The UConn women’s soccer team returns home on Thursday after a two-game road trip, looking to bounce back from a frustrating loss. They will take on SMU, who is currently winless in conference play.
The Huskies (4-6-3) are now 2-2 in the American Athletic Conference portion of their schedule after splitting their two-game road trip. After a 1-0 victory at Tulsa, UConn’s comeback efforts fell short against Memphis, losing 3-2 after closing a three-goal deficit.
Now, the Huskies return home to Joseph J. Morrone Stadium to face a pair of Texas-based foes, beginning with SMU on Thursday.
The Mustangs have followed a pattern similar to American opponent ECU, who the Huskies defeated last week. That is, after a strong nonconference showing, the teams have struggled mightily against the tough competition in their conference.
Despite an impressive 5-2-2 nonconference record, SMU is still searching for their first victory against an American opponent, as they sit at 0-3-1 after losses to Tulsa, UCF and USF, along with a 3-3 draw at Tulsa.
Statistically, the Mustangs rank in the middle of the pack in most categories compared to the rest of the conference. They have scored 1.46 goals per game and allowed 1.69, both seventh-best in the conference.
The SMU attack is led by redshirt junior Vanessa Valadez, who has a team-leading five goals on the season. Junior defender Haley Thompson has also made a significant impact on the offensive end, recording a team-high five assists.
Junior Catie Brown will handle goalkeeping duties. Brown has three shutouts on the year, averaging 3.46 saves per start.
The Huskies are currently in fifth place in conference standings with six points, and they’ll need to start protecting their home turf if they want to move up. Four of UConn’s six losses have come at home, and all four defeats have been by a single goal.
Kess Elmore continues to lead the Huskies in points, but it has been Vivien Beil and Yamilee Eveillard who have been particularly effective as of late.
Despite allowing three goals last time out, goalkeeper Courtney Hofer has been an invaluable leader for the team since her first start on Sept. 28.
The Huskies will look for win number five against the Mustangs on Thursday night.