The UConn women’s soccer team defeated Tulsa 1-0 Thursday night in their first road conference game of the season.
For two teams with often inconsistent and ineffective offenses, the game went as one would expect. The first half ended in a scoreless tie, with each team managing four shots.
Tulsa (3-10-2) created a scoring opportunity in the 40th minute, with a nice combination from leading scorer Rachel Thun-Blankenship and Ashlyn Heckman, that led to a corner kick. Soon after, Tulsa’s Reagan Whitlow got an open shot on goal, which looked like enough to give the Hurricanes the lead, but Huskies goalkeeper Courtney Hofer made a stellar save to keep the game scoreless.
Five minutes into the second half, UConn junior Vivien Beil finally broke through. Freshman Yamilee Eveillard, who was given an assist on the play, took a shot that rebounded off the Tulsa keeper. Beil was in perfect position for the rebound, easily putting it home from a yard out for what would be the game-winner. It was Beil’s third goal of the season, second on the team to freshman Kess Elmore.
The rest of the game saw more of the same: plenty of shots and corners, but no goals. Hofer made five saves in the game, her most in any game for the Huskies so far. UConn ended with a 21-14 advantage in shots, and each team had seven corner kicks.
UConn (4-5-3, 2-1 in the American) is now at fifth place in the American with six points.
Next up for the Huskies is a trip to Memphis to take on the Tigers on Sunday. Memphis, with a 2-2-1 conference record and 8-5-1 overall, is currently in fourth place in the American with seven points.
The Tigers have one of the most explosive attacks in the conference. Memphis is second only to nationally-ranked UCF in goals per game in the American at 2.38, helped by their conference-leading 26 assists. Junior Elizabeth Woerner has eight goals and 18 points on the year, both of which lead not only her team, but are tops in the whole conference.
Yet as dangerous as Memphis is offensively, they are susceptible on defense. The Tigers have allowed 1.77 goals per match, the second-highest mark in the conference. In goal, redshirt junior Rachel Ashworth-Shepard has started 11 games, but she will likely not be the one the Huskies see in goal. Freshman Elizabeth Moberg has started the past two games, as the Tigers have looked to fix their problems on the back line.
A season ago, the Huskies battered the Tigers 4-1 at home, including two goals from now-Orlando Pride forward Rachel Hill. But that was then, and this year’s team has struggled to take advantage of scoring opportunities. That said, the team has improved significantly since Hofer took over in goal and are currently playing their most inspired soccer.
The Huskies will look for their third straight win on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Andrew Morrison is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets at @asmor24