By ANDREW YOURELL
After a tough loss to the then No. 6-ranked University of Albany Great Danes in Albany, field hockey returns home for two weekend games. The Wildcats battle conference opponent Vermont on Friday at 4 p.m. before squaring off with Boston College on Sunday at 3 p.m.
Following the loss to Albany, head coach Robin Balducci is concerned first and foremost with getting her team ready for the conference game.
“I don’t believe we are coming off a particularly good game last weekend. Not a very good performance. We need to have a mentality this week where we have a lot of work to do,” she said. “BC, that’s a whole ‘nother ballgame, but we are not going to worry about BC right now. BC is the least important thing coming up.”
Her chief concern is motivating her team, which she believes came out too flat against Albany to compete.
“Me, as a coach, I couldn’t wait to play Albany again, given the tournament game last year,” she said. Last year, and, in fact, every year since 2009, the Wildcats and Great Danes have faced off in the America East conference finals. Last year, Albany prevailed. “It was hard to believe the team wasn’t feeling the same way looking to get a hold of it.”
Part of the issue Balducci saw with her team was that she thinks the team played to not lose, as opposed to playing to win. That mentality, she says, needs to change for the ‘Cats to rebound and get another conference win under their belts.
Vermont offers a good challenge for the Wildcats, as they execute corners well, offer physical personnel matchups and feature several highly skilled and disciplined Australian players. To compensate, the ‘Cats will need to turn in a clean game of hockey—meaning no free corners for Vermont and taking advantage of the opportunities that Vermont gives them.
Vermont enters the game with a 3-9 overall record and a 1-1 America East record. UNH is 4-6 overall, and shares a 1-1 mark in America East, with a win against UMass-Lowell and the loss to Albany. The 4 p.m. game at Memorial Field will go a long way in the America East standings for whichever team battles for the win.
Sunday’s game against the Eagles will also take place on Memorial Field, at 3 p.m. BC is 6-5 on the season.
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