After 110 minutes, UConn (4-2-1) and conference rival USF (2-5-1) played to a 2-2 draw in a chippy Saturday night contest at Morrone Stadium.
Dayonn Harris scored the first goal of the contest as fans were still finding their seats in minute six off of a beautiful shot into the bottom right corner from the top of the box.
The Husky lead was short lived, however, as USF answered with a goal of their own less than five minutes later. USF’s Alex Zis made an accurate pass from the corner that found the head of Kori Cupid for the score.
“I thought earlier in the game we were on our heels, but then we scored the goal and we started kind of taking over,” head coach Ray Reid said. “Then they got a goal on a restart so fast, it took a little wind out of our sails. I just thought our guys stepped up and played.”
For the next 66 minutes of the game, we didn’t see any more scoring, but it was evident that UConn was in control. The Huskies took six shots in the second half, with USF taking just one.
Reid spoke about how his team outplayed their conference rival for much of the match.
“I thought our guys were very resilient, they’ve shown great resilience all year,” Reid said. “I think we were a bit unfortunate after two overtimes to not win the game.”
The one shot that the Bulls took in the second half, however, found the back of the goal in minute 76 off of the foot of Stephen Rudderham. This gave USF a 2-1 lead with 14 minutes left in regulation, and you could tell the fans watching at Morrone Stadium felt it as silence fell over the crowd.
Nevertheless, this lead didn’t last, as the Huskies were able to answer in less than three minutes.
Harris sent a line-drive of a cross to Abdou Mbacke Thiam in the box, who directed the ball past the USF keeper for his sixth goal of the season.
Each team had chances to win the game in overtime, as Josh Burnett sent a shot on USF’s goal just left in minute 97. In minute 98, Jacob Hauser-Ramsey blocked a USF shot on a breakaway.
In minute 99, USF sent a free kick over the top right corner of the net.
The best look from either team in overtime came in minute 105 when a USF player sent a shot that would have found the back of UConn’s net if it weren’t for UConn’s keeper Austin Aviza, who managed to corral the crucial shot attempt.
When you are outplaying your opponent like UConn was on Saturday night, it’s hard not to get frustrated when good shots aren’t finding the net. In long, physical games, it’s hard to stay aggressive and keep your foot on the gas.
“We tried to get aggressive, but in 110 minutes there’s a little fatigue involved,” Reid said. “So we were getting aggressive, but guys put a lot of effort in tonight. A lot of guys put in a lot of mileage in tonight.”
With six days before they play their next game against another conference rival in Memphis, the Huskies will have time to get their legs back. UConn will take on the University of Memphis on Friday night. The Tigers are 4-2-2 this season and 1-0-1 at home. The Huskies will be searching for their first road win of the season.
Sean Janos is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.