Men’s Soccer: Huskies and Red Storm play to spicy draw on chilly night

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The University of Connecticut men’s soccer team, one week removed from a 2-1 loss to DePaul, took on the St. John’s Red Storm in the hopes of finding their first conference win of the year. 

In the 10th minute, Micaah Garnette of St. John’s got a good opportunity, but it was blocked. One minute later, Andrew Bennett had a great chance to give the Red Storm an early lead, but his shot went above and beyond the net. 

UConn saw the Red Storm take those two shots and responded with two shots of their own. Moussa Wade got a chance in the 13th minute, but his shot was blocked. Before the Red Storm could get it out of play, Mateo Leveque picked up the play and set up a shot of his own, but his shot, like Bennett’s, went over the net. 

In the 23rd minute, Lucas Barlett capitalized on a St. John’s free kick with a beautiful touch that got past Huskies goaltender Jahmali Waite and gave the Red Storm a 1-0 advantage. It was Barlett’s third goal of the season. 

But the Huskies did not have to play from behind for long. A minute later, Wade kept the possession of the ball inside the UConn attack and passed it off to Jayden Reid. Reid proceeded to wrap around the St. John’s defense and collected the equalizer. Reid picked up his second goal while ending the Red Storm scoreless streak at 390:23. 

Throughout the rest of the first half, both teams played aggressive and choppy, exchanging fouls every one to two minutes. The last great shooting opportunity came in the final minute of the half as the Huskies were awarded a free kick in the offensive zone. Felix Metzler was assigned to take the shot and he got a good one off, but it landed right in the hands of Red Storm goaltender Luka Gavran. It would be a balanced first half as both teams had four shots each. 

Heading into the second half, both teams started to get tense, with St. John’s applying more of the pressure, including two shots by Johan Aquilon and Bennett. The second shot involved Waite going down after making some rough contact, but Bennett’s effort hit the crossbar and stayed out of the net. 

A lucky bounce for the Huskies kept this game tied and both teams continued to play rough and tough, trading possessions in the midfield over the next 10 minutes. In the 56th, minute after two corner kicks by the Red Storm, Waite picked up a yellow card during a minor scuffle between both teams. 

In the 64th minute, Aidan Borra had an amazing look for the Red Storm, but with no one around him, his shot missed to the right. One minute later, the Red Storm thought that they had the go-ahead goal as Matthew Chandler finished off a defenseless play, but he was called offsides, keeping the game tied 

The Johnnies got a corner kick in the 72nd minute and Brandon Knapp was able to sneak a shot under center, but Waite read the play like a hawk and prevented the Red Storm from taking the lead. Garnette had an amazing opportunity three minutes later, but Waite came through again with a good save. 

St. John’s had been in charge for most of the second half, but the Huskies were brewing up a wonderful response to the surging attack. Towards the end of the 83rd minute, Giancarlo Vaccaro got a shot out of his own, but he missed the net and it ultimately led to a corner kick. 

Although that corner kick did not result in anything, the Huskies would not go away as Reid picked up another great chance in the 87th minute. He picked up the pass and curved the shot to try and get it past Gavran, but it stayed out of the net as Gavran was able to come up with the save. 30 seconds later, Wade got a great shot of his own, but his shot missed the net as well. For the second time in three weeks, the Huskies would be going into overtime at Morrone Stadium. 

Jared Juleau had shots in both the 95th minute and 97th minute that could have put the game away; his second shot got saved on the corner kick by Waite. The Huskies now had a critical chance to win their second overtime game of the year. 

It started with an offensive attack that saw Maxwel De-Bodene put the pressure up front and set up the potential game winning shot, but his shot got saved by Gavran and pushed out of play. Okem Chime, coming off a shot three minutes prior, had a great shot opportunity via a pass from Leveque, but his shot went over the net and another overtime period would be needed. 

The Red Storm had the lone shot in double overtime as Atila Ashrafi took a shot that was initially set up by a corner kick, but his shot missed and went out of play. St. John’s had another corner kick in the 106th minute but did not get a shot off during that possession. Both teams went back-and-forth with possession and the game ended in a 1-1 tie. 

Although the Red Storm (7-2-1, 2-0-1 Big East) extended their unbeaten streak to seven games, the Huskies made this the toughest game the Red Storm played during that streak. The young and intimidating offense collected ten shots with four on-goal and put the defense to work multiple times.  

The Huskies (4-3-1, 0-2-1 Big East) will take on the Villanova Wildcats on Wednesday, Oct. 6, at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium to determine who is the victor between cats and dogs at 7 p.m. The game can be viewed via FloSports with live stats provided by Statbroadcast. 

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