After ten days of rest, the UConn women’s soccer team looks to extend their two-game winning streak against their final non-conference opponent on Thursday night.
After going stretches of games with many shots and only one goal to show for it, the Huskies (7-2-0) have tightened their offense in recent games, taking half as many shots and scoring multiple goals, including a four-goal performance against Stony Brook on Sept. 11.
“Rachel [Hill] and Steph [Ribeiro], if they get the ball around the box, they’re dangerous,” head coach Len Tsantiris said after their most recent win. “This has been a problem some previous games, where we had thirty-something shots and we had one goal… at least they’re getting comfortable around the box.”
In her last two games, senior Stephanie Ribeiro has scored three goals. Her contribution to the Husky offense is vital, as the precision in her shots is often times the difference between a win and a loss.
Her recent trend of taking fewer shots but scoring more goals is a team-wide trend: UConn only put up 17 shots against Stony Brook and 20 against Colgate, but the team scored six goals in those two games. It has taken the Huskies five games to score six goals since the season began.
Their opponent, Fordham (5-2-1), will prove to be a formidable foe, giving the Huskies more of a challenge than they have experienced in their last few games. Though they lost their most recent game, the Rams have recorded four shutouts so far. The strength of their defense in combination with the elevating UConn offense should be a great challenge for the Huskies to overcome.
UConn’s defense has improved vastly over the course of their last few games. They have not let up a first half goal in their last two games, and probably would not have let up a goal at all if not for the second half against Stony Brook, when Tsantiris put in mostly bench players for the entirety of the second half.
With the number of shots down and the number of goals up, expect to see at least one goal from both Rachel Hill and Ribeiro. Sophomore Kim Urbanek is also someone to look out for; even though she has yet to score a goal this season, her dynamism and aggressive plays on the field create lots of opportunities for other players to score.
“Kim is a great player,” Tsantiris said. “She’s a play-maker, bigtime. She sees everything on the ground, in the air. She’s so accurate.”
This will be the Huskies’ final non-conference game of the season. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Morrone Stadium.