Women’s soccer faces tough task in upcoming matchup versus No. 9 Memphis

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The Huskies lost to the Cincinnati Bearcats 0-1 today in the first overtime after no goals were scored in the first two halves. They look to bounce back in their next home game on 10/10 against the University of Houston.  Photo by Eric Wang/The Daily Campus

The Huskies lost to the Cincinnati Bearcats 0-1 today in the first overtime after no goals were scored in the first two halves. They look to bounce back in their next home game on 10/10 against the University of Houston. Photo by Eric Wang/The Daily Campus

Wild tigers don’t have a permanent residence; they sleep where they hunt—unfortunately for the UConn women’s soccer team, these Tigers do. UConn will travel to No. 9 Memphis to take on the best team in the conference Thursday night. 

UConn is facing an uphill battle on both sides of the pitch, as Memphis leads the conference in goals scored and have allowed the least goals en route to a 10-1 record this season. Their lone loss this year came against No. 18 Kansas, who beat them in the dying minutes of the game on a scrappy goal. 

As a team they have put up staggering numbers, as they are tied with five other teams for the second-best winning percentage in Division I women’s soccer with .909. They have also scored the ninth-most goals in the country, 30 goals in just 11 games, and allowing just four goals all season. They also own the fourth best goals-against-average in the country, allowing just .36 goals per game. 

There is excellence throughout the Tigers’ roster, top to bottom. They have one of the best goalies in the nation, Elizabeth Moberg, as well as supremely talented forwards, like Clarissa Larisey and Tanya Boychuk, a strong midfield and defenders with passing talent like Stasia Mallin.  

Moberg, a junior from Florida, has been spectacular this season. She is among the top of every goalkeeper statistic nationwide. She has allowed just two goals all season, in 10 games. She has eight shutouts, the second-most in the country. She also has the second-lowest goals-against-average in the country with a .229, just .004 lower than the leader.  

However, she has faced just 20 shots all season, because her defense is so spectacular. If UConn can force their way through the labyrinth that is the Tigers’ backline, they can force her to live up to her stats.  

Not only does Memphis hold opponents to nearly no offense, they score at will. Their leading goal scorer, Larisey, has put away nine already this season, which is tied for 10th nationally. She puts 75% of her shots on target, which is 22% more than the UConn defense has allowed so far this season. The Huskies defense and goalie, Randi Palacios, will have their work cut out for them.  

 UConn also needs to watch out for defender Mallin, who has seven assists already this year, tied for seventh in the country. Mallin has also scored twice and put 75% of her shots on target as well. Her passing ability out of the back allows for less chances for UConn’s attackers to pick the ball off in a dangerous area, which could lead to goals.   

It should be noted, however, that four of those assists came in one game versus Southern Louisiana that Memphis won 6-0, so it could have been a relative fluke. However, it also shows she has big game potential and if she gets hot, the Huskies’ could be in trouble.  

The Huskies are up for a challenge; If they pull out a win it will go down as one of the great triumphs of their season. It will be something they can build on and use to say they have the potential to be special in this conference. Now, we wait. 

UConn will take on Memphis at 7 p.m. Thursday at The Track and Soccer Complex on Memphis’ Park Avenue Campus. It will be available to stream on Memphis’ website. 


Mike Mavredakis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at michael.quinn-mavredakis@uconn.edu. He tweets @mmavredakis.

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