The UConn women’s soccer team will play their first American Athletic Conference game on Thursday night against East Carolina.
At Dillon Stadium in Hartford at 7 p.m., the Huskies (4-3-1) will look to continue their successful start to the 2019 season. After winning just four games all of last season (two of them in conference play), UConn has already matched that not even halfway through this year’s campaign.
That can be attributed to multiple things, including the incredible play of redshirt sophomore Kess Elmore, who leads the team with four goals and three assists. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Randi Palacios has also had a tremendous season, starting all eight games and saving 78% of the shots she’s faced.
Other standouts have been freshmen Jess Mazo and Jackie Harnett, who have made a key impact in their first year on the team, and sophomore transfer Duda Santin, who leads the team in shots on goal.
The Huskies will try to continue their momentum from an overtime win over UMass Lowell last Saturday, in which Elmore scored a highlight-reel goal from 40 yards out to win the game.
On the other side, ECU (3-5-1) will be looking to end their recent two-game skid. The Pirates most recently played at UNC Greensboro on Sunday and fell 1-0.
Their top scorer this year has been junior Tori Riggs, who has two goals and two assists for six points. Right behind her are senior Jenna Dages and junior Cashlin Copley, who each have five points.
Margaret Rodriguez’s squad is 5-1 all-time against ECU. The Huskies won the first five matches before the Pirates won last year 2-0.
UConn and ECU enter conference play with the sixth and seventh best out-of-conference records, respectively, out of the 10 American teams. However, conference play is like beginning a second season in which all the teams are tied for first. UConn will look qualify for the conference tournament, something it missed out on last year, by being one of the top six teams at season’s end.
Danny Barletta is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @dbars_12.