It’s hard to imagine the opening day of the Huskies’ 2021 season going better than it did on Wednesday, Feb. 16, but behind a brilliant defensive performance from the entire team, UConn earned a 3-0 win over the Sacred Heart Pioneers and a 1-0 start to their season in their return to the Big East. Wednesday’s contest was the team’s first game since 2019, and the first time they got to call the newly renovated Joseph J. Morrone Stadium home.
The Huskies took an early lead when 15 minutes into the game, sophomore Moussa Wade corralled a backdoor pass from sophomore midfielder Ben Awashie across the goal line. Little over seven minutes into the second half, UConn padded their lead when junior Felix Metzler sent a line drive off a feed from sophomore Thomas Decottignies into the back of the net. To ice the game, freshman Max Bo-Dene kicked a pass from junior defender Sosa Emovon past the goalkeeper for his first career goal.
In his UConn debut, senior goalkeeper Jahmali Waite played the full 90 minutes and made two saves to earn the shutout. Waite last played in game action in 2018 when he played for Fairleigh Dickinson University before he transferred to UConn and earned the starting job.
Following the Huskies’ first win in over a year, 24-year head coach Ray Reid’s emphasis was simply on how grateful he was to be back coaching in games again. For Reid, the win was just icing on the cake. “I couldn’t be happier these guys are playing,” he said. “We’ve got a great group of guys right now. Just to see them happy now that we’re playing made me feel good. And obviously it feels a little better that we won.”
UConn’s next game will be on Saturday, Feb. 27 versus Providence, UConn’s first Big East opponent of the year. Reid says the team is turning their attention to that game. “God willing that COVID doesn’t affect us, we’ll be ready to play Providence,” he said.