Women's Soccer: Huskies offense kept at bay in 0-0 draw

UConn soccer players celebrate in a game against Memphis on Sunday, Oct. 2nd, 2016. The Huskies won 4-1. The Huskies came to a draw on Thursday, Oct. 6 against SMU. (Jason Jiang/The Daily Campus)

After two weeks of strong offense, the UConn women’s soccer team (10-2-1) recorded their first draw of the season as they tied undefeated SMU in Texas.

SMU (8-3-1) was coming off a strong victory against USF, who was considered to be either the best or second best team in the conference. SMU has not been a formidable foe in recent years, but Thursday night’s game proved that it will not be easy for the Huskies to get by them in the conference tournament.

SMU was the dominant team throughout the night, but UConn goalkeeper Emily Armstrong saved the Huskies. She recorded eight saves, including several big ones that came late in the game and in both overtimes.

The Husky offense was kept at bay by the Mustang defense. UConn was able to muster 10 shots, only two of them coming on goal, compared to SMU’s 20 shots, eight of which were on goal.

The Mustang defense did the one thing they needed to do in order to force a draw: keep Stephanie Ribeiro and Rachel Hill from getting any good chances. Ribeiro and Maddie Damm were the only two players to get shots on goal, and Hill was only able to put together one shot the entire game. Ribeiro led the team with four.

Though not a problem in recent games, corner kicks emerged as an issue for the UConn defense this game. The Mustangs kicked 10 corners, and although they did not score, the large number of shots and shots on goal compared to other opponents in recent games proved that SMU was not a team to be taken lightly, as they have been in the past.

Considering the amount of game-changing moments that Armstrong had through regulation and both overtimes, there are still holes that the Husky defense need to plug as they continue conference play.

If anything, UConn got a good taste of just how difficult the conference tournament will be this year. Both UConn and SMU are tied for the top spot in the conference, each boasting a 2-0-1 record.

UConn’s next opponent is Houston, who is totally defeated in conference play and has a record of 5-3-1 on the season. The Cougars offense has been relatively quiet, with only 15 total goals scored all season. Sophomore Desiree Bowen is their leading goal scorer, with five goals and 10 points on the season.

Their defense is not comparable to the likes of SMU; in each of their three losses, they have let up two or more goals and have only scored one goal total.

The Huskies will have a chance to bounce back and start a new winning streak this Sunday at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time at the Carl Lewis Complex in Houston.

Stephanie Sheehan is the associate managing editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at stephanie.sheehan@uconn.edu. She tweets @steph_sheehan.