Women’s soccer looks to break losing streak
Published: Friday, October 11, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 11, 2013 00:10
The UConn women’s soccer team started play in the American Athletic Conference with six points after its first two games, the first time it had accomplished that feat in conference play since 2007.
Then Florida happened.
After getting blown out by Central Florida and losing in double overtime to South Florida, UConn (8-6-0, 2-2-0 the American) returns home to right the ship when it takes on Temple at Morrone Stadium on Friday night.
The Owls (6-6-1, 1-3-0 the American) opened play in the American with a 2-0 win over Houston on Sept. 26 before three straight losses to Southern Methodist, South Florida and Central Florida.
UConn has played the same four teams to open the season, but defeated both Houston and SMU.
Currently sitting in sixth in the conference, the Huskies have the toughest two-game stretch of their season out of the way, and will now look to battle for position in preparation for the conference tournament.
Leading the way for UConn is dynamic freshman Rachel Hill. With the departure of Danielle Schulmann after the 2012 season, the Huskies were left without one of their top offensive threats.
But replacing Schulmann up top is New Hampshire all-time leading scorer in girls soccer, a forward who compiled 151 goals over four years.
Hill has picked up at UConn where she left off in New Hampshire. The former All-New England selection has 10 goals in 14 games, trailing only Louisville’s Charlyn Corral – who has 11 goals in 12 games – for the conference lead.
With the exception of last weekend, UConn has also been anchored in the back by the play of freshman goalkeeper Emily Armstrong.
Armstrong, a transfer from Boston College, has started all 14 games for the Huskies, allowing only 16 goals, seven of them in the two games in Florida. The defense in front of Armstrong has been tough to beat in front of her, allowing only 61 shots to reach the goal. Armstrong’s 45 saves are the fifth most in the American, and she is second in the conference with five shutouts.
Meanwhile, Temple goalkeeper Shauni Kerkhoff has been one of the conference’s top goalkeepers, despite the Owls’ lackluster record. Kerkhoff ranks second in the conference with 53 saves and first with seven shutouts.
The problem for Kerkhoff is that her offense has done little to help her get results for Temple. The Owls have 14 goals in 2013, three more than Hill by herself. Ingrid Mello, a freshman from Brazil, leads Temple with four goals.
UConn’s attempt to break its two-game losing skid begins at 7 p.m. on Friday. WHUS 91.7 FM will have play-by-play coverage of the game.