Women’s Soccer: Huskies take on Memphis in final road trip of season

UConn women's soccer forward Rachel Hill runs upfield during the Huskies' game against New Hampshire at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium on Nov. 15, 2014. (File Photo/The Daily Campus)

Riding a four-game win streak, No. 15 UConn women’s soccer will face Memphis Thursday night in the first of two games on the Huskies’ final road trip of the season.

UConn (12-2-0, 4-1-0 the American) comes into the matchup against the Tigers (7-4-3, 2-1-2 the American) having won six of its last seven games and sitting in second place in the American Athletic Conference standings.

“I see us learning each other’s styles better,” senior forward Andrea Plucenik said after Sunday’s win against Cincinnati. “We are working together so much better, and I see us scoring a lot more goals this season. It is a good group of forwards we’ve got.”

Plucenik has become an integral part of the Huskies’ offense in the last two games, scoring the first of three goals against East Carolina last Thursday and the game-winning goal against Cincinnati on Sunday.

UConn has shown in game after game this season that the team has a variety of offensive weapons. Nine players have scored for the Huskies, and five have scored more than once.

Junior forward Rachel Hill leads the team with 10 goals and three assists, including five game-winning goals. Assisting her is junior forward Stephanie Ribeiro, who has five goals of her own and five assists. Plucenik and senior forward Samantha McGuire have three goals each. Freshman forward Kim Urbanek has chipped in two of her own.

Overall, UConn is averaging 1.93 goals per game, which tops the Tigers’ 1.36 goal-scoring average. The Huskies’ defense has also outperformed Memphis this season, allowing just 0.79 goals per game to the Tigers’ 1.36 goals-allowed average.

Defensive play has been critical in UConn’s last three games. Junior goalkeeper Emily Armstrong has posted three straight clean sheets and has made 14 saves during that span. Head coach Len Tsantiris said she has made “big-time saves” since the start of conference play, which Armstrong attributes to “vast improvements” made since last season.

Coming into the matchup off a loss at UCF and a tie at No. 20 South Florida, Memphis currently sits right in the middle of the pack in the conference standings. The Tigers are 5-1 at home this season, only losing to Ole Miss in a 2-1 overtime heartbreaker.

Memphis does not have a single dominant scoring threat. Three players drive the Tigers’ offense. Freshman Marie Levasseur and junior Valerie Sanderson lead the team with five goals and three assists each. Elizabeth Woerner, also a freshman, has added four goals of her own. In total, seven players have scored for the Tigers.

Memphis has relied on holding its opponents to one goal or fewer en route to winning this season. The Tigers only have one win in games where they have allowed two or more goals.

The game is scheduled to kick off at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex in Memphis at 7 p.m. Thursday.


Kyle Constable is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at kyle.constable@uconn.edu. He tweets @KyleConstable.