HERE’S TO THE CHAMPS
Huskies defeat Providence to win Big East regular season title
Published: Sunday, October 28, 2012
Updated: Sunday, October 28, 2012 23:10
The UConn men’s soccer team rebounded from Wednesday’s loss with a 2-0 win in their regular season finale over Providence Saturday evening. The win clinched the Huskies the Big East Blue Division title and the No. 1 seed in the Big East tournament. UConn will host the winner of Villanova and Seton Hall on Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. The Huskies finish the regular season with a 14-2-1 overall record including 9-0-1 at home and 6-2-0 in Big East play.
Before the game, seniors Greg O’Brien, Stephane Diop, Carlos Alvarez, Sean Weir, Flo Liu, Max Wasserman, Jake Bourgault and Jossimar Sanchez were joined by family and friends as they were honored as part of Senior Night. The group of seniors have lost only twice at home and 11 times overall. They own an overall record of 56-11-14 (.778), the second highest winning percentage under head coach Ray Reid.
“It was a great win for our program,” Reid said. “The depth of our team was huge down the stretch as we really locked in.”
The Friars got their best chance early. In the 19th minute, Providence senior Marc Cintron collided with UConn goalkeeper Andre Blake, allowing a wide-open net for junior Phil Ziegler. Ziegler spoiled the opportunity and blasted his shot over the crossbar.
In the 26th minute, Alvarez split a pair of defenders just inside the Providence 18-yard box but was pulled down from behind, forcing a penalty kick. He walked up to his mark two-for-two this year in penalty kicks. As the crowd buzzed, Alvarez fired his shot in the bottom left corner but Providence goalkeeper Keasel Broome guessed right and denied the Connecticut captain. Alvarez got a second chance and notched his seventh goal of the season on the rebound to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead. UConn is 17-0-0 when Alvarez scores a goal in his career.
In the 56th minute, junior Mamadou Diouf battled Providence goalkeeper Broome and defender for possession and inadvertently bumped into the keeper as he was pushed to the ground by the defender. Immediately, Broome charged at Diouf and began shouting in his face. Referees separated both sides but Diouf got justice a minute later.
Junior Colin Bradley hit Weir with a through ball and then found Diouf, who scored his 12th goal of the season and gave the Huskies a 2-0 lead.
As time expired, players and coaches embraced at midfield as UConn has clinched what was then just a share of the Big East regular season title. Marquette and Notre Dame would tie late Saturday night to clinch the Huskies their first Big East title since 2009.
“This is one of the goals we had on our goal sheet at the beginning of the year and we are not done yet” Alvarez said. “We earned it.”
After the team posed for pictures with the championship trophy, sophomore Allando Matheson greeted senior Max Wasserman with a hug and said, “It’s about time, we have two more to go.”