The UConn women’s soccer team improved to 5-0 thanks to two goals in the final five minutes that helped cap off a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Harvard.
The Huskies tied the game in the 86th minute when Samantha McGuire settled over the ball in the box before depositing in the equalizer in the back of the net.
In the 89th minute Rachel Hill completed the comeback effort by scoring her team-high fourth goal of the year from just outside the box.
The comeback was an emotional one as the Huskies rallied together in the final moments.
“You don’t find many people that are going to pull that off,” McGuire said. “We have a bunch of girls that are just going to fight to the end.”
In the first half both teams struggled to gain control of the game.
UConn’s best scoring chance in the first half came in the 26th minute. Stephanie Ribeiro crossed a beautiful ball from the corner that found the head of Hill but she was unable to convert.
Despite the offense not clicking, the Huskies did a good job containing Harvard’s dynamic junior forward, Margaret Purce, early on.
“The defense for the most part played well,” UConn head coach Len Tsantiris said. “Overall they were organized, we didn’t really leave any gaps for them to get through. It was just that one play where we should have been with Purce.”
That play came in the 69th minute where Purce was left unmarked in the box. Joan Fleischman crossed a ball into Purce that she was able to easily finish off to give Harvard a 1-0.
Despite the deficit with just 20 minutes remaining, the Huskies kept probing for opportunities. In the 75th minute Harvard goalie Lizzie Durack made a great save on a shot attempt from Hill in the box. Durack had nine saves in the game.
The Huskies never quit. They continued to create scoring chances before finally converting. Tsantiris credits the comeback to UConn’s depth and fitness.
“They know that they are fit and they can push [the pace],” Tsantiris said. “We started winning the tackles and being more aggressive and then we got the opportunities.
With the victory, UConn now has a 5-0-0 record for the first time since 1998. The Huskies are not focused on their record but rather the process that leads to success.
“I think we are just coming in to practice every day extra focused,” Hill said. “Even off the field we are hanging out a lot more and getting the team chemistry there.”