With their 1-0 victory over SMU (13-6-2) on Sunday at Morrone Stadium, the UConn women’s soccer team (18-2-1) earned themselves the 2016 American Athletic Conference Tournament Championship. It was their second American championship in a week, as they won the regular season championship when they knocked off East Carolina in their last regular season game of the season last Sunday.
Winning the regular season conference championship earned them the right to host the tournament this week and the players are thankful.
“For me it was just really cool to hear the fans cheering for us and have the support of our families out here. I think it definitely helps but at the end of the day our senior leaders helped on the field and everyone played a part in supporting the team today,” senior goalkeeper Emily Armstrong, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, said about any advantages to home field.
Undefeated Streak Continues
The Huskies won two games on the weekend, defeating USF Friday night in the semifinal game and SMU in the championship. The victories kept them unbeaten in conference. They went 8-0-1 in the regular season, with the lone draw coming at SMU on Oct. 6. The two wins pushed the streak to 11 games with a 10-0-1 conference record.
The Huskies haven’t just been on a tear in conference play, they haven’t lost overall in nearly two months. They fell to Florida State, then ranked No. 1, by a 3-0 score in Tallahassee on Sept 8., and haven’t lost since. It’s an impressive streak of 14 games, where again, the only non-victory was the SMU tie. Their two losses this season have both come to ranked teams. Florida State is currently ranked No. 13 and Rutgers is currently ranked No. 25 in the NSCAA Coaches Poll.
Armstrong talked about their impressive run through the conference.
“It just shows how we’ve had composure and held it down in the back and I think we’ve combined well with our forwards, getting the goals we’ve needed too, and when we couldn’t get the goals, we’ve held it down in the back. It just shows the combination we have amongst our entire team and how we’ve come together this year,” Armstrong said.
After winning several American Athletic Conference awards for their play during the season, the Huskies picked up where they left off as they claimed many accolades from the conference tournament.
Senior forward Rachel Hill was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player, having scored two goals this weekend. Senior defender Tori Patterson was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Defensive player.
Junior defender Tanya Altrui and redshirt senior forward Stephanie Ribeiro were named to the All-Tournament Team, along with Armstrong, Hill and Patterson.
Onto the Next One
Although they were incredibly likely to earn a bid, winning the American Championship firmly secured the Huskies a spot in the 2016 NCAA Championship. The bracket will be released after Monday evening’s selection show but the Huskies are in strong position to host an opening round game at Morrone Stadium.
The opening round is scheduled to be from Nov. 11 to 13. The tournament concludes with the Final Four the weekend of Dec. 4 in San Jose, California.
Matt Barresi is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.