Looking to shake off a road trip that saw them lose to Providence and draw with Villanova, the University of Connecticut’s women’s soccer team comes back home Thursday afternoon to take on the St. John’s Red Storm at Morrone Stadium at 2 p.m.
Unfortunately for the Huskies (2-1-1, 0-1-1 Big East), St. John’s has had no shortage of early season momentum, starting their season 5-0 and 2-0 in conference play. The Johnnies have been propelled by a combination of offensive explosiveness, with 13 goals in these five games, along with a tough defensive front that has led to three clean sheets.
A red-hot start to the season for St. John’s has led to not just Big East attention, but recognition on the national stage, with redshirt senior Zsani Kajan being honored on the TopDrawerSoccer national women’s team of the week. The strong offensive showings have become more of the same from the midfielder out of Budapest, who has notched 11 goals each in her last two seasons at St. John’s.
Along with Kajan’s great start to her senior campaign, sophomore midfielder Jessica Garziano has made waves in the Big East and on the national stage, notching five goals of her own in only five games, after not scoring at all during her freshman season. Garziano won Big East Offensive Player of the Week on March 2, joining Kajan as the only active players to record three goals in a single game for St. John’s. Garziano’s role on St. John’s has expanded from top distributor to key goal scorer as well, registering a team-high five assists during her 2019 freshman campaign.
UConn is desperate to flip the script and find the scoreboard after dominating the game against Villanova to no avail, outshooting the Wildcats 30-3 but ending up with the same offensive output. Yamilee Eveillard and Jade Konte were aggressive in the draw, combining for eight shots on goal as a duo. The only goal that was scored on the road trip for the Huskies came from senior midfielder Sophia Danyko-Kulchycky. This looks to be a promising sign for UConn, as Danyko-Kulchycky had not scored since 2018 after battling back from injury and only playing in four games for UConn last season.
In the all-time series against St. John’s, the Huskies are 15-6-1, falling in their last matchup 1-0 back in 2017 that saw the long time Big East foes battle at a neutral site in New Britain. In their last five matchups in Storrs, the Huskies have won four of the affairs, falling back in 2010 after dominating the all-time series at Morrone.
In their return to the Big East, the Huskies look for their first victory against St. John’s in their first matchup in Storrs since 2014 that saw UConn emerge victorious. The Huskies will look to get back on the scoreboard and stay unbeaten at home in the early stages of the 2021 season and cool down the offensive juggernaut of St. John’s, on the backs of both veteran players and underclassmen.