The UConn women’s soccer team defeated Seton Hall 5-0 on Sunday, March 14 at the Joseph J. Morrone Stadium. With this result, the Huskies improve to 4-1-1 (2-1-1 Big East), while the Pirates fall to 1-4-0 (0-4-0 Big East).
Eight UConn seniors were honored before the start of the match, which included goalkeeper Randi Palacios, defender Melina Couzis, defender Julia Petrillo, midfielder Sophia Danyko-Kulchycky, midfielder Vasiliky Rizos, midfielder Erin Spillane, forward Yamilee Eveillard and forward Kess Elmore. The players’ parents made videos that were displayed on the jumbotron, and recognized the efforts of each of their respective daughters; moreover, the program thanked the players for their four years of service.
It turned out to be the senior day of dreams for the Huskies, as they were dominant from the first blow of the whistle. UConn head coach Margaret Rodriguez lined up with Randi Palacios in net, a defense made up of Jacqueline Harnett, Julia Petrillo, Kara Long and Couzis, a midfield made up of Jessica Mazo, Emma Zaccagnini and Lucy Cappadona, with a forward partnership that consisted of Eveillard and Elmore.
Rodriguez would be looking for more of the same from her squad, who had won four out of their five matches leading up to Sunday’s contest. On the contrary, Seton Hall head coach Ciara Crinion looked to get something out of a squad that had not felt the ecstasy of victory in over three weeks, and were on a four game losing streak.
Things did not look good for the Pirates in the opening stages of the first half. The UConn attack was getting into Seton Hall’s final third with ease, and their offense had yet to put pressure on the Huskies backline. UConn were bound to score the first goal because of this immense pressure, and they did when Kess Elmore connected on the end of a free kick that was taken near the center circle by Jacqueline Harnett; Elmore placed it into the bottom right corner to give the Huskies the 1-0 advantage.
The opening goal of the match did wake up Seton Hall to an extent, as they began to play with more aggression, and their press was beginning to cause trouble for the Huskies in the midfield and defense. Nevertheless, this adrenaline rush left as quickly as it came because Jessica Mazo made it two in the 30th minute when a miss-hit ball by Forward Jada Konte bounced off the crossbar and into the path of Mazo, who simply passed it into the goal to double UConn’s advantage.
Mazo’s goal had a clear effect on Seton Hall’s morale, as their hope of going into the locker room at half-time down by only one goal had been washed away. Moreover, the Pirates knew that if they wished to get anything from the match, they’d have to push a lot of players forward, which would probably lead to gaps that could be pounced on by the Huskies midfield and attack.
That is exactly what happened in the second half of the contest, as Seton Hall’s urgent need for a goal created a large amount of space to operate for the Husky offense. It only took eight minutes for UConn to increase their advantage to three, and it was once again scored by Mazo in the exact same fashion in which she made the first one. A shot on goal deflected off the crossbar and landed right at her feet, which led to a simple tap-in goal; despite being a midfielder, Mazo had the mindset of a goal poacher on Sunday, as she positioned herself correctly in the box, which allowed her to get both of those opportunities.
Then, Yamilee Eveillard followed suit in the 58th minute by getting on the end of a cross from defender Kara Long. Eveillard had to slide to reach the ball that was whipped into the box, but she was just able to connect with her right foot and slide it past the Seton Hall goalkeeper to make it four. Finally, forward Isabelle Lynch made it five in the 83rd minute when she received the ball through on goal with only the goalkeeper to beat; she waited until she left her line before dribbling it past her to get UConn’s fifth of the match.
The Huskies currently sit in third place in the East division, behind Providence in second place, and Georgetown in first place. UConn will have a chance to end Georgetown’s (7-0-0, 5-0-0 Big East) undefeated streak when they travel to Shaw Field on Thursday, March 18 to face the Hoyas.
Conversely, Seton Hall sits in last place in the East Division, but hopes to attain their first conference victory when they travel to the Higgins Soccer Complex to face Villanova on Thursday, March 18. The Wildcats (1-6-1, 0-3-1 Big East) are also yet to beat a conference rival, and sit just above the Pirates in second-to-last place.