The No. 22 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3-0-1) visited No. 10 UConn and did what no team had done in 681 days, win at Morrone Stadium, by a final score of 2-0.
The Huskies struggled to defend corner kicks, the setup for both Rutgers goals. The first came at 23 minutes into the half, as the Huskies defense failed to account for Madison Tiernan, who headed the ball off the corner without much pressure. Shielded by defenders, goalkeeper Emily Armstrong wasn’t able to locate the ball until it was too late.
Nine minutes later, off a kick from the same corner, Armstrong tipped the ball instead of punching it, causing it to land right at the feet of Brittany LaPlant, who buried the ball past a line of defenders.
While Rutgers capitalized on two lapses by UConn, it was the Scarlet Knights’ defense that made the difference. Left back Chantelle Swaby was able to almost completely neutralize Rachel Hill. The Huskies' star senior was held to just three shots, none of which were on target.
UConn was often sending the ball over the goal. Despite out-shooting Rutgers 22-9, the Huskies only put six shots on goal and hardly made Rutgers goalie Alana Jimenez sweat.
"In the first half, we did not challenge the keeper," head coach Len Tsantiris said. "Second half, we had the possession but we didn’t create enough opportunities."
Senior forward Stephanie Ribeiro was the Huskies’ best attacker, and has been with two goals on the season, but struggled putting the ball on target. In the first half, she had a great opportunity off a free kick from the top of the box but sailed it over the net. In the second half, she had a similar opportunity that produced a similar result.
It’s a tough loss for the Huskies against a good opponent in a game that was fairly even for the most part. UConn will have a chance to bounce back on Friday against Pacific, who had an RPI in the 200’s last season. The game will kickoff at 5:30 as part of a doubleheader with the UConn men's soccer team.
Photo gallery credits: Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog