Huskymania

By Ken Best

Tracking Huskymania on and off the field.

The Weekend Round-up

Bria Hartley ’15 (CLAS) signs an autograph for a fan at Rentschler Field, where the women’s basketball team signed photos and memorabilia before Saturday’s football game.

Head coach Paul Pasqualoni was concise in his post-game remarks after the football team’s 10-7 loss to North Carolina State on Saturday:  “Frustrating afternoon, to put it mildly. North Carolina State’s a good solid team… you can’t turn it over four times against a team like that and expect to win…too many miscues…just overall, a very disappointing, frustrating day. It just seemed that every time we got a play, there was a procedure penalty, something happened. It was just so frustrating not to be able to get things going.”

It did not take long for reporters to look past the NC State game and ahead toward this Saturday’s road trip to Maryland (2-0), where the Huskies will play for the first time against a team led by their former head coach Randy Edsall. Senior defensive tackle Ryan Wirth ’13 (CLAS) was asked if the upperclassmen having any lingering feelings about their former coach. His answer was to the point: “It’s not going to be hard to get fired up for that one, definitely. That’s about all I’m going to say about that. We’re going to get it done.”

The 1-1 Huskies kick off at 12:30 p.m. at Byrd Stadium in College Park, Md., on Saturday (SNY, UConn IMG Sports Network).

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The women’s basketball team drew a long line of fans outside Rentschler Field on Saturday as part of the Fan Fest activities before the game. The entire 2012-13 squad signed autographs under a tent, including the team’s newest members, high School All-Americans Moriah Jefferson ’16 (CLAS), Morgan Tuck ’16 (CLAS) and National High School Player of the Year Breanna Stewart ’16 (CLAS). The team also was brought onto the field during a time out and the new Huskies were introduced by senior guard Caroline Doty ’13 (CLAS).

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Over the past couple of years the men’s soccer team has found itself on the losing end of games that went into overtime. On Friday night at Morrone Stadium, the No. 4/1 Huskies won their second OT game of the season during a nationally televised game against No. 21 Washington. After senior forward Carlos Alvarez ’13 (CLAS) was pulled down from behind on a breakaway that resulted in a red card against Washington, senior defender Max Wasserman ’13 (CLAS) scored on a free kick to get the game-winning goal for the third time in the past two seasons.

“We played well in the first half, got a little sloppy in the second half,” head coach Ray Reid said after the game. “Max just scores a big time goal.  They [Washington] play a difficult style — rock ‘em and sock ‘em; long throw-in, disruptive. This is the style we’ve had troubles with in the past. We purposely scheduled them. Hopefully we’ll make some improvements against that kind of style.”

On Sunday, the Huskies played to a 1-1 tie against Boston University at Morrone and now stand at 4-0-1 on the year.

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The pennant race toward the World Series is not the only baseball happening in September. The Huskies baseball team started its 28-day fall practice session last Friday with the annual Pro Scout workout.  More than two dozen Major League Baseball scouts visited J.O. Christian Field to watch players hit, field and throw in order to determine who they will track next spring before the MLB draft. With the team’s recent success in sending alumni to the major leagues – most recently first baseman Mike Olt ’10 (CLAS) made his MLB debut with the Texas Rangers in August. Head coach Jim Penders ’94 (CLAS), ’98 MA says most upperclassmen – led by senior LJ Mazzilli ’13 (CLAS), will be tracked during the 2013 season.

Penders says the emphasis in fall ball is competing by playing intra-squad games to determine the position starters, but also to sharpen individual skills and establishing fundamental strategies. “We want to find out who’s going to be playing third base, right field, at first or at shortstop and who’s going to pitch vital innings for us.  It’s also used to put in our systems; our bunt defenses, first and third defenses, our bunt offenses, relays and cuts.”

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During a recent practice session at the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex, second-year forward Maria Elena Bowles ’15 (NUR) could be seen working on her ball handling skills while other members of the field hockey team were practicing corner drills. An All-Big East First Team selection last season, Bowles spent the summer playing on the USA Field Hockey U-21 Team. The Big East Offensive Player of the Week for Sept. 3, Bolles took her ball handling skills onto the playing field and had a productive weekend in Albany, N.Y., for the No. 7 Huskies. She scored her three goals in two games in leading UConn to a pair of 2-1 wins over nationally ranked teams, No. 15 Michigan on Saturday and No. 21 Albany on Sunday. The field hockey team, led by Hall of Fame coach Nancy Stevens, is off to a 5-0 start this season.

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Women’s head soccer coach Len Tsantiris moved closer to reaching his 500th career win on Sunday, when senior forward Danielle Schulmann ’13 (CLAS) scored three goals and had an assist in leading the Huskies to a 4-1 win over Central Connecticut State in New Britain.  The Huskies are 4-2-1 on the year.

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Sophomore outside hitter  Devon Maugle ’15 (CLAS) led all players with 18 kills and totaled 12 digs for her third double-double of the season  and was selected to the All-Tournament Team at the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational, hosted by Missouri State in Springfield, Mo. The Huskies finished the weekend 2-2 and are now at  6-5.