see at least one friendly face in on the UConn sideline. Assistant coach Lauren Gunning spent the past two years in Bearcat black and red before joining coach Wood’s staff at Storrs.
“Obviously things change year to year, but she does know the team and obviously had the chance to work for them for several years, “ Woods said about the storylines going into Sunday. “I think our team is excited to play against (Cincinatti) knowing that, and I imagine they’re excited in the same way.”
UConn is undefeated when taking a lead into the second half and goaltender Shannon Nee is a major reason why. Nee has been a wall in net all season. Starting every game and her 15 saves against Fairfield were a career high. Woods has high praise for her goaltender.
“I think Shannon has really stepped up into a leadership position for us this year,” Woods said. “She’s definitely seeing the ball better this year…She’s obviously our last line of defense and she’s doing her job in making as many saves as she cans.”
The stretch run for UConn and Cincinnati begins noon this Sunday at the Sheakley Athletics Center.