The UConn men’s soccer team was defeated by the No. 18 Xavier Musketeers 1-0 on Saturday night at Corcoran Stadium, dropping to 2-5-1 on the season and 0-2-1 in Big East play.
The Huskies’ Franz Pierrot had a chance at the net in the fifth minute when he was able to get a shot off a loose ball in the Musketeers box, though the shot was deflected and the Musketeer’s goalkeeper was able to secure the ball. Over the next 20 minutes, both teams exchanged possessions in the middle third of the pitch.
Xavier had a chance to take an early lead in the 26th minute when the Huskies turned the ball over on their own side of the field, though UConn goalkeeper Michael Stone made a big save to keep the game scoreless. In the 28th minute, the Huskies’ Mateo Leveque won a free kick outside the Musketeers box, though his shot missed high over the crossbar. UConn once again had an opportunity come up short in the 39th minute, when Scott Testori received a ball over the top from Guillaume Vacter, though his attempt missed the Xavier post. At the conclusion of the half, UConn had attempted more shots than Xavier, 4-3.
At the start of the second half, it was the Huskies that came out of the locker room with vengeance. Kai Griese lined up a header in the 51st minute when Leveque swung in a well-placed corner kick, though Griese’s shot was deflected. Again, in the 60th minute, UConn had momentum moving down the field towards the Xavier goal. Jayden Reid thread a cross pass to Eli Conway, though he couldn’t manage a clean look against the Musketeer goalie.
Xavier scored the game’s only goal in the 61st minute of action. George Waites crossed the field to Cameron Wheeler, who knocked in his shot for his second score of the season. It was the third goal of Wheeler’s career, while Waites was credited with his second assist of the season. After the score, the Huskies began to dominate possession. UConn’s Okem Chime had a shot on goal in the 66th minute but the Xavier goalkeeper was able to make the save once again. The team fought to the end, but the Huskies were never able to find the back of the net.
“We’re finding ways, so far, to lose these games,” head coach Chris Gbandi said after the contest. “We need to figure that out; we need to find a way to beat good teams. I think that’s the biggest and next step for us as a team. We have a lot of good teams coming up [on the schedule] … but I was proud of the guys [and their performance against Xavier]. I thought they worked hard, I thought that they put the effort there … we just need to find a way to get [results] in these tough games.”
The Huskies attempted four more shots than Xavier in the second half, and doubled their opponents shot total, 10-5, over the duration of the contest. A combined 20 fouls were committed by both clubs, with the Huskies committing 12 and the Musketeers committing eight. Connecticut won the corner kick battle, recording six to Xavier’s four. With the loss, the Huskies’ retain their spot at the bottom of the Big East. Xavier, with an overall record of 7-0-3 (1-0-2) are second in the conference behind only Butler.
The Huskies’ next game will come Wednesday, Oct. 5 against Providence. Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Morrone Stadium in Storrs, Conn. The game can be streamed online using FloSports.