In a rematch of last season’s Sweet 16, the UConn women’s soccer team was shut out by No. 22 Rutgers 2-0 on Sunday afternoon at Morrone Stadium.
UConn (3-1-0) had nine shots in the first half, with four of them coming on goal. Their closest opportunity came at 7’. After a short battle with Rutgers’ defense, senior Maddie Damm played well off a good feed, but shot just wide.
“We definitely need to work on finishing and playing the ball up, keeping the ball, getting shots on goal,” Damm said. “We did a little better with that in the second half. Obviously we had more possessions and had more chances [in the second half]; we just need to come out like that next time.”
Rutgers (3-0-1) had an open opportunity around 8’, but goalkeeper Emily Armstrong made a full body save to keep Rutgers off the board.
The Scarlet Knights offense was able to penetrate the UConn defense early in the game. They amassed three shots in the first 15 minutes, taking advantage of UConn’s inability to set up efficiently in Rutgers’ zone.
At the 22’ mark, Rutgers capitalized on a corner kick. Senior Madison Tiernan scored on a header from freshman Nicole Whitley for the first goal of the game and her second goal of the season.
Weak defense continued to plague the Huskies. Just 10 minutes later, Rutgers scored off another corner kick, this time from freshman Brittany LaPlant.
“[The two goals were] a gift. A gift!” head coach Len Tsantiris said.
UConn had two opportunities soon after, but junior Rachel Hill missed both shots to keep the score 2-0. The Huskies took four more shots before the half came to a close, with the Scarlet Knights still leading 2-0.
“The thing is, attacking, we really didn’t have that, especially in the first half. We did not challenge their keeper,” Tsantiris said. “Second half, yeah, we had the possession, but still, we did not create enough opportunities.”
The Huskies spent the second half predominantly in Rutgers’ zone, but was unable to make the most of it. UConn took 13 shots and didn’t allow Rutgers to get a single shot, but every shot either went wide or cleared the crossbar.
UConn put together a couple good opportunities in the last few minutes, but were unable to convert them into goals. This is the first time the Huskies have been shut out all season.
The Huskies out-shot Rutgers 22 to 9, but did not capitalize on a plethora of Rutgers fouls. The Scarlet Knights committed six fouls and allowed three free kicks, but nothing came of them.
“Obviously, we have a rivalry with Rutgers, but we try to go in every game with the same mentality”, Damm said. “I just didn’t think we didn’t come out as hard as we should have in the beginning.”