A week after their historic upset over the No.8 Florida Gators on Senior Day, UConn women’s lacrosse will travel to Villanova for the regular season finale.
Florida was the second highest ranked team to ever fall to the Huskies. The upset caused brought UConn’s program some national attention it hadn’t seen this year. For the first time all year, UConn received votes for the Top 25 by the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWCLA).
One could make the case it’s overdue but coach Katie Woods kept it in perspective.
“It’s great to be mentioned but the main reason we’ve earned that look is because we finished our game. All the other close games we lost we failed to finish… At the end of the day I don’t think it means a whole lot in what our team think and how we will about our ability and our potential,” Woods said.
Saturday’s match should be one that the participants will remember forever regardless how the rest of the season plays out.
The comeback win gave UConn control of their own destiny. With a win on Saturday the Huskies would claim the three seed.
Florida had already clinched the conferences’ number one seed prior to their loss Saturday and Georgetown has clinched the two seed.
Sunday’s opponent has already booked their trip to the playoffs but have no idea where they will be seated. Seven different Wildcats scored during a 12-10 win over Vanderbilt on Sunday to give Villanova their first trip to Big East Tournament.
Although they have already clinched, Villanova will come out on Saturday desperate to avoid Florida in the first round. The situation is even more dire for UConn. If they win and they’re in. If UConn loses it’s an early beginning to the summer. Even though UConn could end up with the three seed, a loss would knock them out the playoff picture entirely due to Vanderbilt owning the tiebreaker.
The stakes are huge but Woods is confident her group is as prepared as it can be.
“The mindset is very good. There’s definitely nerves, who wouldn’t be nervous, but they’ve done a good job. We’ve had a good amount of purpose behind our training this week,” Wood said.
Saturday’s de facto playoff game has all the makings of a defensive battle. Both teams allow less than 10 goals per game and thrive on suffocating their opponents best players on offense.
Two of the conferences’ top three goal scorers will share the field. Villanova’s Jackie Froccaro averages 2.33 goals per game and UConn’s Katherine Finkelston sits behind her with 2.00.
“They have a really good gameplan and they execute it well,” Woods said of the opponent. “They a zone defense that really keeps some offenses off guard and not necessarily ready to attack it…They’ve had a good year and they’re a strong Villanova team.”
The Huskies have both history and momentum on their side going into Saturday. UConn has never lost to Villanova, currently a perfect 6-0 win on Saturday would also cap a month where their only two losses came on game winning goals in the final seconds.
UConn will fight for the right to keep their season alive this Saturday at 1 p.m. at Villanova Stadium.