The UConn women’s soccer team will open up American Athletic Conference play today as they host the Tulsa Hurricanes at Morrone Stadium. The Huskies (8-2) will be coming off a week’s rest after disposing of Fordham 4-1 last Thursday. The Hurricanes (4-5-1) have not been in action since a 2-1 loss to Ole Miss at home 11 days ago.
“We are starting the conference games. We take every game very, very, very serious. They are a good team and everybody knows everybody now so it’s going to be a fight,” UConn head coach Len Tsantiris said.
The game will also be Tulsa’s conference opener. They share no mutual opponents with UConn this season, but last year the Huskies beat the Hurricanes in Tulsa 2-1 in double-overtime. In the win, UConn goalkeeper Emily Armstrong picked up a yellow card and both goal scorers for the Huskies have since graduated.
Despite a fairly strong season last season, Tulsa has struggled this year but junior midfielder Rachel Thun has not. She leads the team by a significant margin with 17 points on the season with six goals and five assists. She tracks very similarly to UConn stars Rachel Hill and Stephanie Ribeiro when looking at most offensive metrics.
Tana Dake, also a junior midfielder, is another player UConn will have to watch out for as she has two goals and five assists on the year. Tulsa, as a team, leads the conference in saves, with most going to junior keeper Rebecca Defer. They also lead the conference in fouls.
Meanwhile, for UConn, the offense is clicking at the right time. Ribeiro, a redshirt senior, leads the way with 21 points on eight goals and five assists. Fellow forward Hill has 15 points on six goals and three assists. Another bright spot, while seeing increased minutes and a new position, freshmen Kristen Vinciguerra and Alexa Casimiro each scored their first goals in the 4-1 drubbing of Fordham. The Huskies currently lead the American in shots.
Just because it’s now conference play doesn’t mean the Huskies will shake things up much.
“No, it’s just the games are really going to count (in-conference) eventually so you have to win,” said Tsantiris when asked if UConn will change their approach at all now that they are in conference play.
The game will be a 7 p.m. kickoff and opens up a weekend conference home stand as Memphis will come to Storrs on Sunday to challenge the Huskies.
Matt Barresi is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.