The University of Connecticut men’s soccer team was searching for an explosive offensive performance after struggling to build momentum towards the end of the season.
It came through in a big way at home against Rutgers Wednesday night, as the Huskies dominated the Scarlet Knights in the second half to notch a 4-2 victory. UConn outshot Rutgers 16-4 on the night, battling through two Jackson Temple goals to win in the game in convincing fashion.
Four different Huskies scored, helping UConn to battle back from a couple first-half deficits to emerge victorious. Jayden Reid, Dominic Laws, Thomas Decottignies and Mateo Leveque all found the back of the net on Wednesday, a promising sign for a team looking to continue its winning ways to close out the regular season.
Now, UConn welcomes the Xavier Musketeers in its last home game of the season, as it looks to come through with a win on Senior Night.
For Xavier, it has been a struggle to get in the win column as of late, as the Musketeers have dropped their last three games to Butler, Creighton and second-ranked Georgetown, with the latter coming at home. Xavier is led on the offensive side of the ball by Ka Henderlong, who has scored 17 points on the season — aided by seven goals — and helped the Musketeers maintain an almost .500 clip on the season. Justus Kauppinen and Jerome Jolly have helped Henderlong, each notching three goals, with 10 and six points for Xavier, respectively. The Musketeers have consistently been even against their opponents, scoring 1.07 goals per game while allowing the same number.
On the defensive end, Xavier is anchored by goalkeeper Matthew Rosenberg, a graduate student from New Jersey who has recorded 33 saves on the year while allowing 16 goals, a save percentage of .673. Rosenberg has recorded five clean sheets on the year, with three consecutive shutouts coming in non-conference play in the early part of the 2021 campaign.
However, this success has not translated into conference wins for the Musketeers, as Xavier only has a 2-6 record in Big East play, failing to record a conference victory since October 9 when it defeated Seton Hall. There is not much history between these two squads, but there is a lot on the line Saturday night in Storrs.
UConn is looking to secure a Big East tournament berth by getting into the top six, as only the top six squads qualify for an opportunity to win the conference. If UConn was to win on Saturday night, it would put the Huskies at 11 points on the season — in a tie for sixth with DePaul.
However, the Huskies will need help from this same Xavier squad following their matchup on Saturday. For UConn to qualify, they must manage at least a draw against powerhouse Georgetown in the regular season finale, while the Musketeers must beat DePaul.