The season came to a devastating end for the UConn women’s soccer team this Friday. After coasting past UAlbany with high hopes in the first round of the NCAA tournament, they fell to Auburn 4-1 in Gainesville in the second round.
Senior Maddie Damm scored the lone goal for UConn, which came one minute into the game from fellow senior Stephanie Ribeiro. It seemed like the Huskies were going to be able to pull off a win with star goalkeeper Emily Armstrong, but that would not prove to be the case.
Less than five minutes later, Auburn’s Kristen Dodson, who is the Tigers’ leading goal scorer, netted one from the far side of the field to tie up the game.
The game would remain knotted for the next 35 minutes. With four minutes to go until the end of the half, Auburn scored two goals in less than two minutes to give them a sizeable 3-1 lead heading into the half. The Huskies were outshot by the Tigers 9-4.
In the second half, however, UConn outshot Auburn 6-3, but couldn’t create any opportunities. Ribeiro, senior Rachel Hill and freshman Kristin Vinciguerra all got close, but never found the back of the net.
Auburn tacked on a fourth goal in the 71st minute to give them a three-goal lead, solidifying their win and a spot against Florida in the Sweet Sixteen.
It was a disappointing end to a long, exciting season for the Huskies. The future of their program hangs in somewhat of a limbo as five stellar seniors, who have carried the team this season and all of their previous ones, will part.
They will be saying goodbye to two of the most dynamic offensive players to ever come through the program: Rachel Hill and Stephanie Ribeiro. Hill finished with 61 career goals, just two shy of tying the program record for career goals, while Ribeiro finished with 21 goals, three shy of tying the program record for most goals in a season. Hill and Ribeiro both finished with over 100 career points; Hill has a total of 140 (fourth-best in UConn history) and Ribeiro joined the 100-Point Club after the first round, finishing with 102 career points, 55 of them coming from her senior season alone.
Ribeiro is certainly in contention for NCAA Player of the Year, as she is (as of right now) tied for first in the nation in goals scored (21) and tied for second in assists with 13.
They will also be saying goodbye to Maddie Damm, who scored the only goal in UConn’s loss, as well as Toriana Patterson, who helped anchor a Husky defense that created so many shutout opportunities for Armstrong, who finished the season with 11 shutouts and 26 for her career. She was named the American Athletic Conference goalkeeper of the year for the second year in a row.