The UConn women’s soccer team lost to the UCF Knights 5-3 Sunday afternoon after a late comeback attempt was stopped short.
The game could not have started off worse for the Huskies (2-11, 0-4 The American), as in the fifth minute a UConn header from just outside their own box went backwards and over the head of the keeper. Mollie Kerrigan, who was making her second start of the season, was trying to run forward and grab the ball, not realizing that her defender was going for the header.
The Knights (5-3-1, 2-0 The American) did not waste much time adding a second goal to their tally, as Kerrigan was caught out of position, allowing UCF forward Stephanie Sanders to put the ball in the net with ease in the 16th minute.
That ended up being the final straw for Kerrigan, who was substituted for Randi Palacios. After the game, head coach Margaret Rodriguez addressed the situation at keeper going forward.
“Randi is the better keeper,” Rodriguez said. “She’s more confident, she speaks better, she’s got better feet, so we have to go with that.”
UCF scored again at 23:33 on a shot by Dina Orschmann to the far post that ended up in the top-right corner. The Knights scored just 13 seconds later as Sanders would add her second of the game, with a shot toward the bottom-right corner.
Despite conceding four goals in 24 minutes, the Huskies would not give up without a fight.
UConn took advantage of a defensive breakdown by UCF in the 32nd minute, and senior Elena Santos converted on a second shot attempt, after the first one by Pato Jerzak was blocked by the keeper.
Santos wasn’t done, and in the 41st minute she found the ball at her feet after a nice pass by Jerzak, beat the keeper and basically dribbled the ball straight into the goal.
Rodriguez commended her team for how it responded after going down 4-0 early.
“We responded great,” said Rodriguez. “That’s what we’re working on, our mentality. The goals were poor, I mean there’s no spinning it, there are poor goals. We can’t let up those types of goals and, our team, the players on the field, responded fantastic.”
It took just over 11 minutes for the Huskies to narrow the deficit to one, when sophomore midfielder Sophia Danyko-Kulchycky snuck one inside the right post from just outside the top of box.
The Huskies fought hard, but they were unable to convert on any more scoring opportunities. UFC tacked on more soft goal in the 65th minute, successfully halting all of the momentum that UConn had built up over the previous 30 minutes.
UConn now drops to 2-11 on the season, and 0-4 in conference. Their next game will take place on Thursday, Oct. 11 at East Carolina.
Jorge Eckardt is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.