The UConn women’s soccer team easily handled conference foe East Carolina on Thursday night, winning 3-0 at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium. The win improved the No. 18 Huskies to 11-2-0, with a 3-1-0 record in American Athletic Conference play.
The Huskies offense got out to a very quick start. Senior forward Andrea Plucenik scored just 1:37 into the match, on a wonderful unassisted chip shot that floated over the head of East Carolina goalkeeper Saundra Baron, hit the crossbar and bounced downward over the goal line.
“I think [scoring that early] makes us go that much harder,” UConn leading scorer Rachel Hill said after the match. “It just makes us keep going.”
Hill added a second goal for the Huskies in the 24th minute, as she carried a ball from Stephanie Ribeiro into the box and fired it into the back of the net. The goal was her tenth of the season.
“It was good that we got two goals in the first half. It helps a lot,” UConn coach Len Tsantiris said. “Every game in our league is won by one goal.”
The Huskies offense slowed down significantly after that, but Kim Urbanek did tack on an additional goal in the 84th minute, her second of the season. The Huskies outshot the Pirates by a 14-6 tally.
UConn’s defense held up fairly well, keeping the East Carolina attackers out of rhythm throughout the match. Emily Armstrong made three saves and picked up the win in net, while reserve keeper Allison Saucier made two saves in nearly 18 minutes of relief.
“The defense actually had a very good effort, but sometimes they got rattled,” Tsantiris said. “I want them to be more composed, to believe in their abilities, and not to get too rattled about things. Sometimes, we are rushing to kick the ball. But, we are learning. It’s not easy to have a shutout, especially in our league.”
Next, UConn will take on conference-leading Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium. The game is crucial for the Huskies, who are jockeying for position atop the American Athletic Conference standings.
“[Cincinnati] are a very good team. They are very physical, and very good on set plays,” Tsantiris said. “They beat us last year, so it’s going to be a big game. We have to get points at home.”
Tyler Keating is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.