The UConn women’s soccer team (10-3-5, 6-1-3 Big East) advances to the Big East semifinals after the 3-2 win over Butler (6-8-6, 2-3-5 Big East) on Sunday.
The Huskies remain nearly unstoppable at home, grabbing their seventh win at Morrone this season. The victory extends their overall winning streak to four games, all coming against Big East opponents.
The game produced the dramatic playoff tournament atmosphere fans love to see. UConn went into the second half with a 2-1 lead and maintained it up until Butler freshman Norah Jacomen knotted the score at 2-2 in the 70th minute. It was Jacomen’s ninth goal of the season and she finished first for the team after today’s loss.
Getting the scoring started for UConn in the first half was graduate student Jessica Mazo. The Bridgeport, Conn. native netted her fourth goal of the season from a pass off fellow graduate student Cara Jordan in the opening minutes.
UConn would not let off the gas after the quick first-half goal. In the 25th minute, sophomore Chioma Okafor softly chipped over a shot into the goal for her fifth goal of the season. Okafor used her speed to get ahead of Butler defenders with a pass from UConn goalkeeper Kaitlyn Mahoney. Mahoney is now one of nine Huskies to collect an assist this season.
Butler would answer with 11 seconds to go in the first half when sophomore Talia Sommer took advantage of the UConn defense not setting up before a free kick. Sommer found a gap and put the ball past Mahoney for her sixth goal of the season.
With UConn holding on to a one-point lead, both defenses would not allow a goal in the second half for almost 25 minutes until Jacomen’s goal. The Huskies looked as though they would not have an answer until Okafor’s final-minute heroics.
In the 89th minute, Okafor put in her team-leading sixth goal of the season off a pass from junior Sophie McCarthy. Similar to her first goal earlier in the game, Okafor would utilize her speed and quick-thinking to chip a shot over Butler goalkeeper Anna Pierce.
After a hot start to the season, Okafor scored her first goal since Sept. 16 against Buffalo. Okafor had been held scoreless by Big East opponents in ten straight games leading up to Sunday’s game.
Okafor’s second goal would prove to be all the Huskies needed offensively to put away the Bulldogs. Along with her two goals, she would finish with four points, tying a season-high.
The game was just the second time all season that Mahoney let in more than one goal. She tallied six saves for the game, one of them being an incredible move to block a shot from Jacomen in the second half to keep the score 2-1.
After letting in the second Butler goal, Mahoney locked up the net the rest of the game, saving one final shot attempt from the Bulldogs. That’s all UConn needed to secure the victory.
UConn finally earned its first win over Butler in six tries. The offense has not come easy against the Bulldogs since 2020, as the Huskies have been shutout in four straight games up until Sunday. The win could not have come at a better time, catapulting UConn to the Big East semifinals.
Sunday’s win is UConn’s first Big East Tournament victory since they rejoined the conference in 2020.
With the win, the Huskies move on to face Georgetown on Thursday for a chance to play in the Big East Championship game.