Men's Soccer: Huskies seek to continue a conference winning streak against UCF

UConn Abdou Thiam(11) avoids a USF defender during the huskies 1-0 loss to the bulls on October 15, 2016. The game ended the huskies 6 game win streak.(Ruohan Li/ The Daily Campus)

After dropping their first conference game of the season, the Huskies will travel down to play UCF this Saturday. UConn holds a 7-0-1 record all-time against the Knights as they are seeking to win their eleventh win of the season and their second straight game in a row.

On the season, the Huskies are 11-4 and 3-1 in the American as they won last Tuesday with seven seconds left in the first overtime against Boston College. In conference play, the Huskies have defeated Temple, Tulsa and Cincinnati by a combined score of 7-0.

In the last matchup between UCF and UConn, senior tri-captain Jake Nerwinski tallied the go-ahead goal in the 80th minute to give the men’s soccer team to a 2-1 win at Morrone Stadium. UCF comes into this year’s matchup with a 3-8-0 overall record and 1-3 record in The American. Their last match was a double overtime loss on Tuesday at Stenson. On the season, the Knights have been led by Matias Pyysalo, who is third in the conference with eight goals this season.

Even though, UCF comes into the game with a worse record, the Huskies are taking nothing for granted as they are preparing like this is any other team.

“Our conference is evenly matched as anyone can beat anyone on any given day. We should keep the same mentality going into each of these games… its always going to be a tough road; we just have to finish off strong,” said senior tri-captain Kwame Awuah.

For the Huskies this season, their scoring and second half goal numbers have overshadowed their stellar defensive performances. Scott Levene, the redshirt junior goalkeeper, has recorded eight clean sheets and has helped UConn earn a top-10 national ranking in goals against average (.52). In the last NCAA rankings, UConn received 19 votes for inclusion into the top 25, as they have won eight out of their last nine matches.

Following two games in the last week, UConn will now only have one game a week and head coach Ray Reid said.

“Everyone is fatigued, not just our team. Fatigue is in. Now we start to play once a week on Saturdays. When we played once week we put five on Cincinnati, we were fresh…now we can rest and train. Hopefully we can navigate down in Florida Saturday night,” Reid said.

The Huskies will now get extra time to prepare for their opponents and will have fresher legs, as they started sluggishly Tuesday against BC.

This is the Huskies third-to-last game, as they have UCF and Memphis on the road, before wrapping up this season with SMU at home on Nov. 5.

“We don’t want to go on the road the next two Saturday’s and come up with two L’s…we have three left (games) we are hoping we can take care of business the next two weekends and win the conference on senior day,” coach Reid said.

The game against UCF will start at 7 p.m. and students can keep up with the action via a live stats link, available on the UConn men’s soccer website, or by following @UConnMSOC on Twitter.


Matt Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering women’s basketball. He can be reached via email at matthew.kren@uconn.edu.