The UConn men’s soccer team was defeated by the Seton Hall Pirates 1-0 on Saturday night at Morrone Stadium, the team’s second consecutive shutout loss.
The Huskies had multiple looks at the goal in the opening minutes of the contest. In the second minute, Mateo Leveque missed a shot attempt just wide of the Pirates’ goalpost. The next minute, Guillaume Vacter headed a ball that he received from a corner kick, though Seton Hall goalkeeper Hannes Ronnholmen was able to recover the ball for his first save of the night.
In the 20th minute, freshman Nicolas Tomerius connected on a shot from the top of the penalty area looking to go bar down. Ronnholmen was able to leap high and punch the ball away from the corner of the net for a remarkable save to prevent the score. UConn went on to dominate in possession for the final 25 minutes of the half but could not come up with any points. Leveque managed to connect on a shot in the 37th minute, though he was ruled offside and the goal was erased. At the end of the half, Connecticut had outshot the Pirates 6-1.
Both teams exchanged possessions over the middle third of the field to open the second half. The Huskies’ Franz Pierrot had two opportunities in front of the goal in the 58th and 59th minutes. First, he missed his shot into the side of the Pirates’ netting, and second, he failed to cleanly receive a pass from Leveque across the face of the goal.
The Pirates’ first shot attempt of the contest proved to be the sole goal scored by either team. In the 70th minute, Seton Hall’s Ralph Pascarella received an outlet pass from midfield and brought the ball to the corner of the Huskies’ box. Pascarella then placed a through ball to the far corner of the six in front of UConn’s goal, where teammate Mattias Almeida Sundell slid in beautifully to pick the volley and touch the ball into the back of the net for the score. The goal was the second of the season for Sundell and the third of his career, while the assist was the first point in Pascarella’s career.
The Huskies played down a man for the final 20 minutes after Scott Testori was given a red card for a late contest on a Seton Hall player. In total, six yellow cards were awarded between both teams on the night.
“I thought that it was a tough one for us. I thought that we deserved a little bit more,” head coach Chris Gbandi said after the contest. “We [created] a lot of chances… and [Seton Hall] had [fewer] opportunities [but] they put it away… but that’s the game that we play. You have opportunities, you don’t [take advantage] of them… and now you’re chasing [for the remainder of] the game. [I’m] happy with the effort [from our guys], but obviously disappointed with the result.”
The Huskies attempted four more shots than Xavier in the second half, and attempted a whopping nine more shots, 11-2, over the duration of the contest. A combined 29 fouls were committed by both clubs, with the Huskies committing 13 and the Pirates committing 16. Connecticut won the corner kick battle, recording 12 to Xavier’s two. With the loss, the Huskies’ fall to 3-6-1 on the season and 1-3-1 in Big East play. Seton Hall, meanwhile, moves to 5-1-5 with the victory and 2-0-3 in conference play. The Pirates are tied with Xavier for the top spot in the Big East, while Connecticut holds the ninth spot of the 11 teams.
The Huskies’ next game will come Wednesday against Marquette. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at the Valley Fields soccer facility in Milwaukee, Wisc. The game can be streamed online using FloSports.