Huskies to face conference foe Rutgers
Women's soccer heads to New Jersey
Published: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 23:10
The UConn women’s soccer team will face Rutgers in Piscataway, N.J. tonight in a crucial game for the Huskies as they make a late season push for a strong finish in the American Athletic Conference.
For coach Len Tsantiris, the message is simple: “We have to win.”
The Huskies (10-7-0, 4-3-0 American) have had a rollercoaster of a season in the American, starting it off with two wins at home and then following up their commanding start with two devastating losses in Florida.
UConn bounced back and won their next two, but could not hold a 2-1 lead against Louisville last Sunday to earn their third conference loss.
The final two games of the regular season will take the Huskies to Rutgers and Memphis, two games the team has to win if they hope to finish with a high seeding in the conference tournament and a chance to return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2010.
Thursday night’s game against Rutgers (11-3-2, 4-2-1 American) will feature a Scarlet Knights squad whose three-game win streak was broken on their Florida road trip last weekend, where they fell to Central Florida and tied South Florida.
With only three losses this season, two of which came against nationally-ranked teams, Rutgers will prove to be the most significant challenge to UConn in the team’s final two games.
The Scarlet Knights’ offense is led by the trio of junior Stephanie Scholz, redshirt senior Jonelle Filigno and freshman Madison Tiernan.
Scholz leads the team with nine goals while Tiernan has five assists this season. With an additional seven goals and three assists from Filigno, the Rutgers offense has been strong enough to hold the Scarlet Knights to only three losses on the season.
UConn’s offense has been led by freshman Rachel Hill, whose 10 goals and five assists are the best on the team. Although Hill has not scored in the last four games, her three assists in the last three games have been crucial for the Huskies.
Sophomore Stephanie Ribeiro has been even more important down the stretch, scoring five goals in the last four games. Ribeiro scored the overtime game-winner against Cincinnati last Thursday and netted two against Louisville on Sunday.
Continued contributions from senior Jennifer Skogerboe, redshirt junior Julie Hubbard and junior Riley Houle have also served to keep the Huskies offense afloat in their conference schedule.
“We do have a lot of (offensive) options,” Ribeiro said. “A lot of people are scoring, not just me, so that’s good for the team.”
UConn is 15-2-4 against Rutgers all-time, with the team’s most recent win coming last season in a 3-1 victory in Storrs. However, with the Scarlet Knights’ two places above the Huskies in the conference standings, earning a win tomorrow will mean much more than just UConn’s 16th all-time victory.
The game will start at 7 p.m. in Piscataway and live coverage will be broadcast on 91.7 WHUS throughout the contest.