Women's Soccer: Undefeated Huskies prepare for Syracuse

In this file photo, UConn junior forward Rachel Hill dribbles past a Navy player during a women's soccer game at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium in Storrs, Connecticut on Aug. 24, 2014. (File Photo/The Daily Campus)

The UConn women’s soccer team will take on Syracuse Thursday at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium as they look to stay undefeated in the 2015 season. The Huskies have been victorious in all three of their games so far this season, including the home opener against Colgate on Aug. 21.

UConn will enter the contest fresh off a 4-2 win over Navy on Sunday. The Huskies rode a relentless offensive attack in Sunday’s win, recording 30 shots, with 21 of those shots coming in the first half. 

Junior Rachel Hill struck early for the Huskies, scoring her fourth goal of the season in the 12th minute to give UConn a 1-0 lead, but Navy responded in the 36th minute to tie the score 1-1 heading into halftime.

A pair of UConn goals from Andrea Plucenik and Stephanie Ribeiro in the 58th and 60th minutes, respectively, opened up a 3-1 lead for the Huskies before Navy quickly got a goal back in the 64th minute. The scoring tempered considerably in the match’s final third, but Kim Urbanek tacked on one more goal for the Huskies in the 76th minute to lock down a third consecutive win for UConn.

Syracuse comes to Storrs with a 2-2 record this season. The Orange are coming off a victory last Sunday over Albany, in which they produced a game-winning goal in the 84th minute to notch a 2-1 victory. Prior to the win over Albany, Syracuse had suffered a pair of 1-0 losses to Providence and St. John’s. The Orange’s other win in 2015 came on Aug. 21, when they crushed Massachusetts 6-0 in their road opener.

The offensive players to watch are Hill for the Huskies, and graduate student Alexis Koval for the Orange. In only 180 minutes, Hill leads her team with four goals. For Syracuse, Koval has a team-leading three assists in addition to two goals.

Sunday’s match holds extra significance for two Huskies in particular – namely, senior defender Megan Hunsberger and junior midfielder Maddie Damm, who both transferred from Syracuse to play soccer at UConn.

Hunsberger, who debuted for the Huskies last year, sees the Orange as just another opponent. 

“I know we can we win,” she said. “It’s just another game we have to win.” 

Damm, who is playing her first season in Storrs this year, sees the rivalry game a bit differently. 
“I’m really excited,” she said. “I’m not really nervous – a little anxious. I just want Thursday to be here, but I think it will be a good game.”

UConn has dominated the all-time series against Syracuse, leading 18-1-1. The previous meeting between the two teams came in 2014, when the teams drew 1-1 in the series’ first tie. Both scores in that match came in the first half, with UConn’s Danielle Gottwik and Syracuse’s Koval recording the goals.


Tyler Keating is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus, covering UConn women's soccer. He can be reached via email at tyler.keating@uconn.edu.