Men’s Soccer: Huskies look to rebound at Creighton 

UConn men’s soccer wins 3-2 against Marquette at Morrone Stadium on October 14, 2023. The Huskies were down 2 goals to Marquette, responding with 3 goals to win the game. Photo by Zachary Moller/The Daily Campus

The UConn men’s soccer team dropped from second place to fourth in the East Division of the BIG EAST conference, following a 3-1 loss. They will look to right the ship and regain momentum with an away match against the Creighton Bluejays on Saturday afternoon. 

In its last game against the Providence Friars, UConn caught a hot team at the peak of their recent streak. The Friars jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half and kept the foot on the gas pedal with another score late in the second half. Scott Testori managed a score for the Huskies to cut into the lead with 15 minutes remaining, but the deficit proved too much to surmount. 

The loss dropped Connecticut to 7-6-1 overall this season. They have gone 3-3 in games against BIG EAST opponents. Their nine points in conference play equates to nine points, behind Georgetown (15), St. John’s (11) and Providence (11). With just two games remaining in the regular season, the Huskies are still well within striking distance of St. John’s and Providence and could jump one or both opponents with a good showing this weekend. UConn must put up a tough performance; with seven conference points, Seton Hall is lurking in the shadows and could also catapult Connecticut in the East with a win this weekend. 

The Bluejays are fresh off of perhaps their most thrilling victory of the season when they took down No. 7 Akron 3-2. After a scoreless first half, Creighton managed to score three straight goals to stun their highly-ranked opponent. Alfie Pope scored the first goal for the home team just minutes into the second half, and Omar Ramadan extended the lead to two in the 62nd minute. It was Pope again who extended the Bluejay advantage to a commanding three goals with his second score of the contest, this one in the 83rd frame. Akron continued to apply pressure and actually managed to bring the game back within striking distance, scoring goals in the 89th and 90th minutes, but the dominant second half performance from Creighton kept the game out of reach. It was the first loss that Akron has been handed this season. 

With the victory, the Bluejays are now 4-5-5 overall this year. They’ve performed well against BIG EAST opponents, managing a 3-2-1 mark against teams within the conference. With 10 points in conference play, Creighton sits in second place in the Midwest Division of the BIG EAST. The weekend victory helped the Jays jump Akron in the Midwest standings as the Zigs were in second place entering the midweek tilt.

In four previous documented matchups between Connecticut and Creighton, the Huskies have been winless, managing an 0-2-2 mark versus the opponent. The two last met in September 2022 and managed a 1-1 tie. UConn and the Jays have tied in their last two matches heading into Saturday’s bout. 

This season has been a rise to stardom for Testori. After being given the opportunity to become one of the team’s primary offensive options coming into the year, the junior has flourished, leading Connecticut in points (15)  and goals (six). No other UConn player has more than eight points or three goals. Testori got off to a hot start straight out of the gate but hit a bit of a speed bump through the middle-portion of the season, going six straight games without scoring a goal. However, the forward has returned in a major way over his last two matches. He scored the game-tying and game winning goals last Saturday in a thrilling victory over Marquette and extended his goal streak to two with his score at Providence on Wednesday. After being named the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week last week, Testori will hope for a bid at the honor again this week with another strong showing. 

For the Jays, Pope has been the team’s most consistent player this season. He leads his team in total minutes played (1,101) and goals scored (four). His eight points are tied for second for Creighton. A graduate student from London, England, Pope was originally with the University of Mount Olive men’s soccer team before transferring to Omaha. This year is his second with the Bluejays. He earned the Carolinas Conference Offensive Player of the Year with Mount Olive in 2021 and ranked nationally in several statistical categories during his time with the program. 

Since it will be the last home game of the regular season for Creighton the team will honor its seniors ahead of the match. Kick-off is set for 3:30 p.m. from Morrison Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska. Fans can watch the Huskies live with a subscription to FloSports. 

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