After tying Syracuse 1-1 on Monday in New York and playing at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium for the first time this season, the UConn women’s soccer team was defeated by Yale 1-0 on Friday.
UConn entered Friday’s home opener looking to improve their already-impressive ranking as the No. 21 team in the country. Instead, they suffered their first loss of the young season.
Yale’s Noelle Higginson scored the match’s lone goal in the 19th minute during a chaotic scramble in front of the UConn goal. The Bulldogs controlled the tempo for the rest of first half, forcing UConn goalie Mollie Kerrigan to make a pair of great saves to keep the deficit at one.
The Huskies played with more aggression in the second half, but Yale’s defense held strong. UConn failed to record a shot on goal in the match and were outplayed 6-4 in total shots.
An equalizer opportunity came with just over 15 minutes remaining as the Huskies earned a free kick within range of the Yale goal. A strong strike from sophomore Kristen Vinciguerra led to a shot from junior Heidi Druehl, but it was quickly blocked by a Yale defender. UConn also took five corner kicks in the game, but were unable to convert any into scores.
The upset defeat is only UConn’s third loss in 28 meetings all-time against Yale, with the last loss coming in 2004. Yale was also without their leading scorer Aerial Chavarin, who was out with an injury.
“Every game is dangerous,” said head coach Len Tsantiris after the loss. “There are no easy games. We just need to find a combination to score goals right now.”
The tough weekend for UConn continued in New Brunswick, N.J. this weekend as the Huskies subsequently fell to territorial rival Rutgers 2-0 on Sunday.
On the stat sheet, the Scarlet Knights were simply a higher caliber than the visiting Huskies. Rutgers outshot UConn 20-9, with eight of those shots coming on goal compared to UConn’s five, and earned five corners to UConn’s one. The Huskies committed eight fouls to Rutgers two.
Juniors Kim Urbanek and Druehl had two shots apiece leading the Huskies.
Rutgers would put the pressure on UConn early in the second half. Four minutes into the second half, freshman Alaysia Lane put a shot on that missed high and 40 seconds later sophomore Taylor Almer missed a shot of her own wide. At the 50:19 mark, Colby Ciarocca put away her second goal of the season with her right foot into the far corner.
UConn goalie Molly Kerrigan had six saves, but as time winded down she would be beat again as freshman Amirah Ali scored in the 81st minute, her second of the season, on an assist from Nicole Whitley after a takeaway at midfield.
UConn could not muster any more shots as the game reached its conclusion. The Huskies were held scoreless on the weekend.
Next weekend, they will head to New Britain to play in a tournament hosted by Central Connecticut State. They will search for their first win Friday against St. John’s and, win or lose, will take on the host Blue Devils the following day.