In what was the UConn women soccer team’s last non-conference game this season, there was no shortage of excitement as the Huskies found a way to win in the final minutes of play despite having to face unplanned adversity minutes before kick-off.
UConn was back at home for the first time in two weeks as it took on the 3-2-1 Yale Bulldogs. Challenges were closer than expected for the Huskies as minutes before the game, starting keeper Kaitlyn Mahoney sustained an injury during warmups. Sophomore MaryKate Ward was next up for the Huskies as she became the replacement starter. However, this wasn’t the only shake up for the Huskies during the game as only 13 minutes into play Ward experienced a non-contact knee injury. Visibly grimacing, play was stopped as medical staff was waived onto the field to assess her. After about five minutes she decided to remain in the game.
UConn dealt with the new adversity well as it maintained the majority of the possession for the rest of the half. The Huskies were able to generate nine shots on goal and five corner kicks but were unable to get past Yale goalie Maya Bellomo. After 45 minutes of an eventful first half both teams had not made their way onto the scoreboard.
Coming out of the half, UConn would make another change in goal. With the knee injury Ward faced in the first half and with third string freshmen goalie Ady Duran already sidelined with an injury Coach Rodgriguez turned to midfielder Sophie McCarthy to take on the big task of stepping in goal. McCarthy had not played goalie since before high school.
Now with the midfielder in net, the defense was on high alert in making sure they made it as smooth as possible for McCarthy and not let her get too overwhelmed early on.
On the offensive end and in the opening minutes of the second half, Cara Elmendorf would find her way to the back of the net, which would be her first career goal in a Huskies uniform. Abby Jones was credited with the assist. Minutes later Jaydah Bedoya gave UConn a huge opportunity to be up 2-0 but hit the crossbar, causing it to rattle off back into the six-yard line box where forward Jada Konte was unable to connect on the rebound. Three minutes later, Yale’s Ellery Winkler was able to place one past McCarthy and all of a sudden the score was 1-1 at the 60th minute. Before they knew it, both teams found themselves in a race against the clock as another 20 minutes of play went by with no goals made. With six minutes left and the clock continuing to count down, UConn defender Lucy Capadona became the MVP of this game, as she was able to put a head on a beautifully serviced corner kick from senior Cara Jordan putting the Huskies up 2-1 in the final minutes of regulation play. The Huskies stayed in the driver’s seat for the last few minutes as they were able to fend off any last minute counter attacks Yale tried to put on them. No stoppage time was added onto play and the Huskies secured the victory two goals to one. UConn is set to hit the road again as it travels west to take on Creighton this Thursday, Sept. 22 which will open Big East Play.