GETTING OUT OF A RUT
UConn men's soccer outlasts Rutgers for first conference win
Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 10, 2013 00:10
The UConn soccer team earned their first American Athletic Conference win behind a Jacob Wagmeister clean sheet, as the Huskies were able to knock off longtime Big East rival Rutgers by a score of 1-0.
The Huskies, who played without captains Mamadou Doudou Diouf and Andre Blake, were led by Colin Bradley, whose penalty conversion was enough to get the Huskies the win they so desperately needed.
Bradley stepped up in the 16th minute and calmly slotted home past Rutgers keeper David Greczek in what turned out to be the game’s decisive play. The goal was the first of Bradley’s five-year stay in Storrs.
“It’s about time, right?” said the redshirt senior. “I think I’ve been here almost 80 games and that’s my first goal. To finally get that off of my back, it’s something hopefully I can build off of so I can get a couple more before I’m out of here.”
“He’s a great kid,” said Reid to describe Bradley, who he has coached for five seasons. “We’re gonna miss him. He’s a wonderful kid. It’s his fifth year. He redshirted the first year, and he’s started, I think, every game since. He’s a great kid and it’s good for him to get that goal for us tonight.”
The penalty was the result of the build-up play of freshman and former club teammates Kwame Awuah and Cyle Larin. Awuah was able to play Larin through with an eye-of-the-needle pass, forcing the Scarlet Knights to take down the UConn forward.
The Huskies, who outshot Rutgers by a total of 22-10, received a performance worthy of a true number one goalkeeper from the backup Wagmeister, as the redshirt sophomore filled in for the injured Blake admirably.
“Of course it had to be Rutgers because I’m from New Jersey,” said the redshirt sophomore. “I was recruited from there. Coming in, it was a little bit bigger than people even thought it was for me. I’ve just waited three years for this moment, but Andre’s a good keeper, so when he’s back, I’ll still be there to back him up. I’ll just be ready to come in whenever.”
The Scarlet Knights were able to test UConn’s keeper, as Wagmeister was forced to make 3 saves, the biggest of which was a diving save with six minutes remaining.
“The kid was a very good goalkeeper in Jersey and he’s had the unfortunate luck of backing up Andre,” said coach Reid in praise of his keeper. “But he was great for us tonight. I’m really happy for the kid because he’s worked his backside off for two years and change. He got what he deserved tonight.”
UConn were coming off of three consecutive conference draws, which is something uncharacteristic of the Huskies, who have been known to be a national powerhouse.
“It’s huge for us,” said Bradley. “We had three draws in a row. It’s something that, since I’ve been here, it’s not something we take or we accept. To finally get that first win, it feels really good. We’re not out of the conference yet, so if we can keep this going, we’ll be fine.”
The Huskies’ victory gives them a 1-0-3 conference record and a 4-2-3 record overall. UConn will be back in action Saturday night as they host new conference rival Memphis.