Despite ample opportunity to take advantage of chances, much of the UConn women’s soccer team’s performance came down to one phrase uttered by the NEC Front Row announcement in the first half: “Unable to connect.”
Throughout the game there was a series of potentially threatening attacks that could have led to cheers from the UConn (1-1-1) fans. These chances fizzled out as balls were played too heavily or passes flew off the mark.
For much of the game the ball moved around the mid-field like a ping-pong ball in a washing machine. They struggled to put together passes, especially any in the air, which led to shaky attacking sequences. Often, they opted for long crosses from the wings that were easily handled by the CCSU defense.
UConn was able to make one opportunity count late into regulation as Jackie Harnett tied it up in the 81st minute of action. Harnett danced on CCSU defender Sydnie Dorman and took a rip at the goal from about 21 yards out that went in off the bar. Her goal came after a long-range wonder strike from CCSU’s Jaime Collimore that put them ahead 1-0 with just 10 minutes to go in regulation. The score finished at 1-1, despite going into double overtime.
In the first half, UConn fans saw just one shot all half-long as Vivien Beil got a goal in the 26th minute. Most of the half was back-and-forth play that led to little on either front for these two sides. UConn saw the most chances in the final third, but none dangerous enough to make CCSU defense sweat.
The second half saw much of the same back-and-forth with little going on up front.
The first overtime period saw a few chances for the Blue Devils, but none greater than the strike from Erica Bardes that UConn keeper Randi Palacios had to tip off of the bar to keep out. Palacios was strong overall in net and helped keep the Huskies in the game.
The second overtime was all business for the home side, with constant attacks that the Huskies’ defense was forced to thwart. With three minutes remaining, UConn had a free kick in a dangerous area, but Duda Santin shot it directly at the goalie. Then CCSU took another long range shot that pinged off the bar with a minute to go.
UConn’s central midfield of Beil and Jess Mazo had a strong game overall, as Mazo seemed more confident with the ball at her feet. She took a few hits, as she had in the game against Fairfield, but was able to play for much of the 110-minute match.
The Huskies’ right-back Pato Jerzak was rock solid as usual, going forward with ease while helping to anchor the back line when necessary.
There were some bright spots to this game, as xett secured her first goal as a Husky and Mazo had steadily improved, but there is certainly room to improve. This was partially a game plan issue, as the team was too eager to move the ball into advanced areas that they did not allow the play to develop. When they did wait, the balls played up front were typically sloppy or too heavy to create a real chance.
This team needs to get on the same page in the passing game, and the coaching staff needs to be willing to make adjustments as time goes on. At the end of the first half, it seemed as though the team was more willing to put the ball on the ground and work up an attack, but they did not continue that for the rest of the game, reverting back to a misguided, cross-heavy aerial attack.
UConn will play Colgate at Al-Marzook Field at the University of Hartford at 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Mike Mavredakis is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.