After a successful win on Sunday against the University of New Hampshire, the UConn women’s soccer team (2-1-1) will close a three-game home stretch against the Marist College Red Foxes (0-2-2), seeking its first win since their regular season finale against Niagara University last October.
The Huskies have looked dominant defensively, allowing just three shots on Thursday against Army West Point while not allowing a single shot on Sunday against New Hampshire. Every single game at Morrone Stadium this season has been a shutout, and they look to make it four home shutouts in a row tonight.
Forward Chioma Okafor has not recorded a point in the last two matches, but she currently leads the Huskies in points with three, with a goal and an assist in the first two. Forwards Abbey Jones, Cara Jordan, Brooke Walonis and midfielder Jessica Mazo have two points with a goal each.
Goalkeeper Kaitlyn Mahoney has allowed 0.50 goals on average through four games, with seven saves and three shutouts. Despite the low number of saves, the team’s defense has been the reason for their success in the past two games.
This will be the second straight Big East opponent for Marist, and the third overall. They opened the season against Villanova University, where they were shut out 3-0. They faced Seton Hall University on Sunday, where the match ended in a 1-1 tie. It was the first time they scored a goal this season, as midfielder Grace Hotaling netted one late in the second half.
Midfielder Amanda Caldarelli leads the Red Foxes in shots with six, and ties for the lead for shots on goal with two, along with forwards Brooke Cergol, Christina Layden and defender Samantha Sturno.
Unlike most of the opponents UConn has faced this season, Marist has used two goalkeepers. Senior Kelly Lambertson has started three of the Red Foxes’ four games this season, with sophomore Maddy Catalanotti starting the season opener. They typically play about the same amount of time, a half for each of them. Their stats aren’t terribly differentiating, as both have allowed three goals this season and have eight saves. The only difference is Lambertson has played fewer minutes, with 135 minutes compared to 180, while Catalanotti has a better goals-against average of 1.50, compared to 2.00.
Marist, a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), ranks dead last in assists, with zero so far this season.
It will be a homecoming for midfielder Autumn Smith, who grew up in Westport, defender Kaitlyn Bogucki, who grew up in Middletown and midfielder/forward Caroline Campion, who grew up in Cheshire.
Thanks to the Huskies’ strong defensive performances lately, midfielder Lucy Cappadona was awarded the Big East Defensive Player of the Week. It’s the first time since the first week of the season that a UConn player was mentioned on the conference’s Weekly Awards list, with defender Jackie Harnett named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll after the first week.
It’s just the second time the two schools will face off in women’s soccer, with the last time coming in a 3-1 Husky win at home just over 11 years ago. It’s the third MAAC opponent the Huskies have faced this year, with the previous two being exhibition games in early Aug. It will be the first regular season matchup against an MAAC opponent in four years, with the last one coming in a neutral site against Fairfield University, where they shut out the Stags 3-0.
After tonight’s game, the Huskies will drive down to New Haven to take on Yale University on Sunday, while the Red Foxes will be in New Jersey to take on Rider University.
It’s High School Night at Morrone Stadium tonight, with the match set at 7 p.m. If you’re unable to attend, the match can be found on UConn+.