The UConn women’s soccer team (10-3-5, 6-1-3 Big East) hits the road to face off against No. 2 Georgetown (10-1-7, 6-0-4 Big East) in the Big East Championship semifinal on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
The Hoyas were awarded a bye to the semifinals for securing the second seed in the conference, so they will face the Huskies on ten days of rest. The Huskies will have their hands full running off less, but sufficient rest heading into the game.
UConn opened up their tournament with a dramatic 3-2 victory over Butler on Sunday. The game looked to be destined for overtime until sophomore Chioma Okafor chipped in a shot in the final minutes of the game. Okafor, with her second goal of the game and team-leading sixth of the season, put away the Bulldogs for a trip to the semifinals.
The Huskies were happy to host the Bulldogs in the opening round of the Big East Tournament. UConn collected its seventh win at Morrone, establishing its dominance at home this season. This Thursday will be a good test on a neutral field against Georgetown to assess their resilience as an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament is still in the cards.
Often an invaluable attribute for teams playing in the postseason is championship experience. Knowing how to win championships can create a culture of winning in the locker room, and that’s exactly what the Hoyas have done in recent years. After losing the Big East title to Xavier in 2019, Georgetown would claim three consecutive championships. They are the defending champions entering the tournament.
With that being said, dethroning Georgetown will not be an easy task. The Hoyas are undefeated against conference opponents and suffered their only loss in an away match against Princeton back on Sep. 14. They currently sport a 10-game unbeaten streak.
Georgetown finished out the season strong with a 4-2 win over Butler on Oct. 22. The win crowned them Big East co-regular season champions, sharing that title with Xavier.
UConn’s offense has come alive recently, scoring 11 goals in the recent four games, but they will have to construct a game plan to get around Hoya goalkeeper Allie Augur. The Northford, Connecticut native ranks third in the country for goalkeepers in goals against average. On two separate occasions this season, Augur strung together four games without allowing a goal.
One the offensive side for the Hoyas, graduate student Allie Winstanley leads the team in points scored. Along with her 11 points on the season, she’s scored four goals with her last one coming in Georgetown’s penultimate game against Marquette, which resulted in a 5-0 victory.
The game will be a battle of two of the top defenses in the Big East. Both teams have notched 11 shutouts in 18 games, putting themselves at 13th in the country. The matchup between Augur and UConn’s goalkeeper Kaitlyn Mahoney will be an exciting watch.
The Huskies look to be peaking at the right time as they are currently on a four game win streak. If they can get past Georgetown, they will have their eyes set on adding another Big East title to the trophy case.
In the event of a UConn win, the Huskies will advance to the Big East title match against the winner of the No. 4 Providence and No.1 Xavier game. That game will take place on Nov. 5 at 1:30 p.m. to crown the 2023 Big East Champion.
Thursday’s game will be held at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md. For those who cannot travel to spectate, the game will be streamed live on FloSports.