Notebook: Bradley lifts UConn with first career goal
Huskies earn first conference win without injured captains
Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 10, 2013 00:10
Redshirt senior midfielder Colin Bradley’s early penalty goal held up for UConn, and the Huskies (4-2-4, 1-0-3 The American) picked up their first conference win Wednesday night as they topped the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (5-6-1, 2-2-0 The American), 1-0, at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium.
Colin Bradley’s first career goal propels Huskies
About 16 minutes into the match, freshman defender Kwame Awuah made his way along the left side of the pitch and fed a through-pass to a charging Cyle Larin into the penalty box. Larin was then fouled and taken down by a Rutgers defender, prompting referee Lou Labbadia to blow the whistle and award UConn the penalty kick.
Bradley stepped into the box and calmly put the ball over a diving David Greczek, Rutgers’ freshman goalkeeper, and into the right side of the net. The goal was Bradley’s first ever as a Husky in the 77 matches he has played.
“Yeah well it’s about time, right?” Bradley said. “I think I’ve been here almost 80 games and that’s my first goal. So to finally get that off my back, it’s something hopefully I can build off of and get a couple more before I’m out of here.”
Coach Ray Reid praised Bradley’s efforts and said that he is happy for Bradley’s goal.
“He’s a great kid, we’re going to miss him, a wonderful kid,” Reid said. “It’s his fifth year. He redshirted the first year, and has started every game I think since. He’s a great kid, it’s good for him to get that goal for us tonight.”
First conference victory of the season
After opening the inaugural American Athletic Conference season with three consecutive draws against USF, Temple and UCF, UConn was finally able to crack the goose egg on the left side of the conference column with its win over Rutgers Wednesday night.
“It’s huge for us,” Bradley said. “I think we had three draws in a row, and since I’ve been here, it’s not something we accept. So 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.”
Reid added that despite the previous draws, he thought the team had played “very well.”
“We have a young group and I thought tonight they did a very good job. A very good win, good performance by a lot of guys,” Reid said.
Huskies playing without Andre Blake and Mamadou Doudou Diouf
In last Saturday’s match against UCF, UConn junior goalkeeper Andre Blake was taken out of the match in the second overtime after a mid-air collision caused the Jamaica native to fall and land on his neck. Blake was able to walk off the field on his own several minutes later, and Reid had claimed that Blake would not miss any time. However, the junior goalkeeper’s name was not included in the Huskies’ starting lineup Wednesday night.
Senior forward and leading scorer from last season, Mamadou Doudou Diouf, has yet to return to action as well since an injury caused him to miss time after UConn faced Syracuse back on Sept. 17.
Despite the absences of these two team captains, UConn was not short of any leadership on the field thanks to contributions by the likes of Bradley and the replacements.
“Those two guys (Blake and Diouf) are two guys we always look to whenever we are kind of in a hole,” Bradley said. “So tonight being one of the older guys I try to be someone who can lead, and lead by example. Jacob did an awesome job without Andre. He made a big-time save at the end there, so that makes my job a lot easier when the guys who are filling in are doing such a good job.”
“We’ve got a great group of kids,” Reid added. “We had a deep team. We got a tough team. All the guys step up so I’m very proud of those guys.”