Men’s soccer ends losing skid, tops No. 10 Saint Louis
Published: Monday, September 23, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 23, 2013 00:09
Despite missing star forward Mamadou Doudou Diouf, the UConn Huskies finally found the back of the net, as the 12th-ranked Huskies were able to upset the 10th-ranked Saint Louis Billikens.
Contributions from freshmen Cyle Larin and Ethan Decker filled the void left by the absence of their Senegalese star, as the two newcomers were both able to find the net against a tough Saint Louis defense.
Larin, whose second goal of the season gave the Huskies the lead in the 18th minute, opened the scoring. Junior midfielder Adria Beso found Larin stationed at the top of the box, giving the freshman from Brampton, Ont., plenty of space to find the net with a right footed effort.
After celebrating with his teammates on the field, Larin pointed up to the Morrone Stadium press box, where fellow forward Diouf was seated.
“This is his last season,” said Larin. “I’m just gonna work for the team and work for him because he’s out right now. Until he comes back, I’m gonna do my best to do everything for him and the team. He’s an important part of the team.”
UConn’s second goal of the day was a majestic one, as Decker was able to find the top corner on a UConn free kick. Decker unleashed on the ball from 25 yards out, as his thunderbolt of a shot was positioned perfectly to pad the UConn lead.
“I just wanted to get it on goal,” said Decker. “I just tried to hit it as hard as I could on goal and hoped that it went in, and it did.”
Decker, who has come up through the New York Red Bull academy, has had the chance to learn from some of the very best on his way to UConn.
“It’s awesome playing with (Thierry) Henry,” said Decker of his experience with the MLS side. “He was my childhood idol. Training with them really helped me get ready for this. It really helped me prepare for the college game.”
UConn’s lone negative on the day was a 73rd minute penalty which was conceded after a foul in the box. Keeper Andre Blake guessed right on Alex Sweetin’s attempt, but the ball sailed over his outsretched arms, leading to a nervy finish.
From there, UConn worked hard to keep Saint Louis off the board, as the highly ranked Billikens never really got much going against UConn’s stout backline.
“That’s a very good Saint Louis team,” said Coach Ray Reid to describe his team’s performance. “Very good. I thought we were dangerous out there. We came to play.”
After the game, Reid was able to shed a little light on just how long the Huskies will be without their senior star Diouf.
“He’ll be out for a couple games,” said Reid. “It’s just a small leg injury. We’ve got him on crutches though just to be smart. He’ll probably be back against either South Florida or Temple.”
UConn will now travel to take on the aforementioned USF and Temple on Sept. 27 and Oct. 2 respectively.