The UConn Huskies did not play well on Friday night, allowing both Cardinals goals on mistakes by the defense in a 2-0 loss in front of 4,346 at Morrone Stadium in Storrs, CT.
UConn only ended up taking four shots in the game, only one of which was on target. That came in the 58th minute off the foot of Jake Nerwinski and it was right at the keeper. The Huskies had chances, but were unable to get shots off and it cost them the game. Scott Levene made five saves on the night. The Huskies also got shut out for the first time since October 3, 2015 when Memphis defeated UConn 1-0 in double overtime.
“I’m going to be honest with you, maybe Dylan Greenberg and Jacob Hauser, but I don’t think any of the other eight field players had a good game,” UConn head coach Ray Reid said.
Things did not start for UConn. Simen Olafsen turned the ball over on the far side down low and Louisville took advantage. Mohamed Thiaw took the ball towards Levene and slotted it in the bottom corner to give Louisville 1-0 lead 44 seconds into the game.
“That’s not the way anyone wants to start the game,” Nerwinski said. “It was a little bit of a miscommunication on Simen’s part and Scott’s part.”
While the Huskies played a little better in the first half after the first goal, creating a few more chances, Louisville scored again in the 29th minute. Levene saved the initial shot and Lou Tate Schmidt pushed the rebound through to give the Cardinals a 2-0 advantage, a lead they would hold until the final whistle.
Coach Ray Reid said the goal could have been easily prevented.
“It’s a free kick. Someone doesn’t track it, Scott makes a great save, but how do we not have the ball initially?” Reid said.
A big problem for UConn in the first half was being called offsides. The Huskies had a solid amount of possession in the offensive third of the field, but were called for offsides five times in the first half, to Louisville’s zero.
As a result of all the offside calls, the Huskies were only able to get two shots off, both of which were off the foot of Adbou Mbacke Thiam. Louisville got seven shots off in the first half, four of which were on goal.
The first half also did not have a lot of continuity to it, with UConn committing nine fouls to Louisville’s seven. The Huskies had 14 fouls called against them in their first two games, five against Omaha and nine in the opener against Iona.
The second half unfolded much like the first half.
UConn had multiple threats, including a 49th minute cross from Jake Nerwinski and a 58th minute rocket of a shot off the foot of Nerwinski. In the 72nd minute, they had a particularly good opportunity to get a good shot off, switching the ball via three passes across the 18-yard box, but the Huskies turned the ball over on the far side of the field.
The Huskies limited the offside calls in the second half but could not muster any shots to show for their efforts. The Huskies also committed another 10 fouls in the second half, putting them at 19 for the game. Louisville cleaned it up drastically in the second half, only committing one.
UConn (2-1-0) next plays on Monday against Cornell (0-0-1) at Morrone Stadium, with kickoff coming at 7:00 p.m. With the chance of a tropical storm in the forecast, the contingency plan is to move the game to Tuesday at the same time.