After earning a spot on The American’s All-Conference Second team and All-Rookie team her freshman year, redshirt sophomore Kess Elmore tore her ACL in practice. Now healed, Elmore has been a fixture at the top of the UConn women’s soccer team’s starting 11 and in the goal column.
“She’s electric but she’s unpredictable, sometimes she’s checking and sometimes she’s making a quick little run,” head coach Margaret Rodriguez said. “When she sees it, she sees it. Our team actually needs to play her quicker and she’ll get in behind the back line. She’s quick, she’s opportunistic and she has got a nose for the goal.”
Elmore had a direct impact on the first two goals scored versus Fairfield on Sunday. Just ten minutes into the action, she bolted forward to corral a long ball from teammate Alana Moore and dribbled to her right before burying a shot into the net to put UConn up 1-0.
“She trained a lot this spring for us so I kind of knew what she was going to bring,” Rodriguez said. “She is electric on the field and she needed to get some confidence so getting two goals against Providence and [Fairfield] was big for her. It’s nice to have her back out there.”
Sunday’s goal came just days after she put away a similar strike against a future conference-mate, the Providence Friars. After missing more than a year of time on the field, Elmore said she is having a great time being back on the pitch and her play has shown just that.
“I have just been trying to time my runs and look for the in-behind pass and both times my teammates have found me and pretty much one-on-one with the goal[keeper] and a couple of defenders,” Elmore said.
Elmore also helped the Huskies bolster their lead as she put in the final ball of a ping-pong-like passing maneuver before midfielder Melina Couzis floated a goal over the Fairfield keeper in the 62nd minute. The long-range goal elicited cheers from the home crowd at UConn’s substitute-stadium at the University of Hartford’s Al-Marzook Field.
In her first season at UConn, Elmore bagged five goals and picked up an assist over 17 contests. Her season was highlighted by a stretch of games against CCSU, Arkansas and Fordham in which she scored five goals in the three matches. Within those three contests, she picked up a brace in two of them.
Elmore came in three years ago as the lone international recruit from Liverpool, England. She was on track to become a member of England’s U20 team for the Women’s World Cup but did not participate because of her ACL injury.
Not only was she due to play on the world stage, but she also experienced success at the club level in England. Before arriving at UConn in 2017, she already had four Liverpool Ladies Player of the Year trophies and a 2014 Youth FA Cup on her trophy shelf.
Elmore is back in action for the Huskies with three full seasons of play to look forward to. It may not be long until we see her name places other than just the Huskies’ roster.
Mike Mavredakis is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.