Seton Hall took the UConn women’s soccer team to the limit in their matchup on Saturday, April 3 at the Owen T. Carroll Field. Nevertheless, the Huskies (8-2-1, 6-2-1 Big East) were able to snatch the victory in overtime to defeat the Pirates (2-8-0, 1-8-0 Big East) and maintain their position in second place in the Big East women’s soccer standings. On the other hand, the Pirates are still yet to attain their second conference win of the season.
Margaret Rodriguez’ starting 11 remained unchanged; Randi Palacios was in net, the backline consisted of Jacqueline Harnett, Julia Petrillo, Kara Long and Melina Couzis. The midfield was made up of Emma Zaccagnini, Jessica Mazo and Lucy Cappadona. Finally, the strike partnership consisted of Yamilee Eveillard, Kess Elmore and Jada Konte.
UConn’s heart skipped a beat in the opening stages of the contest when Pirate defender Lauren DiPietro’s shot ricocheted off the crossbar in the sixth minute. Although they just barely avoided going down 1-0 in the opening minutes of the match, it would foreshadow what was to come, as in the 11th minute, Pirate midfielder Laura Hooper found fellow midfielder Cassy Harrigan. Harrigan slid it past Palacios to give the Pirates the breakthrough.
UConn struggled to garner a reaction after going down so early. Elmore got the first shot for the Huskies in the fifth minute, and the next shot would not come until the 22nd minute courtesy of Cappadona. The Huskies would only have two other shots in the half, which came from forward Isabelle Lynch in the 22rd minute, and Cappadona in the 43rd minute.
While UConn’s offense struggled, Seton Hall’s thrived. Pirate midfielder Laura Hooper’s shot in the 37th minute was destined for the bottom left corner had it not been for Palacios outstretched hands. Palacios was once again called into action one minute later when forward Alyssa Reszkowski’s effort was bundled up by the Husky goalkeeper.
The UConn offense would finally get going in the second half. Mazo and Eveillard tested Pirate goalkeeper Grace Gordon in the 53rd and 54th minute, respectively. Mazo had another effort in the 55th minute that was saved by Grace; nevertheless, she was not able to parry it out of danger, which allowed Lynch to put it in the back of the net to level it up for the Huskies.
The Pirates offense went silent for the remainder of the second half, while the Huskies put more and more pressure on Seton Hall’s backline. Elmore and midfielder Cara Jordan’s shots in the 69th and 72nd minute were easily saved by Grace, while Mazo’s third effort of the game in the 76th minute was headed toward the bottom left corner had it not been for Grace’s outstretched arms.
Regulation could not decide the winner, so overtime was needed. The Pirates got no shots off in the first overtime period, while the Huskies best chance of the period came in the 93rd minute, when Mazo hit a ball that was headed toward the top corner had it not been for Grace.
Seton Hall would get no shots off in the second overtime period as well, and were holding on to dear life. UConn was in the Pirates final third for the whole of the period, but could not generate any offense; it felt as if the Huskies would have to accept the draw.
However, just when it seemed as if all hope was lost, “super sub” midfielder Sophia Danyko-Kulchycky played a dangerous ball through to Cappadona, who was able to find the back of the net to get the sudden death golden goal in the 107th minute, and give the Huskies the 2-1 victory.
UConn’s final match of the season is a tough one, as they’ll have to go up against undefeated Georgetown on Thursday, April 8 at 2 p.m. The Hoyas (9-0-1, 7-0-1 Big East) last game against St. John’s was canceled, which means they have not played a match since March 28, something that will definitely benefit the Huskies. Seton Hall finish the season against Villanova on Thursday, April 8 at 6 p.m. Ultimately, both the Wildcats (2-9-2, 1-5-2 Big East) and the Pirates will look to finish on a high after what’s been a disappointing season for both sides.