Men’s Soccer: Huskies tie St. John’s in defensive battle

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10-26-2022 MSOC v Stonehill by Izzi Barton, Staff Photographer 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.

The University of Connecticut men’s soccer team tied the St. John’s Red Storm, 0-0, on Saturday night at Belson Stadium in Jamaica, N.Y. 

In need of both a win and a draw from either Creighton or Providence over the weekend to clinch a spot in this year’s Big East tournament, the Huskies were able to receive the latter but were ultimately unable to secure the victory. With 12 points in conference play, UConn currently holds the sixth spot in the Big East and would be the final team to qualify for the tournament if the season ended today. Avoiding a loss ensures that Connecticut will stay ahead of Providence in the conference standings for the time being, as the Friars currently sit in seventh place and have amassed 11 points on the campaign. 

UConn freshman Nicolas Tomerius had the first shot of the game in the third minute. Teammate Kai Griese found Tomerius streaking down the right side of the pitch, but the forward’s shot missed to the right of the post. Junior Soren Ilsoe put Connecticut’s first shot on goal in the 21st minute from the top of the Red Storm’s 18, but his shot took a bounce before it was collected by St. John’s goalie, Zenden Hart. Tomerius had another look at St. John’s goal when he once again penetrated the right side of the pitch towards the net in the 29th minute of action, but his shot rose too high and sailed just over the crossbar. 

Four minutes later, Tomerius crossed a pass to teammate Eli Conway at the top of the box, who dumped the ball back off to Mateo Leveque. The sophomore lined up a good-looking shot towards the right-corner of the net, but Hart was able to make the lunging save to push the ball out-of-bounds. After the subsequent corner kick took a healthy bounce in front of St. John’s goal, graduate student Frantz Pierrot took a leap to try to pin the ball into the back of the net. The scissor kick attempt just missed the left post. At the end of one half, Connecticut had attempted just six shots but limited the Red Storm to only one shot in the first 45 minutes. 

Fourteen minutes into the second half, St. John’s fed the ball down the field to an open man for what looked to be a surefire goal. However, captain Guillaume Vacter was able to chase down the Red Storm’s breakaway attempt and tapped the ball out-of-bounds before St. John’s could line up a good shot. The Red Storm managed to put the ball in the back with 11 minutes remaining in the contest after the ball had been bouncing around the UConn goalbox, though offsides was called to negate the score. Three minutes later, junior Jayden Reid placed an impeccable cross pass to the front of St. John’s goal to teammate Scott Testori, whose header was placed directly into Hart’s possession. It was the last true chance that either team had to score before the match concluded. 

“I thought that we did well. Anytime that you’re on the road and can get a point against a tough [and] physical St. John’s team, I think that you’ll take it,” head coach Chris Gbandi said following the draw. “Our guys had the right mentality. We came out here and we competed … I’m very proud of them. We still have an opportunity to make the conference tournament, and I think that’s all that we can [hope] for.” 

The Huskies outshot the Red Storm 10-6 on the night. The team also tallied more shots on goal than their opponents, recording four to St. John’s one. A combined 25 fouls were committed by both clubs, with the Huskies committing 15 and the Red Storm committing 10. St. John’s won the corner kick battle, recording seven to UConn’s five. 

In their final game of the regular season, the Huskies will take on the Big East-powerhouse Georgetown Hoyas as the team hopes to secure their spot in this year’s conference tournament. Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. from Ray Reid Field at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium in Storrs, Conn. The game can be streamed online using FloSports, with live updates provided by StatBroadcast. 

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