The UConn men’s soccer team traveled across the state Tuesday night to take on the Yale Bulldogs in a midweek non-conference match. The Huskies’ impressive six-game win streak was on the line, along with the chance to reach double-digit wins on the season.
The last several meetings between UConn and Yale were tightly contested matchups with three 1-0 games dating back to 2011, including two games that went to double overtime. This game would be no different as the Huskies and Bulldogs fought back and forth for a chance to win.
The Huskies had several more chances than Yale over the course of the game, outshooting the Bulldogs 10-3. The first big opportunity came in 15th minute, when forward Abdou Mbacke Thiam gathered the ball in Yale’s half of the pitch and took a shot off of his weaker foot. Unfortunately, his shot was deflected away by a Bulldog defender.
As usual, however, Thiam would not be denied a goal. In the 28th minute, Thiam buried the ball in the bottom left corner after Alex Sanchez gave him a pass into the box. Freshman winger Niko Petridis also earned an assist on the play after he found Sanchez in open space to start the attack. The goal was Thiam’s team-leading ninth of the season and the 20th goal of his career. The Huskies have never lost in games that Thiam has scored in throughout his two years in Storrs and that proved true once again as the game came to a close.
UConn could not manage another score over the last 62 minutes, but it didn’t matter since the defense took care of the rest. Goalkeeper Scott Levene wasn’t tested too much, as he only had to make one save on the way to his seventh shutout of the season. His defense, led by center back Simen Olafsen, is now at 457 consecutive minutes without allowing a goal, spanning over five games and part of a sixth game. This incredible statistic is a testament to just how committed the team is to its defense, and is a big reason the Huskies are on a roll midway through the season.
UConn’s win improves their record to 10-3-0 (3-0-0 the American) on the year, while Yale drops to 1-5-2 (0-1-1 Ivy League) for the season. The Huskies’ win brings the all-time series to 40-26-4 in favor of UConn, dating back to 1935. Earlier in the week, UConn moved up to No. 13 in the TopDrawerSoccer rankings and reached No. 24 in the NCAA rankings after several weeks out of the polls. Adding to their win streak against Yale should only continue the Huskies’ climb up the polls next week.
Before that, however, UConn will take on the University of South Florida Bulls in a conference match at home Saturday night in hopes of increasing their win streak to eight and perhaps cracking the top ten in the national rankings.
Chris Hanna is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org