The UConn women’s soccer team will face Georgetown at Shaw Field on Thursday, Mar. 18. The Huskies (4-1-1, 2-1-1 Big East) will be faced with the tall task of ending the Hoyas (6-0-0, 4-0-0 Big East) undefeated streak, while Georgetown will look to give this one-loss UConn team a reality check.
In most situations, a victory by a large scoreline gives teams a sense of assurance that ends up hindering their performance in their next match. Although the Huskies 5-0 win over Seton Hall was more than impressive, the squad can ill afford to get comfortable, especially against this red-hot Georgetown side.
Forward Gia Vicari leads the Hoyas in goals scored with five, while fellow forward Sofie Fox is right behind her with three goals. Midfielders Julia Leas and Grace Nguyen are tied joint-third with two goals. Clearly, Georgetown is not short of players who can find the back of the net, which will be of obvious concern to UConn head coach Margaret Rodriguez.
Coupled with the goal-scoring ability of this Georgetown team is the effectiveness in which they are able to create goal-scoring opportunities. Forward Jenna Menta leads the squad in assists with four, while Vicari and defender Kaitlyn Parcell are tied joint-second with two assists. Midfielders Maya Fernandez-Powell and Tatum Lenain both have one assist to their names as well.
Nevertheless, UConn have attained three clean sheets in a row and have only conceded twice this season, with those two goals coming in the squad’s match against Providence. Of course, this can be credited to the Huskies’ defense, which consists of defenders Jacqueline Harnett, Kara Long, Melina Couzis and Rachel Marchini. These four are excellent at spotting what the opposing attackers wish to do in UConn’s final third, so as to stifle any attack before it can even begin. Most importantly, they are rarely fazed when under high pressure situations, something that brings a calmness to the rest of the squad.
Therefore, this assurance in defense will only heighten the attack, something we’ve seen from the Huskies this season. Forward Yamilee Eveillard, midfielder Jessica Mazo, forward Kess Elmore, and midfielder Lucy Cappadona are all tied joint-first for goals scored with two each. Mazo scored her first two goals of the season in the team’s previous match against Seton Hall, where she was able to get on the end of two shots that hit the crossbar and landed by her feet.
In similar fashion to Georgetown, this UConn squad is excellent at finding their teammates in goal-scoring opportunities. Defenders Harnett and Long both have two assists due to their ability to put the ball in the 18-yard box, proving to be crucial in the Huskies’ attack. Harnett is tasked with the set-piece duties and has gotten both of her assists off free kicks. Furthermore, in the team’s previous match against Seton Hall, Long played an excellent ball into the 18-yard box which Eveillard was able to connect on and put into the back of the net.
Additionally, Mazo has two assists to her name, with her play through the midfield helping the Husky attack flourish.
Overall, Rodriguez and Georgetown head coach Dave Nolan will tell their respective squads the same thing: avoid complacency. Even though UConn is coming off a dominant win and the Hoyas have been nothing short of perfect, both must remain level-headed and avoid being overconfident, as that is destined to negatively affect the play on the pitch.