Men's Soccer: South Florida hands Huskies second straight loss

In this file photo, UConn men's soccer junior defender Jakob Nerwinski dribbles away from a Quinnipac player during the Huskies' game at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium in Storrs, Connecticut on Monday, Aug. 31, 2015. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

The UConn men’s soccer team (3-2-3) suffered a 1-0 road loss to conference rival South Florida (6-2-0) Saturday night in Tampa, Florida.

The match was scoreless for the first 60 minutes until Bulls forward Nazeem Bartman notched his third goal of the season, beating UConn’s red-shirt sophomore goalkeeper Scott Levene with a quick shot to the far post.

Levene was solid in the net for most of the match, despite the Bartman goal. He saved ten balls and guarded the net with authority on all three Bulls corner kicks. However, USF goalkeeper and Preseason Conference Goalkeeper of the Year, Spasoje Stefanovic, had the last laugh. Stefanovic was credited with the win. 

UConn put up ten shots in the match, but their true scoring opportunities were very limited. Stefanovic was only forced to save three balls in the game. 

UConn’s best scoring opportunities came in the final twenty minutes of the match. The first opportunity came in the 72nd minute of play. Abdou Mbacke Thiam rifled the ball over the crossbar after gathering the ball at the top of the box.

UConn’s second scoring opportunity was the true heartbreaker of the match. UConn junior captain Kwame Awuah crossed a beautiful corner kick with ten seconds left in the match to teammate Istvan Kanyo. However, Kanyo’s header was not able to find the back of the net. Stefanovic was able to come out and make his third save of the game, sealing the win for the Bulls. 

The junior Awuah had another solid outing Saturday despite not being able to find the net. He had a pair of shots on goal to go along with the near assist at the end of the game. 

“Kwame Awuah is one of the best players in the country,” UConn head coach Ray Reid said, earlier this season after the UC Santa Barbara game. “So far this year he has worked his butt off. If we get him going with his gifts and get the two guys up front going with their gifts, we are going to have something special. He is one of the most talented guys to play at Connecticut since I have been here. This kid is as good of a field player as we have had here. People talk about Cyle Larin and O’Brian White, but this kid has got more. Is he going to use it? That is completely up to him. I cannot figure him out.”

Saturday’s loss is UConn’s second straight loss of the season. The Huskies have only been able to put up one goal in each of their last three games, after putting up a combined four goals against Harvard and Santa Barbara. 

UConn’s all-time record against the Bulls now falls to 9-2-3. UConn’s next game will be at home against Providence on Wednesday, Sept. 30. The game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.


Eddie Leonard is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering UConn men's soccer. He tweets @EddieLeonard23.