The UConn women’s soccer team (12-2-0) defeated Cincinnati 1-0 in a tightly contested American Conference game at Morrone Stadium on Sunday.
With the victory, UConn remained undefeated at home as they improved to 7-0 on its home turf.
The difference maker in this game came in the 51st minute. After a bad giveaway by Cincinnati, UConn’s Andrea Plucenik wound up one-on-one with Cincinnati goalkeeper Natalie Smith before depositing a shot into the back of the net.
The goal was Plucenik’s second in as many games for the Huskies and her third of the season.
“I think I was just goal hungry this weekend,” Plucenik said. “I’ve been wanting to come out and score some goals and prove my position. I think it worked.”
UConn’s best chance of the first half came in the 7th minute. Andrea Plucenik made a great move to beat her defender and she found Rachel Hill inside the box. Hill’s shot attempt was saved Cincinnati goalkeeper Natalie Smith to keep things tied at 0.
The UConn defense had to overcome another injury, this time to freshman Heidi Druehl who went down after a collision in the 15th minute. Senior Ruby Fee replaced Druehl and the defense did not miss a beat.
“Ruby did a great job, she helped big time,” Tsantiris said. “She hasn’t played much this year but that’s the big thing to have a good team you have those answers [to injuries].”
Before the end of the half, Cincinnati had a golden opportunity to get on the scoreboard. On the counter-attack, Julie Gavorski tried to chip UConn goalkeeper Emily Armstrong from the top of the box. She was able to get the chip over the outstretched arms of Armstrong but her shot went just wide of the net.
At the half, both teams were scoreless despite Cincinnati having eight shot attempts and UConn having seven.
In the second half, the UConn defense was able to survive a couple of close calls from a Cincinnati team that refused to quit. In the 83rd minute, Cincinnati’s leading goal scorer Danielle Rotheram had a chance to get on the board when she was left open in the box but her shot hit the post and bounced out.
Moments later in the 89th minute, Emily Armstrong made her fifth save of the game on Cincinnati’s final chance to cap off UConn’s third straight shutout.
“I think we stepped up big when we had to,” Armstrong said. “We blocked a lot of shots. We fixed our formation, we we’re holding our line too high in the first half but we figured it out and fixed it in the second half so they weren’t serving those balls over us.”
With the victory the Huskies were able to leap frog Cincinnati in the American standings as they are now in soul possession of second place. UConn will head on the road with confidence as they look to build on the momentum from a successful home stand.
“I see us learning each other’s styles better,” Plucenik said. “We are working together so much better and I see us scoring a lot more goals this season. It is a good group of forwards we’ve got.”