Redshirt senior goalkeeper Scott Levene has been a crucial member of the UConn men’s soccer team for the past four years. After taking over as starting goalkeeper in the middle of his redshirt freshman season, Levene has been a crucial part of every Husky victory.
Tuesday night’s match against Hofstra marked Levene’s 57th consecutive start in net for the Huskies, passing UConn legend Andre Blake for the second-longest streak in program history.
The streak-breaking start was a good one for the Huskies’ keeper, as Levene held Hofstra to a shutout.
It was a different type of game for UConn. For most of the season, they have outplayed their opponent and held an advantage in shots. Tuesday night, the Huskies were outshot by the Pride, 10-9. Hofstra played a different style than UConn had seen this season.
“[Hofstra’s] a good team so I say this affectionately, it’s like a club game,” UConn head coach Ray Reid said. “It’s like a Sunday game where you’re playing 25-year-olds up and down… It got crazy, those games are tough to play.”
Levene and the defense managed to keep the Pride off the scoreboard, but they didn’t play to the level they are capable of.
“It was a tough game for us, we did not play our best,” Levene said. “They didn’t really have a lot of chances, they had a lot of the ball in the second half but a lot of the stuff I had to do was just cut out crosses. We stayed compact and we didn’t give them any really good chances.”
Giving up shots isn’t a problem if the opponent doesn’t score. The problem for UConn is still scoring themselves. Abdou Mbacke Thiam played very well for the Huskies on Tuesday and scored the game-winner, but Thiam’s second goal was just the third goal of the season for the team.
“We’re working on attacking, that’s all we’re working on,” Reid said. “But it takes time… But here’s the flip side, we’ve now played five games, we’ve let up one goal in the run of play… If we continue to play good defense, the goals will come.”
The Huskies got their first regulation win in Tuesday’s game and it was only the second game this season that didn’t go into overtime. UConn will certainly take any win they can get, but Levene’s plethora of experience with the team offers an interesting perspective on overtimes.
“My redshirt sophomore year, our first three games went into overtime and that was the best thing that could happen to us because we got an extra 60 minutes of fitness and I think playing those overtime games in the beginning helped us,” Levene said. “But now we go into three games in a week and that’s tough, so not having to go into overtime hopefully will give our bodies a little bit of a break and we’ll be ready for Saturday again.”
Levene kept a clean sheet in goal and the Huskies got a much needed victory. Despite the lack of goal scoring and the defensive disappointment, UConn is in good shape.
“It’s a Tuesday night, coming off of Notre Dame and Georgetown, two big games in front of 4,500 people each,” Reid said. “It’s a perfect trap game, so give our guys credit, they got a W.”
Josh Buser is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.