Women’s soccer extends winning streak to four
Published: Sunday, September 8, 2013
Updated: Sunday, September 8, 2013 23:09
The UConn women’s soccer team defeated Maine and Syracuse in 1-0 victories this weekend to complete the sweep of their three-game home stand.
In Friday night’s game against the Black Bears, the Huskies dominated the offensive end early, taking 12 shots in the first half.
Sophomore forward Samantha McGuire at the 5th minute and freshman forward Rachel Hill at the 8th minute took shots that just missed, but junior midfielder Riley Houle was able to cut in from the right and connect for UConn’s first and only goal in the 9th minute.
Several more shots from the Huskies – including one from sophomore forward Stephanie Ribeiro in the 41st minute that broke just right – kept the pressure on Maine, all the while UConn’s defense did not give up a single shot to the Black Bears in the first half.
“They had everybody in their back, everybody was dropping back,” Coach Len Tsantiris said. “It’s tough to break that down, especially if you only have one goal.”
Holding a 1-0 lead heading into the second half, the Huskies continued their strong offensive pressure, though they could not add to their goal total.
At the 77th minute, Maine had one of its two major scoring opportunities, trying to capitalize on rare defensive miscommunication, but could not get a shot off before redshirt freshman Gabriella Cuevas contained the situation.
UConn finished the game with 23 shots to Maine’s two.
“I think the most important thing is ‘zero,’” Tsantiris said. “We didn’t give anything up. We had the possession. … We could’ve had two or three more goals, but their keeper played really well.”
In Sunday afternoon’s game against Syracuse, the Huskies maintained their unshakable defense in the first half, holding the Orange to just two shots.
Hill broke through to score first in the 42nd minute, giving UConn its only goal of the game.
“We fought hard, which is what we needed to do,” Hill said. “(My teammates) are finding me really well, so I think if we just keep it up we’ll be fine.”
Shots by redshirt junior forward Julie Hubbard in the 19th minute and Hill in the 20th and 34th minutes also highlighted UConn’s offense in the half. The Huskies mustered a total of eight shots in the first 45 minutes.
In the second half, Syracuse ramped up their offensive pressure, getting off six shots that kept the ball in UConn territory for much of the second 45 minutes.
“It was a very hard-fought game,” Tsantiris said. “I thought we held on very well, especially towards the end. We slowed things down and got the ball out of our danger zones. It was a good effort.”
The best shot opportunity for the Orange came at the 49th minute, but a save by redshirt freshman goalkeeper Emily Armstrong kept Syracuse scoreless. Shots at the 58th and 60th minutes also kept the Huskies on their toes.
The game marked the fourth straight contest in which Armstrong did not give up a goal, having only given up one goal since the team’s 3-2 loss to Wisconsin to open the season.
“It definitely shows how our defense is getting a lot more comfortable with each other,” Armstrong said. “We’re working together really well. We cover for each other.”
UConn will look to continue its win streak as they face Boston University Friday night in Boston at 7 p.m.