Men's Soccer: UConn's season ends in Virginia
Huskies fall to Cavaliers, 2-1, loses in the Elite Eight for the third straight season
Published: Saturday, December 7, 2013
Updated: Saturday, December 7, 2013 00:12
The dreaded Elite Eight.
For the third consecutive season, UConn men’s soccer team saw its season come to an end in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies had lost to Charlotte and Creighton in the past two seasons.
This time, the unseeded UConn fell to the eighth-seeded Virginia Cavaliers, 2-1, at Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville, Va. The Huskies finished the season with a 12-3-8 record.
With the matched tied at 1-1 in the second half, a UVA corner caused a scramble between the two teams inside the box, and Cavaliers’ midfielder Jordan Allen came up with the ball off a pass from Zach Carroll and sent it past UConn goalkeeper Andre Blake via a bicycle kick in the 62th minute for what would turn out to be the game-winner.
UConn had given up only seven second-half goals all season and the loss snapped the Huskies’ 17-match unbeaten streak, dating back to Sept. 17 against Syracuse.
The Huskies fell behind early again Friday night, as a low cross from Virginia’s Darius Madison inside the box set up a Ryan Zinkhan goal in just the 11th minute. Zinkhan received the pass and sent a volley into the roof of the net for his fifth goal on the season.
UConn evened up the score prior to halftime as senior defender Kareem Morad sent a left-footed shot to the far post past UVA goalkeeper Calle Brown in the 38th minute. The goal, Morad’s first on the season, was set up in similar fashion to Allen’s game-winner, and freshman forward Cyle Larin was credited with the assist on the score.
After giving up the second goal, the Huskies applied heavy offensive pressure but could not score an equalizer for the second time. Freshman forward Jakob Nerwinski and senior forward Mamadou Doudou Diouf had one of the better looks late in the second half as the two tried to connect for a score in the 84th minute, but the UVA defense was able to thwart Diouf’s attempt before he had a chance to get the shot off.
Despite allowing two goals, Blake, the 2013 MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist and American Athletic Conference Goalkeeper of the Year, made a season-high seven saves in the match.
UConn continues to search for a return to the College Cup for the first time since capturing the national championship in 2000.