Going into their conference matchup with Georgetown, the UConn women’s soccer team looked to build on their biggest win of the season last Sunday, as they traveled to the nation’s capital to take on the Hoyas on Thursday afternoon.
The Huskies (3-2-1, 1-2-1 Big East) were forced to battle from behind from the jump, as senior forward Jenna Menta gave UConn a taste of its own early goal medicine that they used to win their last two games, notching her third goal of the season four minutes in. The offensive struggles were a theme for the Huskies in the first half, registering one shot, but still were only outshot 3-1 in the first half as Georgetown went cold immediately following the Menta goal. Goalkeeper Randi Palacios bounced back from the early mistake, saving the other Georgetown shots in the half to keep the deficit at one as the game went to half.
Palacios’ afternoon was just getting started, as the Hoyas pestered the UConn goalie with shot after shot, notching 11 in the second half alone, outshooting the Huskies 11-5, and 15-6 overall in the game. This has been a continuous trend for Georgetown, significantly outshooting their opponents on the season 104-26, an offensive attack that has led to their undefeated start. Along with their suffocating offensive attack on the back of players like Menta and sophomore forward Gina Vicari, the Hoyas came into the game with UConn on the back of star goalkeeper Alyssa Navarette, who had pitched clean sheets in the first six games to anchor a strong defensive unit.
However, Navarette did not start for Georgetown on Thursday, with Lauren Gallagher taking her place instead. After pressing deep into the second half, UConn did what no other team had been able to do against Georgetown thus far in 2021: They put one in the back of the net. The goalscoring for the Huskies thus far has been a collective effort, with different players stepping up each time UConn needed a big goal. This time, it was Jaqueline Harnett for the Huskies, as the sophomore defender notched her first goal of the season in a much-needed equalizer for her visiting Huskies to even up the game at 1-1 at the 75-minute mark.
UConn would push the undefeated Hoyas into extra time, but only got one shot off the rest of the game following Harnett’s strike, as Georgetown’s defense locked down to put pressure on Palacios, who had stepped up for the Huskies time and time again throughout the game, and the season. Despite her best efforts, extra time belonged to Menta.
“UConn would push the undefeated Hoyas into extra time, but only got one shot off the rest of the game following Harnett’s strike, as Georgetown’s defense locked down to put pressure on Palacios.”
The senior from Somers, New York took matters into her own hands to keep her Hoya squad unbeaten, breaking the hearts of Palacios and the Huskies with her second goal of the game five minutes into extra time, simultaneously snapping the UConn two-game winning streak and pushing their record to 7-0 and 5-0 in conference play.
The Huskies will look to bounce back and avenge their early season defeat on Sunday afternoon, as they return home to face the Providence Friars at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium to try and hand their Big East rival their second loss of the 2021 campaign.