The UConn women’s soccer team fell to the Providence Friars 2-1 at Anderson Stadium on Thursday, March 4. The Huskies (2-1-0, 2-1-0 Big East) recorded their first overall and conference loss of the season, while the Friars (3-0-0, 1-0-0 Big East) last gasp goal saw them keep their undefeated streak alive.
Providence head coach Sam Lopes will be relieved to have snatched the victory away from UConn, as the reality that no one squad was dominant throughout the entirety of the match. Furthermore, they both had extremely similar statistics; the Huskies finished with nine shots in comparison to the Friars’ six. Moreover, both sides faced a similar amount of shots, with UConn facing 13 in comparison to Providence’s 11.
UConn head coach Margaret Rodriguez with Randi Palacios in net, and a backline that consisted of Melina Couzis, Rachel Marchini, Jacqueline Harnett and Kara Long. In front of them in midfield were Emma Zaccagnini, Jessica Mazo and Lucy Cappadona, while the forwards were Kess Elmore, Yamilee Eveillard and Jada Konte. On the other side of the pitch Lopes’ starting 11.
The hosts lined up with Emma Bodner in net, and a defense that was made up of Christina Rodgers, Alexis Rothmann and Chloe Ortoland. In front of them was a packed midfield Kelsie Cummings, Mara Rodriguez, Anna Kalooski and Avery Snead. Finally, the forward partnership consisted of Hannah McNulty, Elayna Grillakis and Amber Birchwell.
Despite the Friars hosting the contest, it would be the Huskies who would convert in enemy territory. UConn got on the scoreboard thanks to midfielder Sophia Danyko-Kulchycky, who came off the bench in the 26th minute, and found the back of the net six minutes later when her shot was able to sneak past Bodner to put the Huskies up 1-0.
However, the lead would not last long, as Providence responded in the 43rd minute. Just like UConn’s goal, the equalizer was made by the bench; forwards Meg Hughes and Kyla Gallagher combined to find midfielder Esther Ronn, who was able to slot it into the net to level it up at one just before the half.
Without a doubt, this was a major blow to a Husky team that expected to go into the half with an advantage, albeit a slight one. Nonetheless, they received a crushing blow to their morale when they conceded with two minutes left until the half, and it would be Providence who would have momentum going into the second half.
Despite the frustration Rodriguez’s squad may have felt, they went into the second half having forgotten the monumental gut punch they had just recently received. However, they would not be able to get the momentum back, and worrying signs began to show themselves for UConn.
Gallagher was able to get a shot off for the Friars five minutes into the second half, and Providence were able to get another shot off in the 71st minute. Although it is easy to assume that two shots would not have a drastic impact on the match, it did demonstrate that the Friars attack was running on all cylinders. The Huskies were not able to get a shot off throughout this entire period, and the Husky defense that had stood tall for the majority of the half finally crumbled when Snead was able to get on the end of a pass by Birchwell, smashing it into the net to give the Friars the 2-1 lead.
Ultimately, Snead’s goal would be the winner. Providence were able to come back from 1-0 down to score two unanswered goals to get the victory. The undefeated Friars now set their eyes on Georgetown, who they’ll go up against on Sunday, March 7 at Shaw Field.
UConn also gets back to action on Sunday, March 7, when they travel to the Higgins Soccer Complex to take on Villanova. The Wildcats currently have a record of 1-3-0 (1-3-0 Big East), and are coming off a match against the St. John’s Red Storm on Thursday, March 3. The Huskies will have to keep an eye on forwards Sam Rosette and Makayla Stadler, who are the squad’s leading goal scorers, with both having scored one goal. If the Huskies can get on the scoresheet first like they did against Providence, and maintain that great form throughout the match, then they will have a strong chance of coming out on top.