Women’s Soccer: Huskies complete non-conference schedule with a draw


The UConn women’s soccer team (3-2-2) pulled out a draw against Buffalo (3-1-3) on Saturday night.  

Both teams showcased a defensive battle that ended the game in a 1-1 tie. A total of 1,805 spectators watched the Huskies and Bulls go head-to-head. 

Similar to UConn’s win over Marist, the Huskies utilized their depth from the bench, using eight substitutes compared to Buffalo’s four. Midfield sophomore Abbey Merchant led the way off the bench for UConn with 34 minutes on the field. 

The Huskies’ offense took control in the first half, taking eight shots to Buffalo’s three. 

UConn got the scoring started at 27:31. Sophomore Chioma Okafor headed in the ball to the bottom right of the goal off a corner kick from junior Abbey Jones. 

The goal by Okafor was her fourth of the season, which leads the team. The assist from Jones was her first of the season.  

Only two other Huskies made shots on goal. The first came just under the 19-minute mark from graduate student Emma Zaccagnini and the second from junior Kelly Monaco late in the second half.  

Okafor’s goal was all the UConn offense had to offer, going scoreless the rest of the game despite making drives down the field—that came up empty. 

Buffalo was getting shut down by the UConn defense before they got on the scoreboard in the second half. In the 60th minute, fifth-year senior Leah Wengender rebounded a shot from sophomore Katie Krohn to knot the game at 1-1. The timely goal was Wengender’s third of the season. 

The offensive pressure evened out from the first half to the second half. Both UConn and Buffalo tallied six shots, but UConn could not capitalize on any to take the lead. 

Since starting the season out with a loss against then No. 14 Pittsburgh, the Bulls have yet to lose a game, going 3-0-3 in six games. They head into Mid-Atlantic Conference play against Akron on Thursday, Sept. 21.  

UConn senior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Mahoney served as the necessary stopgap to prevent the Bulls from taking a lead. Mahoney tallied four saves in the game, the second highest total of the season behind the five she collected against Harvard. 

The second half kept the UConn goalkeeper on her toes. Mahoney collected three saves with one coming at the 87:08 mark off a shot from Buffalo’s Sarah Woods. The save helped close the game in a tie.  

Buffalo goalkeeper Lexie Thompson equally made an impact in the net. After letting in the first half goal from Okafor, the freshman shut down the Huskies, with two saves. 

UConn gave it one last push late in the game at the 84:38 mark with a shot from Monaco that went over the goal. 

Buffalo proved to be a formidable opponent for the Huskies at the end of non-conference play. The Bulls played in the NCAA championships in the 2022 season, losing in the first round 1-0 against Pittsburgh.  

After the game, forward Arianna Zumpano was named Player of the Game by the Buffalo coaching staff “for her relentless efforts on both sides of the ball tonight.” The award was announced by the team’s Twitter account following the game. 

Buffalo remains unbeaten against UConn, moving to 1-1-0 all time, the last match having taken place on Sept. 18, 2021. The Bulls won 2-0 in Storrs for the first contest. 

The UConn women find themselves in seventh place in the Big East soccer standings. 

The match was UConn’s final non-conference game before moving on to face Big East opponents, beginning with Creighton on Thursday, Sept. 21. 

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