Huskies to play in Big East conference quarterfinals
Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 1, 2012 23:11
The No. 6 UConn men’s soccer team begins its march to a Big East Conference Tournament title at home, Sunday at 1 p.m., when they take on Villanova University.
After securing their 12th regular season Big East Conference title last week with a 2-0 win over Providence College, UConn now enters the second phase of the season, the Big East Tournament. UConn has won the Big East Conference Tournament seven times before, the last time coming in 2007.
This season UConn earned the top seed in the Big East Conference Tournament and a bye into the quarterfinals on the back of their Big East Blue Division title, a campaign that saw them earn a 6-2-0 record.
In the quarterfinals UConn will play the No. 4 seed from the Red Division, Villanova. Villanova earned a berth in the quarterfinal Thursday afternoon when they defeated the No. 5 seed from the Blue Division, Seton Hall, 3-1. In the first round match Villanova took the lead in the 10th minute and then doubled their advantage in the 51st. Seton Hall clawed one back in the 72nd minute but a third Villanova goal in the 88th minute effectively ended the match.
Villanova has had a lackluster season in Big East regular season play, earning a 3-3-2 record. Two of Villanova’s Big East wins were over DePaul and Pittsburgh, who combined have one win, one draw and 14 losses. The one stand-out result for Villanova is the 0-0 draw they earned with St. Johns, who are also in the Big East Conference quarterfinals. UConn, on the other hand, dominated St. Johns 3-0 when they came to Joseph J. Morrone Stadium, making Villanova’s strongest result against a top side less noteworthy.
In last season’s Big East Conference Tournament UConn was forced to play in the first round match after losing its final regular season match 1-0 against Seton Hall. In the play in match UConn crushed DePaul 4-0 before moving on and beating Rutgers 3-1 in Piscataway, N.J. in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey, UConn squeaked by Louisville 1-0 before falling in heartbreaking fashion to de facto home side St. John’s 1-0 in extra time.
UConn has done everything right so far this season to set itself up for a deep run in both the Big East and NCAA tournament. But head coach Ray Reid knows the hoodoo his team faces if a match goes to penalty kicks. The last three seasons UConn’s season has been halted due to spot kicks, and despite their recent struggles Reid welcomes the challenge this season.
“We will win a knockout game this year on penalty kicks, I’m telling you right now, either in the Big East Tournament or the NCAA Tournament, we will win a knockout game this season on penalty kicks,” Reid said.
The winner of Sunday’s game moves on to the semifinals at Red Bull arena.