The UConn women’s soccer team kicked off conference play with a tough loss to ECU (1-0) Thursday night.
“I wanted to win it, we deserved to win it,” head coach Margaret Rodriguez said. “I think it was a poor, poor goal. I need to see the goal that they called on us. Unfortunately, that’s the way the ref called it and we needed to put one away.”
In the first half, UConn (4-4-1, 0-1 The American) came out strong in the first five minutes as Sophia Danyko-Kulchycky got a poke on goal, but it did not amount to anything. This was a common theme throughout the rest of the game.
“In the first half we created some things but were a little too narrow in our play, we needed to get the ball out wide,” Rodriguez said. “In the second half I thought we got the ball out wide, we were better, got some services in but we just have to get a little bit more danger on the end of it.”
They started to trail off the rest of the half and allowed a confusing goal on a mix-up in the box. ECU’s (4-5-1, 1-0 The America) Jenna Dages put one just past the goal line to put ECU up 1-0 in the 28th minute on a scramble from a corner.
“We have quality players up there in our attacking three, attacking four, but we’re a little out of sync because they might have had four total days of playing together,” Rodriguez said. “We just got DK back and Duda was out with a foot injury for the last two weeks, so they just have to get in sync and learn to move the ball off of each other.”
In the second half, ECU started off with a long ball and a chance on goal, but Palacios grabbed the loose ball before it was troubling.
In the 56th minute of play, UConn was awarded a free kick as a result of a wicked slide tackle on Danyko-Kulchychky and put a dangerous ball on net.
In the 64th minute, Kess Elmore streaked down the middle of the field and cut in on her right foot before firing one at the ECU keeper who flicked it past the bar. Then just minutes later they had their best chance of the night, but Elmore put it over the empty net.
Vivien Beil took a free kick from just outside the box and curled it slightly wide of the far post in the 75th.
These were all chances where UConn could, and potentially should, have won the game, but they were unable to finish. Overall in the half, UConn put six shots on net to ECU’s four. UConn would finish the game outshooting ECU 15-7, but they put just three on target.
Randi Palacios had a solid game overall and, despite the goal, she led the UConn back line with a steady hand when needed throughout the rest of the game.
The Huskies will play Cincinnati Sunday at 1 p.m. at Dillon Stadium in Hartford for their second shot at an American victory.
Mike Mavredakis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com. He tweets @mmavredakis.