For a team that struggles offensively, Sunday may have been a breakthrough for the UConn Women’s soccer team. The Huskies (6-2) knocked off Stony Brook (1-5-2) by a score of 4-1 at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium. It was a much needed win after a 3-0 loss to No. 1 Florida State on Thursday.
The Huskies were raring to go immediately. Just 30 seconds in, UConn had possession and Stephanie Ribeiro put a strong shot on net that hit the far corner of the goal and bounced out. It was a sign of things to come for her.
Stony Brook would counter with a strong chance seven minutes in. Raven Edwards got possession and would fight through a pair of UConn defenders as well as keeper Emily Armstrong to maintain possession. The ball came loose with Armstrong down and out of position but in a dash for the ball Stony Brook’s shot went wide and hit the post.
A little later Ribeiro drew a handball outside the box. Taking the kick, she put a low shot on but Stony Brook goalkeeper Cara Gallagher made the save.
Five minutes later the Huskies were back on the attack. A little give-and-go action between Ribeiro and Rachel Hill generated an open shot for Ribeiro, who was out wide in the box but Gallagher made a diving save. In the same wave of pressure, Danielle Gottwick would put a nice cross in from the far side, but Hill would whiff on a header and an open Maddie Damm would whiff on a shot from the same ball.
It would take 30 minutes but Hill would help the Huskies break through and score first. Faith McCarthy put a nice ball into the box and Hill received it with her back to the net. In a quick motion she set herself up, whipped around and fired a rocket past Gallagher for her fourth goal of the season.
Less than two minutes later UConn was adding to the lead. Ribeiro let one rip from far out and beat the goalie high and to the right for her fifth of the season giving the Huskies a two goal lead.
Ribeiro wasn’t done. At the 39 minute mark she would receive a pass with her head outside the box, settle herself and skillfully flip the ball over the Stony Brook defender. Ribeiro recovered the ball to break free, and blasted one by for her second goal of the game and sixth of the season.
That would be it for the first half action and Stony Brook would generate the first action of the second half four minutes in. Lindsay Hutchison would beat multiple Husky defenders and get the ball to Christen Cahill, who missed high, the beginning of a strong half for her.
UConn, who started the second half with Hill and Ribeiro on the bench tallied their fourth goal of the game minutes later. Sophomore Kim Urbanek would send a corner into the box which was received by Shay Nakahira in front of the net near side. She would pass it back out to Urbanek who made a beautiful chip back in and a crashing Annika Schmidt would head it in far side.
“Annika attacks the ball which is good. We want to find the ball around the box and attack, She is good in the air,” head coach Len Tsantiris said.
For Schmidt, a redshirt freshman, it was the first goal of her collegiate career.
“Getting my first collegiate goal is pretty special, you know just got to be patient and wait on God’s timing and it will come,” Schmidt said.
On the pretty pass from Urbanek, “Kim is a great player, she can play any type of ball, I give her most of the credit I was just there to finish the goal”
“Kim is a great player, a great server, she’s a playmaker big time,” Tsantiris said.
Stony Brook didn’t give up. On the offensive, Hutchison would send a long and high shot on net that sailed into the top corner over a leaping Armstrong. It appeared it was going to miss high, and that was how Armstrong played it until it was too late. Moments after the goal she put another shot on challenging Armstrong. The Sea Wolves would find confidence from this as their offense showed improvement from the first half.
The Huskies and Sea Wolves would each have a couple more chances but no more goals. Still, the four goals were big for the Huskies, who have struggled offensively up to this point in the season.
“We really just put the past games behind us,” Schmidt said. Talking about coming into this game after a challenge against Florida State, “We wanted to score and we had to score to move on from that past game.”
The win was also win number 550 for long time head coach Len Tsantiris.
“I don’t look at those things. I just look at the next game, we got to win the next game. What we won is in the past,” Tsantiris said. The next game for the Huskies will be Thursday September 15 at Colgate.
Matt Barresi is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.