The Huskies (2-1-0) went silent on offense as they were shut out Friday 2-0, in a home loss against Louisville (2-0-1). This loss snapped a seven game winning streak going back to October of 2015 and drops their record at Morrone Stadium to 23-6-7 since the start of the 2013 season.
Louisville only needed 44 seconds to open up the score as Mohamed Thiaw snagged a bad pass and was able to angle the ball in the bottom right hand corner of the net, to give the Cardinals an early lead. Coach Ray Reid was unhappy to say the least about the beginning of the game saying, “we completely breathed life into them by giving them a goal 44 seconds into the game…it was certainly not the start we wanted and it put us on put heels much quicker then we wanted to be.”
Following the first minute goal, Louisville was able to double their lead 29 minutes later as Tate Schmitt scored off of a rebound created on a free kick. After a foul just outside of the UConn18 yard box, Louisville whipped a ball towards goal, which was saved by UConn redshirt-junior keeper Scott Levene. After the save, the ball landed right in front of Schmitt who was able to easily put it away.
After the second goal, the game slowed down as UConn was able to dominate the lion share of possession but they were held to just four shots. UConn started to get into a little groove following the goals but were unable to muster much offense. Captain Jake Nerwinski echoed this when he said, “after those two goals we kind of settled down and we saw that we could be a good team. We were out possessing them the entire second half. It seemed like it wasn’t really our night.”
Louisville locked down defensively after putting two in the back of the net as they forced the Huskies into six offsides. In the second half of the game, UConn looked to cut the lead in half as their best chance came in the 58th minute off of Nerwinski curling left-footed shot. Nerwinski was able to create chances for the Huskies by whipping crosses in the box but the Huskies were unable to get a finishing touch on any of the crosses.
With the benefit of scoring two early goals, Louisville was able to play more defensive minded as Nerwinski said: “I feel like they came out and stayed on defense, they didn’t push guys forward that much, they were compact in the center of the field. It is tough getting thru eight or nine guys in the box with three guys for us.”
Ultimately, UConn’s offense and defense did not perform as well as it did in the first two matches of the season, as they sit at 2-1 and one more home game to go before heading out on the road. When asked about how he feels about his team’s 2-1 start, Coach Reid noted that: “this is twice in three home games we gave away devastating goals… we giftwrapped a goal for them.”
With a quick turnaround with a game three days later, he noted that the team had to do better Monday night against Cornell, as Nerwinski added, “we have to kind of learn from this but we have to move on quick. We have a game Monday it’s important to get back on the winning streak.”
Matt Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering UConn volleyball. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.