The University of Connecticut men’s soccer team earned a 1-1 draw against the Marquette Golden Eagles on Saturday night at Valley Fields.
Marquette began the contest with authority, firing off three shots in the opening 10 minutes, though the team was unable to manage a score. The Connecticut defense made the necessary adjustments and held the Golden Eagles to a single shot attempt over the final 35 minutes of the first frame.
In the 16th minute, UConn’s Nicolas Tomerius headed a pass from teammate Kai Griese, but his shot was collected by Marquette goalkeeper Chandler Hallwood. Five minutes later, the Huskies’ Eli Conway managed a steal on the Golden Eagles’ side of the field. The freshman forward caused a turnover on Marquette’s last defender and was quickly swarmed by defenders as he was not able to get a clean shot on goal.
Connecticut’s Mateo Leveque was awarded a free kick just of the Marquette box in the 38th minute of action, who looked toward teammate Soren Ilsoe. Ilsoe’s attempt missed just wide of the goal. At the end of the first half, both teams were still in search of their first points. The Huskies outshot the Golden Bears 5-4 in the period.
Much like the first half, Marquette took the field with force to begin the second frame. In the 51st minute, the Golden Eagles used a strong counter to get on the board first as midfielder Mitar Mitrovic pushed the ball just to the right of Connecticut goalkeeper Michael Stone in front of UConn’s six-yard box. Lukas Sunesson and Beto Soto were each credited with an assist on the play. It was the second goal of Mitrovic’s career, and it gave the Golden Eagles a 1-0 advantage. The Huskies responded quickly, generating two chances on goal in the 53rd minute, but could not convert on either opportunity.
UConn came up with a breakaway in the 68th minute. On the play, Ilsoe threaded a through ball to Okem Chime, who dribbled the ball to the front of the Golden Eagles’ net before dumping the ball back off to the trailing Ilsoe. His shot was deflected, though Scott Testori was to secure the rebound, tapping the ball back into the unguarded net. The tally equalized the score at one apiece. The goal was Testori’s third of the season.
The Huskies continued to give themselves opportunities to tally points, recording five shot attempts over the game’s final 20 minutes, though they could not convert any of their chances. Both teams made impressive plays in the winding seconds of the contest to keep their opponent from stealing the go-ahead score.
“[I was] disappointed in the result, but happy with the performance” head coach Chris Gbandi said after the contest. “Going down a goal on the road, to fight back and … almost have a chance to win [the game] I think shows a lot of character and shows the character of the group. They’re willing to fight and not give in.”
The Huskies attempted four more shots than Marquette in the second half and attempted five more shots, 14-9, over the duration of the contest. UConn managed only four shots-on-goal compared to Marquette’s five. A combined 26 fouls were committed by both clubs, with the Huskies committing 15 and the Golden Eagles committing 11. Connecticut won the corner kick battle, recording six to Xavier’s two. With the draw, the Huskies’ move to 4-6-2 on the season and 1-3-2 in Big East play. Marquette, meanwhile, moves to 4-7-3 with the tie and 0-3-3 in conference play. The Huskies and the Golden Bears currently both occupy the two spots at the bottom of the Big East standings, with Connecticut in 10th and Marquette in 11th.
The Huskies’ next game will come Wednesday Oct. 19 against Villanova University. Kick-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the Higgins Soccer Complex in Villanova, Penn. The game can be streamed online using FloSports, with live updates provided by StatBroadcast.