It feels like a broken record to say that Stephanie Ribeiro and Rachel Hill carried the Huskies to a win, but once again that is the case. Ribeiro and Hill both tallied two goals and an assist in a 4-1 win over the Memphis Tigers, a team known for their tough defense.
Defense was the story for much of the first half, with Memphis bringing their hard-nosed style of play against the Huskies strong attack. It was very physical for the first 20 minutes, with Memphis drawing three fouls and aggressively attacking the ball. It looked like it would be a game of attrition with both teams just trying to survive.
But then the floodgates opened.
In the 23rd minute, Maddie Damm sent a ball over the top to Rachel Hill, who was able to break away from the Tigers’ backline and slipped it past Memphis keeper Maryse Bard-Martel to give UConn their first goal.
Just two minutes later, Stephanie Ribeiro had her shot blocked by a Memphis defender. However, the ball ricocheted back to Ribeiro, who re-collected it and sent it across the box into the side-netting.
The siege from the Huskies only continued from there. Rachel Hill crossed a ball along the top of the box to Stephanie Ribeiro, who turned and ripped a missile off the crossbar that went down into the Memphis goal. All three goals for UConn came within seven minutes of each other, and the Huskies took a 3-0 lead into the half.
Memphis didn’t quit though in the second half despite the three goal margin. Just two minutes into the half, Jessica Lisi put the Tigers on the board with a free kick that got past UConn keeper Emily Armstrong. The ball curled to the back post and Armstrong, who was screened on the play, couldn’t get to the ball before it went in.
As the clocked slowly winded down, Memphis turned up its offensive pressure to try and close the gap on UConn. The Huskies defense was sitting back and looked like they were just trying to hang on. With much of the Tigers’ attention focuses up top, UConn was able to counter-attack with Stephanie Ribeiro up the side, who crossed the ball to a streaking Rachel Hill. The senior forward was able to one-time the ball into the wide-open net and put Memphis away for good.
With her performance, Stephanie Ribeiro now leads the country in a number of categories. She is tied for first in goals with 12 and is first in game-winning goals with seven. She has the most points in country with 32, while also leading the nation in points-per-game with 2.66.
Rachel Hill continues to climb through the UConn record books, as her two goals move her into sole possession of third-place in career goals scored with 55.
The Huskies will now travel to Dallas, Texas to face a SMU squad that has beaten USF and UCF in consecutive games on Thursday night. They will then play Houston to close out the two-game trip through the Lodestar State on Sunday afternoon.