After going nearly a month without a win, the UConn men’s soccer team finally got back into the W column with a 2-0 win over conference-rival Cincinnati. The scoring chances were few and far in between, but the Huskies fought hard and earned a well-deserved victory Saturday.
The teams struggled mightily on the offensive end to begin the game, both getting off just six combined shots in the first half. The only real scoring chance came from redshirt sophomore Cole Venner in the 38th minute when he lasered a shot that ricocheted off Cincinnati’s crossbar.
UConn (4-7-1, 1-2-0 The American) were not going to let another game end without a win and came out attacking in the second. Freshman Moussa Wade and junior Jake Dengler got off great shots early on, but the Huskies remained scoreless until the 75th minute.
After the Bearcats (4-7-1, 0-2-1 The American) committed a handball in their own box, sophomore Felix Metzler was given the chance at the PK. As he has done all season, Metzler remained calm and drilled the penalty just past the outstretched hands of Cincinnati’s goalie, giving UConn the 1-0 lead.
The Bearcats went on all-out-attack to find the equalizer, but were shut down by the Huskies’ defense and keeper Gianluca Catalano, who finished the game with five saves en route to his second clean sheet of the season.
But UConn wasn’t satisfied with one, and all it took was one defensive lapse for the Huskies to double their lead. In the 89th minute, senior captain Dayonn Harris found sophomore Ibrahima Diop for the goal.
This is a welcome sight for UConn fans after Diop had a strong freshman year with four goals including a hat-trick in the first round of the NCAA tournament. With their leading scorer out for the season, UConn is going to need other players to step up on the offensive end, and Diop has the skillset to be one of those players.
Another positive takeaway from the offense was their efficiency shooting the ball. The Huskies took 13 shots on the day, seven of which were on target, the first time at least 50% of their shots forced saves since Sept. 6.
With their next matchup coming against Syracuse, who has given up seven goals in their last two games, UConn will have a good chance to keep their offensive rhythm going to extend the win streak before conference play starts up again this weekend.
Conner Gilson is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @connergilson03.