Women's soccer finish on top after a hard-earned win in OT against the Bearcats
Published: Friday, October 18, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 18, 2013 00:10
UConn sophomore Stephanie Ribeiro was the hero in Storrs Thursday night.
The UConn women’s soccer team continued its momentum from last weekend’s win over Temple by picking up a 1-0 overtime victory against Cincinnati at home, marking the first time UConn has won at least 10 regular season games since 2010.
Ribeiro, who finished the game with four shots, had the one shot that counted the most, scoring in the 96th minute to give the Huskies the win.
The game started out sluggishly, with the first half consisting of back and forth play by the Huskies and Bearcats. There were frequent exchanges of possession and no offensively dominant team.
“They were a lot better than we thought,” Ribeiro said of the slow start. “In the second half we got more opportunities, we were passing better.”
In the 15th minute, senior midfielder Jennifer Skogerboe had her first major opportunity of the night. She drilled the ball from the far side of the box, but Cincinnati goalkeeper Natalie Smith saved the shot.
At the half, the game was scoreless, with UConn leading Cincinnati 6-3 in shots. However, the Huskies’ offense was unleashed in the second half, firing off a dozen shots that just missed the target.
Skogerboe continued her strong offensive performance with a shot in the 58th minute, but Smith made the save. She tried again in the 67th minute, but waited too long while driving into the box, resulting in a shot deflected by a Cincinnati defender.
Two minutes later, freshman forward Rachel Hill’s shot on a pass from Skogerboe just missed on the near side.
Back-to-back shots in the 73rd minute from defenders Gabrielle Charno and Liana Hinds were both miraculously saved by Smith.
Charno’s shot from the edge of the box was saved by the diving goalkeeper, and Hinds followed it with a shot from far beyond the box that an outstretched Smith somehow managed to stop.
Hill fired off two more shots in the 77th and 79th minutes, but could not connect.
With just five minutes remaining in regulation, junior forward Riley Houle made a play, driving into the box, but held the ball for too long. Despite the error, she still managed to get the shot off, and a miraculous block by a Cincinnati defender at the goal line kept the game scoreless.
“We were just getting shots after shots,” Skogerboe said. “You wish you could finish them all, but obviously you can’t. As long as we’re getting the chances, one of them is bound to go in.”
Neither the Huskies nor the Bearcats could connect before the end of 90 minutes and the game was sent to overtime.
Two close plays less than a minute into the overtime period kept the Huskies on their toes, but it was UConn that would eventually come out victorious.
Ribeiro stole the ball from a Cincinnati defender, passing it to Skogerboe. Skogerboe brought the ball farther up the field, passing it back to Ribeiro, who then positioned herself to place the game-ending dagger in the net.
The players built on the animation of their coach, Len Tsantiris, who was far more vocal Thursday night than in previous games.
“I get them going, I have to,” Tsantiris said. “They’re too young.”
The win was also UConn’s sixth clean sheet and second overtime victory of the season.
UConn’s next matchup pits the Huskies against conference rival Louisville on Sunday at noon in UConn’s final home game of the season.