Women's Soccer: Huskies head down to face SMU

The Women's Soccer team defeated Memphis 4-1 on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016. They improved to 10-2 for the season. (Charlotte Lao/ The Daily Campus)

Coming off a week where they swept a pair of conference games at home, the UConn women’s soccer team hits the road for a two game trip to Texas on Thursday, Oct. 6.

Starting things off is a showdown at SMU (8-3) in Dallas. The Mustangs, a team UConn (10-2) has never lost to, will come into the game with a pair of conference victories themselves.

UConn recently knocked off Tulsa 4-2 and Memphis 8-1. The dynamic offensive duo of seniors Rachel Hill and Stephanie Ribeiro generated nearly all of the offense. Together, they scored all eight goals and combined for an impressive 20 points last week.

For SMU, they knocked off a couple of Florida teams. On Sept. 29, taking on then No. 15 USF, the Mustangs pulled off the upset winning 1-0 in Tampa. Then, in a Sunday contest against UCF in Orlando, SMU won 3-1.

The Huskies continue as No. 21 in the country as they enter their third game against the Mustangs, a ranked opponent this season. They lost to then No. 6 BYU 4-0 earlier in the season but, knocked off then No. 15 USF last week.

While the Mustangs don’t appear to have any dynamic threats like Hill or Ribeiro, they do appear to have a balanced attack. Freshman midfielder Allie Thornton carries them offensively with 21 points, nine goals and three assists. Redshirt sophomore Vanessa Valdez is up next with 18 points, stemming from six goals and six assists. Blair Thorpe, Haley Thompson and Hannah Fleet each have three goals and four assists for 10 points while junior midfielder Claire Oats has four goals.

The SMU offense has been impressive all year. They currently lead the American Athletic Conference in points, goals, assists, assists per game and goals per game.

The Huskies hang close with SMU in all of those categories but you won’t find the same balance from UConn. As a team, UConn leads the conference in shots. Individually, Ribeiro leads the conference in shots, shot per game, points, points per game, assists, assists per game, game winning goals, and goals. Her partner Hill isn’t far behind in most categories, including finishing second in shots and shots per game

Relying so heavily on the pair has not been a problem for the Huskies yet. Ribeiro has amassed 32 points on the season, eight times the third best UConn player. Her total comes to 12 goals and eight assists. Hill has 24 points on 10 goals and four assists. Senior midfielder Maddie Damm, who has chipped in an assist in each of the last two games, is next with four points on one goal and two assists.

The game is shaping up to be an offensive show-down, and that might favor UConn as senior keeper Emily Armstrong is ahead of SMU’s sophomore Catie Brown in all available goalie metrics.

The game will take place at 7 p.m. local time, 8 p.m. Connecticut time, on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, at SMU’S Westcott Field.  

Matt Barresi is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at matthew.barresi@uconn.edu.