After a miraculous 3-1 comeback against URI in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the UConn men’s soccer team was eliminated by No. 2 Indiana on Sunday. The Hoosiers were dominant from start to finish, winning by a final of 4-0, and allowing just a single shot on goal.
The Huskies finish the season with a record of 12-6-2. After a middling start to the year, UConn rattled off a 10-game unbeaten streak during September and October. By the end of that streak, the team had risen as to as high as No. 15 in the United Soccer Coaches poll, and even higher in other polls and metrics.
Indiana (18-2-1), the No. 2 seed in the tournament and perennial powerhouse, was simply the better, fresher team on Sunday. The Huskies appeared to be gassed from their emotional comeback against URI, and the Hoosiers, who had a first-round bye, were well-rested and aggressive on their home field.
The scoring opened in the 17th minute, when Indiana’s Andrew Gutman headed home a corner kick. The Hoosiers were relentless, as that was already their seventh corner of the game—they finished with a 12-0 advantage in that category.
By halftime, it was 2-0 Indiana, with a 13-1 lead in shots. The second half was just as lopsided, with the Hoosiers controlling possession and shutting down the dangerous UConn attack entirely. A third goal in the 58th minute, and a fourth two minutes later, were the nails in the coffin on UConn’s season.
The Huskies managed just three shots in the game, only one of which was on goal. Freshman Felix Metzler was the only one to test the Indiana keeper, though it was saved with ease. Indiana, on the other hand, recorded 22 shots, nine on goal. UConn goalie Gianluca Catalano had five saves but it was simply not enough to survive the offensive barrage from the Hoosiers.
It’s the final game in a UConn uniform for four seniors, Abdou Mbacke Thiam, Dylan Greenberg, Jacob Hauser-Ramsey and Nkosi Burgess. Thiam leaves the program as one of the most accomplished strikers in school history, while the other three will leave massive voids in the UConn defense heading into next season.
It’s been a rough NCAA Tournament for the American Athletic Conference, which had three teams named to the field of 48—and all have been eliminated. Conference champion SMU was knocked off in the first round on Thursday, defeated by Oregon State. Then on Sunday, No. 14 UCF was stunned by Lipscomb in overtime.
With the team’s main two leaders in Thiam and Hauser-Ramsey departing, significant question marks remain for UConn heading into next season. But with the breakout of junior Dayonn Harris and the surprise hat trick from freshman Ibrahima Diop against URI, there’s plenty of returning talent.
It was a crushing end of the road for the Huskies, but they certainly made some noise before this season came to a close.