Forwards Jaydah Bedoya and Yamilee Eveillard’s efforts were enough to get UConn past the finish line to defeat Providence 2-0 on Sunday, Mar. 21. The Huskies (5-2-1, 3-2-1 Big East) returned to winning ways after last week’s loss to Georgetown, while the Friars (5-2-0, 3-2-0 Big East) received their second overall and conference loss of the season.
The Joseph J. Morrone Stadium hosted a Providence team that had only lost one match on the season going into the contest. That loss came against an exceptional undefeated Georgetown squad, and although that loss cannot be excused, the reality is that defeat on behalf of the Hoyas was not the worst result in the world. On the other side was a UConn team that pushed Georgetown to the limit, as the Huskies were able to take them to overtime before they conceded the second goal to fall by a scoreline of 2-1.
The beginning of the match saw both sides go back and forth. Providence were able to get off two shots and win a corner in the opening five minutes of the contest. It would take a bit of time for the UConn attack to wake up, but when it did it was as fluid as ever. Forward Kess Elmore and defender Jacqueline Harnett got the Huskies first two shots of the match, while Eveillard and midfielder Emma Zaccagnini also looked to test the keeper, with their efforts going just wide of the goal.
Without question, the best opportunity for UConn came in the 32nd minute, when Zaccagnini found space and got a shot off that deflected off of the crossbar to deny the Huskies their first goal of the match. Bedoyah and midfielder Jessica Mazo also looked to direct their shot into the back of the net before the half’s conclusion, but their efforts were to no avail.
Both goalkeepers came up big for their respective squads in the first five minutes of the second half. UConn goalkeeper Randi Palacios was able to get her hands on a shot by Providence midfielder Kristen Perry to keep the match scoreless. Then, Friar goalkeeper Emma Bodmer also made a big stop when she got in the path of a shot by midfielder Lucy Cappadona to keep it from going into the back of the net.
Palacios would once again come up big when she denied efforts from Providence forwards Kyla Gallagher in the 52nd minute and Meg Hughes in the 53rd minute. As if that wasn’t enough, the UConn goalkeeper also kept out shots from midfielder Chloe Ortolano in the 58th minute and another shot by Gallagher that came in the 66th minute.
The Husky attack would take the pressure of their defense by applying some pressure of their own in the Friars final third. Midfielder Cara Jordan’s shot in the 69th minute vibrated off the crossbar, which once again denied UConn from taking the advantage. Despite this, the Huskies would finally find the breakthrough a minute later when Jordan found Bedoya, who snuck it past Bodmer to find the back of the net to give the Huskies the 1-0 advantage.
Even with this goal, UConn’s attack did not get complacent. Bedoya found space and got another shot off in the 75th minute, which hit the crossbar to keep the Friars in the contest. The Huskies intensity would pay off in the 85th minute when forward Jada Konte found her fellow strike partner Eveillard for the Huskies second goal of the match.
Although it seemed like there was no way back for Providence, the Friars were able to win a penalty in the 84th minute. Nonetheless, Palacios heroics came into play once again, as she got a hand to it to kill off any hope of a comeback for Providence.
UConn will return to action on Thursday, March 25 at 2 p.m. when they host Villanova. The Wildcats (2-6-2, 1-3-2 Big East) held the Huskies to a scoreless draw two weeks ago, and will look to attain a similar result on Thursday. Conversely, Providence also gets set to face the Hoyas (8-0-0, 6-0-0) on Thursday, as they look to not only get revenge, but end Georgetown’s undefeated season.