Men’s Soccer: Huskies look to solidify Big East Championship spot 

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UConn Men’s Soccer shuts out Stonehill 4-0 on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022, at Morrone Stadium. The first two goals were scored by Frantz Pierrot (11), the third was scored by Eli Conway (23), and the final goal was scored by Joey Saputo with his first goal of the season. Photo by Izzi Barton/Daily Campus.

While once on the outside looking in, the UConn men’s soccer team has flipped the script in the second half of their season, looking to clinch a Big East Championship spot with a win over St. John’s on Saturday night in Queens, New York. 

The top six teams in the conference make the tournament, set to start on Nov. 5 at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, Maryland. While the Huskies’ postseason hopes were bleak after a 2-5-1 start to the season with a 0-2-1 conference record, they have turned things around in the second half, going 5-1-1 since Oct. 5, including a 3-1-1 record in the Big East. They currently sit in fifth place overall with 11 conference points, and with trailing teams Creighton and Providence slated for two more Big East games as well, a win Saturday will clinch a postseason berth for Connecticut.  

UConn (7-6-2 overall, 3-3-2 Big East) has been on fire as of late, recently beating Stonehill 4-0 in their largest margin of victory of the year. The Skyhawks looked completely outmatched, even with second-team Huskies getting the majority of playing time. 

One major bright spot for the team has been top scorer Frantz Pierrot. The graduate transfer erupted for two early goals on Wednesday night, adding to his team-high five on the season. He looks to add to his total in a big matchup on Saturday. 

An emerging piece for this Connecticut lineup has been freshman Eli Conway. The forward has made an impact in his first collegiate campaign, playing in 13 of the team’s 15 games, starting six of them. Either in the Starting XI or off the bench, Conway has been a spark plug for this offense, scoring three goals and notching an assist on a very efficient 0.333 shot percentage. The former Big East Freshman of the Week is here to stay on this Husky squad, and he hopes to contribute further against the Red Storm. 

St. John’s (4-7-4, 2-3-3 Big East) has struggled as of late, picking up just one win in the last six games. Since the beginning of October, the Red Storm are 1-3-2, winning at home against DePaul a few weeks ago. They are coming off of a tough 2-1 loss to a very talented Butler team on the road.  Make no mistake, however. This team is quite dominant at home, losing twice in eight home games this year. They will look to keep up their three game home-unbeaten streak on Saturday night. 

Picked third overall in the Big East Men’s Soccer Coaches’ Preseason Poll, the Red Storm are failing to meet expectations set by the league. They currently sit in eighth place overall, but with nine total points, a win over the Huskies could put St. John’s in the driver’s seat to make a playoff push of their own, leapfrogging UConn in the standings. 

UConn Men’s Soccer shuts out Stonehill 4-0 on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022, at Morrone Stadium. The first two goals were scored by Frantz Pierrot (11), the third was scored by Eli Conway (23), and the final goal was scored by Joey Saputo with his first goal of the season. Photo by Izzi Barton/Daily Campus.

The Red Storm are led largely by midfielder/defender Antek Sienkiel. The redshirt junior tops the team in scoring by a large margin, notching seven goals on the year. Sienkiel most recently scored in the team’s loss to Butler, and earned an assist each of the two games prior. If the Huskies hope to contain the Johnnies’ offense, it starts with containing Sienkiel. 

Another player to keep an eye on would be senior Wesley Leggett. The forward doesn’t typically start games, but similar to Conway, provides an immense boost to the team whenever he is in. In his last three games played, Leggett has earned a goal and an assist, and looks to contribute further on Saturday night to help his team to the Big East Championship. 

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Belson Stadium in Queens, New York. The game will be broadcast live on FloSports with stats provided by StatBroadcast. 

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