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Men's soccer to compete in Big East semifinals

Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012

Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 17:08

The No. 6-ranked and No. 1 seed UConn men’s soccer team faces its toughest challenge of the season tonight when they face the No. 7-ranked and No. 3 seed Notre Dame at PPL Park in Philadelphia with a berth in the Big East Men’s Soccer Championship final on the line. UConn is looking to win its third regular season Big East title and Big East Tournament double and is still in the running to be the first team ever to win the Treble (the conference regular season, conference tournament and national championships).

UConn has had five days to prepare for the semifinal against Notre Dame since beating Villanova 1-0 at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium. During that time, Coach Ray Reid has been getting his team ready for Notre Dame and their vaunted offensive.

“They are good, they are really, really good,” said Reid.

“They have really good attacking guys. Ryan Findley, Harrison Shipp and Dillon Powers are good going forward.”

Senior captain Carlos Alvarez also spoke of the challenge in playing Notre Dame.

“They are a good team,” said Alvarez. “I think they’re the best team we played all season and it’s gonna be a tough game, but a good test for us. We beat them once and we’re confident we can do it again. We just need to go with the right mentality and go out there and play our game.”

Notre Dame amassed a 5-2-1 Big East regular season record and come into the Big East semifinal on the heels of a 4-2 comeback win over Syracuse in upstate New York last week. Notre Dame lead the Big East in shots and goals, netting 44 in just 18 matches. UConn has the third-best attack, with 36 goals. Defensively, UConn comes into the match with the best defense in the Big East, allowing just nine goals in 18 matches. Notre Dame has the sixth-best defense, giving up 16 goals in 18 matches.

Thursday, Alvarez was one of eight UConn players to earn a Big East end of season award, as he was named Midfielder of The Year and a member of the All-Big East First Team. Goalkeeper Andre Blake, striker Mamadou Doudou Diouf and center back Jossimar Sanchez joined Alvarez on the All-Big East First Team, with left wing Stephane Diop named to the All-Big East Third Team. Rounding out the list of accolades was midfielder Adria Beso, who was named to the All-Big East Rookie Team.

The match will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be televised on CBS Sports Network. The winner will play the winner of the match between No. 2 seed Georgetown and No. 4 seed Marquette in the final on Sunday.

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