All season long there have been questions about the UConn women’s soccer team. Is it good enough? Is the coaching strong enough to get them to the conference? Well, Thursday night is the last chance they have to answer those questions.
UConn (6-8-2, 2-5-1 The American) takes on Temple this Thursday for both teams’ last chance at qualifying for the conference tournament. It’s officially win-or-go-home season for these two sides.
UConn will move onto postseason play as long as they win this game. They beat both SMU and Houston this season, both of whom are ahead in the standings with nine points to UConn’s seven. Should UConn beat Temple (5-9-4, 2-5-1 The American) and SMU, they will draw the No. 5 seed in The American.
However, if they lose or tie this game, their season is over. This is potentially their last ever game in The American.
They are facing possibly the perfect opponent for them, considering Temple has scored and allowed nearly the exact same ratio of goals. UConn has scored just 17 times this season to Temple’s 16, and they have both allowed 23.
Temple also played this past Sunday, while UConn hasn’t seen the field since Oct. 20. They could be tired from their last contest, which could only help the Huskies.
Offensively, the team is not particularly scary; they have averaged less than a goal per game this season while taking under 10 shots a game. They have even been shut out of half their games. If UConn’s well-rested defense can hold, they should be fine.
Defensively, Temple has allowed a ton of shots, but they have a great goalkeeper to stop them.
Sophomore goalkeeper Morgan Basileo has stopped 117 shots this season, leading the conference by 34 saves. She has a .836 save percentage, second in the conference to Memphis’ Elizabeth Moberg.
Of Temple’s 16 goals this season, eight of them have come from just two outfield players: Hailey Gutowski and Gabriela Johnson.
Gutowski has scored five of those eight, but in just nine games played and seven starts. The sophomore midfielder has scored on an incredible 31.3% of her shots taken and put 69% of her shots on goal.
Johnson has played over 1,600 minutes this season and scored three goals with four assists. She has put 59% of her shots on target as well. She leads the team in game winning goals—there aren’t many to go around when you win just five games in a season—with clinchers against Wagner and ECU. Her goal against ECU was an overtime sealer in the 96th minute, which is important to pay attention to for UConn since they love going into overtime.
This is the Huskies’ last chance to put their mark on The American, so it’s either time to go out with a howl or a measly whimper.
Mike Mavredakis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @mmavredakis.