Soccer gets first American win against SMU
Published: Friday, September 27, 2013
Updated: Friday, September 27, 2013 01:09
The UConn women’s soccer team (7-4-0, 1-0-0 American) defeated Southern Methodist (5-4-0, 0-1-0 American) 2-1 Thursday night in their American Athletic Conference season opener.
Goals from freshman forward Rachel Hill and redshirt junior midfielder Julie Hubbard propelled the Huskies to their first victory in the new conference. SMU was handed its first loss in conference play, ending its two-game winning streak.
UConn’s first American Athletic Conference game
The women’s soccer team played UConn Athletics’ first game in the American. With the win, the Huskies are undefeated – for the time being – all-time against conference foes.
The American, comprised of mainly of teams from the old Big East and Conference USA, features old rivals such as Louisville and Rutgers while introducing new rivalries with teams like SMU, whom UConn had not faced since 1996 in a 4-0 victory for the Huskies.
Rachel Hill scored again
Hill scored her team-leading sixth goal of the season Thursday as the Huskies earned the win. She has scored in six of UConn’s 11 games this season, and in five of its seven wins. Additionally, Hill has a .511 shots-on-goal percentage and has added two assists.
Despite the fact that Hill’s offensive play leads the team, she still is not completely satisfied with the results.
“We finished a couple chances and that’s not enough,” Hill said. “We need to finish more goals from now on, because we had the chances.”
First non-shutout win
In addition to notching their first win in the conference, UConn earned its first win of the season against an opponent who scored. Prior to Thursday’s game, the Huskies had not allowed a goal in any of their six wins.
Coach Len Tsantiris said special changes were made for tonight’s offense in order to ensure the win – playing an extra forward. He said that SMU was notorious for its offensive capabilities this season, and wanted to be able to strike back against anything the Mustangs could muster.
With Hill scoring in the seventh minute and SMU redshirt junior forward Shelby Redman scoring in the 11th minute, Tsantiris found the team in the exact situation he felt could arise. Because of his offensive adjustment, Hubbard was able to score in the 41st minute and give the Huskies the lead for the remainder of the game.
“(Junior midfielder Riley Houle) tapped it to me, I took it a couple touches forward and, you know, I whipped it in,” Hubbard said.
The quotable Len Tsantiris
“We gotta play hard and win the game ¬ that’s what it is right now, really – and try to get goals,” Tsantiris said. “That’s one thing for their confidence, because they deserve it, really. They deserve to get goals. They play well.”