Was Sunday’s game at Depaul a must-win game for the University of Connecticut? No. Would it have been a nice momentum boost and feel-good victory against a Blue Demons squad that was coming off two straight quality wins? Yes.
After beating Marquette on Thursday, the Huskies failed to score in the Windy City, thanks to the exceptional defense of Depaul. The Blue Demons made Canadian goalkeeper Mollie Eriksson’s job incredibly easy, holding UConn to zero shots on goal. The Huskies were shut down offensively, and as the old adage says, you can’t win games if you don’t score goals.
On UConn’s side, sophomore keeper Kaitlyn Mahoney may have started to take the upper hand as the leader. On Thursday, Mahoney recorded the complete-game clean sheet and on Sunday, she played 76 minutes to freshman MaryKate Ward’s 14. Toward the middle of the season, there was a consensus that Ward and Mahoney would share the duties moving forward, but it looks like Mahoney has gained the upper hand as of late. Regardless, Mahoney has been playing well lately on a Huskies team barely treading water. UConn needs consistency at the position, which they can get with Mahoney.
The only goal of the game came in the 57th minute, when Depaul’s Megan Malecha delivered a free kick inside the box to midfielder Ellie Mink, who booted it past the hands of Mahoney to win the game.
It was a great defensive game for both teams, but unfortunately Depaul was able to hit on one of their seven shots on-goal.
No goals: The Huskies failed to score again, which highlights their need for a consistent goal scorer. Jessica Mazo has been a disappointment this season, with her only points coming from an assist in the opener versus Central Connecticut. It’s unclear if Mazo is still nursing an injury that kept her out early in the year, but either way, as an all-preseason Big East selection, she needs to be producing more. For the Huskies to have any success in the final five games of the season, Mazo needs to step up and get a few goals.
Season’s ending: As the end of the season nears, the Huskies have almost destroyed their chances at making the four-team end-of-season Big East tournament, sitting at 2-3. At this point, they should look for player development, unless there’s an unexpected run coming that needs to start right now.
The Huskies’ next game is this Thursday at home vs. Creighton on FloSports.