The UConn Huskies welcomed the Rutgers Scarlet Knights to camps Thursday night, losing by a score of 3-0.
Rutgers, who are not quite in the top-25, but did receive votes in the coaches’ poll, entered the game as the heavy favorites. They played like it as well, jumping out to an early 1-0 lead in the eighth minute on a goal by midfielder Nicole Whitley, assisted by midfielder Taylor Aylmer. Rutgers strung together a nice couple of passes before Whitley, who was set up on the left side of the goal, shot it to the opposite post and put it in the back of the net.
Rutgers stayed on the attack and struck again shortly after in the 12th minute, with forward Tiernny Wiltshire being the goal scorer and Nicole Whitley giving her the assist. Rutgers was then rather quiet until the 40th minute when Ashley Atubi, who came on as a substitute earlier in the game, broke free and beat the defenders in a footrace up the middle before putting it in the bottom left corner.
UConn did not generate much offense in the first half, finishing with four shot attempts. However out of those for attempts only one was close to going in, when in the 36th minute Yamilee Eveillard took a free kick from just outside the box and was a bit too high, clanking it off the crossbar.
In the locker room head coach Margaret Rodriguez motivated the team, reminding them that they just came back from a 2-0 deficit against Central Connecticut State on Thursday. The game plan was to just “focus on getting one goal and one goal only. Don’t worry about the score. If we get one we are going to chip away and get the second.”
However, the offense did not come in the second half either, and the Huskies were unable to capitalize on the few opportunities that they had. On the bright side they did play very well on defense, which, combined with a few nice saves by goalie Randi Palacios held Rutgers scoreless for the remainder of the game.
The Huskies next game is up in Massachusetts on Sunday, Sept. 2nd, when they will face Boston University. Coach Rodriguez shared her thoughts on how they can build off this game and improve going into the next.
“We’ve been focused on our mentality, our defensive presence, the things that we worked on this and leading up to this week with discipline in our organization and the times that we were organized and disciplined we won the ball every single time and they didn’t kick it out or kick it long.”
The game up at BU will be the start of a three-game road trip for the Huskies, as they head down to Fayetteville, Arkansas, for two games against Ole Miss and Arkansas.
Jorge Eckardt is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.