The UConn women’s soccer team gets set to host Villanova at the Joseph J. Morrone Stadium on Thursday, Mar. 25 at 2 p.m. The Huskies (5-2-1, 3-2-1 Big East) and the Wildcats (2-6-2, 1-3-2 Big East) faced each other a little over three weeks ago, with the contest ending in a draw. This time, UConn will look to get the victory over a stubborn Villanova side.
Although the Wildcats currently sit under .500 percent, they travel to Storrs with wind in their sails. They defeated Seton Hall 2-1 in extra time on Thursday, Mar. 18, and held St. John’s to a 2-2 draw on Sunday, Mar. 21. Without a doubt, the result against the Red Storm is their best of the season, as they were able to get a solid outcome at St. John’s. The Red Storm had not lost or drawn a single game at home going into Thursday’s contest.
Forward Chloe O’Neill is a player that the Husky backline must keep their eye on. She scored in both of Villanova’s last two games, and is currently tied joint first in goals scored on the team with one, along with one assist. O’Neill’s strike partner in Sophia Kryza will also look to cause havoc in UConn’s final third. Kryza scored the winner against Seton Hall, and is tied joint first for goals scored on the team with one.
Husky head coach Margaret Rodriguez will go into the contest wary of the Wildcats’ red hot form. Despite this, her strike force at up top will most definitely put her at ease. Forwards Yamilee Eveillard and Jaydah Bedoya scored the two winning goals against Providence, as fellow forward Jada Konte bagged the assist. Eveillard leads the team in goals with three along with two assists, and Konte has two assists on the season as well.
Of course, forward Kess Elmore has also proven to be vital for the Huskies this season. She is currently tied joint second in goals scored with two. The midfield presence of Lucy Cappadona and Jessica Mazo will be as vital as ever since their abilities in midfield have made games easier for the Huskies, as they always look to receive the outlet pass and play it long to one of the forwards. Mazo is tied joint second with two goals along with two assists, while Cappadona has two goals to her name as well
Overall, Rodriguez will want her bench to continue the positive effect they have had in recent matches. Bedoya came off the bench against the Friars and was able to find the breakthrough to put UConn up 1-0. Moreover, midfielder Sophia Danyko-Kulchycky has one goal to her name this season and opens up the match when she is substituted onto the field. Finally, Isabelle Lynch got her first goal of the season against Seton Hall, and Rodriguez will look to Lynch in the hopes that she can provide the same intensity in Thursday’s contest.
Villanova head coach Chris McLain will look to make it three games without a defeat, with the momentum from the squad’s two previous matches only adding to the belief amongst the collective that a win is possible. On the other side is a UConn team that will have to figure out how to break down the Wildcats defensive block unless they want a repeat of what happened earlier in the season.