It was a successful Labor Day weekend for the UConn women’s soccer team (2-1-1), as they faced Army (0-4-2) on Thursday and the University of New Hampshire Wildcats (3-2) on Sunday.
On Thursday, defense was key as the Huskies outshot the Black Knights 22-3. However, UConn struggled mightily on offense.
For the majority of the game, Connecticut had the possession and played at their own pace. Defender Kelly Monaco had a chance to get the match’s first goal in the first half, with her rebound chance stopped by Army goalkeeper, Sage Strohman. It would have been the junior’s first goal in almost a year.
Strohman had seven saves for the Black Knights, with most of the shots on frame and dangerous.
57 minutes into the match, forward Abbey Jones nearly found the back of the net off a corner kick header that just went wide. Jones scored in the season opener against Boston University, but has not recorded a point since.
Forward Chioma Okafor had possession of the ball inside the box, but her shot was saved by Strohman. It would have been the sophomore’s second goal of the season and her fifth point overall if the ball made it in the net.
Almost 73 minutes into the match, midfielder Anaya Johnson was issued a yellow card. It was the only caution for either team.
All three shots by Army were not on target as the Huskies recorded their second shutout of the season at Morrone Stadium. In just the third meeting between the two schools, the last two matches have been draws, with Connecticut winning the first meeting in shutout fashion back in 2015.
Army went on to play Princeton University on Sunday.
Following the team’s first draw of the season, UConn hosted New Hampshire on Sunday night, looking to continue their streak of shutouts at home, which now sits at five.
Freshman Lydia LeBlanc nearly scored her first career goal but could not get past New Hampshire goalkeeper Sally Rainey, who made four saves.
In the 26th minute, Abbey Jones saw her shot saved on a diving effort from Rainey.
After a scoreless first half, fifth-year senior captain Jessica Mazo found the back of the net for her first goal of the season and her sixth career goal. She led the team in shots with four, while Okafor, Jones, and forward Cara Jordan had three shots. Jones nearly added a third goal on a free kick that landed just off the crossbar.
At the 59th-minute mark, New Hampshire junior Molly McHugh received a yellow card. Similar to the Army game, it was the only caution for either team.
Connecticut showed off its depth with the other goal coming from freshman Brooke Walonis, who scored her first career goal in the 69th minute of the match.
The Huskies were so dominant on defense the past two games that there was not much of a need for goalkeeper Kaitlyn Mahoney. UConn easily outshot New Hampshire, 25-0. They had 10 corner kicks, while the Wildcats had zero.
“We were going for a shutout no matter what because that’s what we’re proud of,” said head coach Margaret Rodriguez, who raved about the team’s defense. “Both of our goals came on a defensive transition and we’re definitely proud of that because we’ve worked on that.”
Connecticut now has 10 wins against the Wildcats, including a seven-game winning streak that dates back to the late 1980’s. The Huskies have not lost to New Hampshire since 1988, their only loss in the matchup’s history. UConn has now shut out the Wildcats in three straight games, each of them about ten years apart from each other.
Following the team’s dominant defensive performance, midfielder Lucy Cappadona was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Week, a well deserved reward for her play.
New Hampshire will take on Merrimack College at home on Thursday night, while the Huskies will wrap up their three-game home stretch on Wednesday against Marist College for High School Night before traveling to face Yale University next weekend.