The UConn women’s soccer team stumbled through the Ivy this weekend as they dropped both of their matches versus Ivy League opponents.
“We let them receive uncontested, their forwards checked back we let them receive and turn which then allows our back line to kind of extend a little bit more than we want to,” head coach Margaret Rodriguez said.
The UConn (3-3-1) defense faced constant pressure against Harvard, who moved freely through their back line for much of the game, sending long through balls repeatedly.
The Huskies faced frequent attempts on net throughout the game, allowing 19 shots and 10 on goal. The Huskies allowed the first goal of the match in the 30th minute after playing well for much of the first half of the first half. Giving up the goal killed any momentum they had early on.
“We have to defend better in the back and the middle of the park,” Rodriguez said. “I think we started off well and had a couple opportunities and we didn’t put it away and got a little comfortable with that. I think we got caught and we were trying to climb out of it and I just don’t think we had the energy and we were a little anxious in our pressure.”
UConn is 1-2-1 this season when giving up the first goal, but they won just two games last season when coughing up the first score. They also lost 13 games last season when giving up the first goal.
This season the Huskies have allowed 10 or more shots in all three of their losses. They have yet to win a game when allowing more than 10 shots. They were able to draw a game earlier this year against CCSU, despite allowing 14 shots to their 12.
As the game went on, it was evident that the UConn defense was beginning to tire, allowing more frequent chances on net as the second half progressed. It seemed the assistant referee’s flag was always up with a red jersey sprinting toward the Huskies’ goal, a positive in general for UConn as the offside trap is a vital play to keep in the back pocket. It is not without consequence, however, as the constant sprints noticeably made the Huskies’ defense lose energy.
Early in the year, Rodriguez felt that the defense was her strong suit and spent more time working in the attack in practice. Now, the offense has been aggressive as ever, taking 15 shots Sunday, but it’s the defense that needs some more attention.
Next Saturday UConn faces UMass Lowell away in Lowell at 7 p.m., who are 1-4-1 on the season. UMass Lowell’s one win this season came against Quinnipiac, who UConn beat in pre-season 3-0.
Mike Mavredakis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org