In front of the largest crowd of the season, 1,175 on senior night at Morrone Stadium, the UConn women’s soccer team defeated the Temple Owls, 3-2.
The difference came in the 88’ minute after Vivien Beil slipped a breakaway shot past the Temple keeper to give the Huskies the lead. Beil had a foot in all three goals, scoring two goals and had the assist on Sabrina Toole’s goal.
With the win, the Huskies can finish anywhere from third to fifth in the final conference standings.
All five seniors started in their final game on their home pitch and made an instant impact from the opening whistle. The combination of Faith McCarthy, Danielle Gottwik and Tanya Altrui put heavy pressure on Temple’s backline, but were unable to crack through for a goal.
On the other side of the field, Courtney Hofer had one of her most impressive performances in net as a Husky. She made a handful of spectacular diving saves to keep the game scoreless in the first half.
“For the seniors this was everything to us,” said senior Sabrina Toole. “The first ten minutes when all of us were out there, you could see we were playing balls to feet, going at goal, almost had a couple right away.
“I think ending it on a win was a big moment for all of us that we’ll always remember.”
Despite a heavy output of shots from either side in the first half, the two teams went into the break knotted at 0-0.
However, the tie last just 53 seconds into the second period. On the Owls’ initial attack, the Huskies were unable to clear a cross away, allowing Elana Falcone to run on to the ball and put it into the net to give Temple the 1-0 lead.
They wouldn’t hold it for long, though.
Just 10 minutes later, Vivien Beil curled a beautiful shot into the top right corner of the net to even it up at 1-1.
Beil’s strong play continued into the 61st minute. She sent a corner kick into the box and found Toole, who headed it into the back of the net. It was her fourth goal of the season and the third header off a corner kick.
“I run through the first two defenders which is hard to defend because teams don’t usually play front post corner so I can just hit it front post every time,” Toole said.
The scoring frenzy continued into the 69th minute on a corner kick for the Owls. Courtney Hofer came out but didn’t land a solid punch on the ball. The ball dropped into a scrum of players and found the head of Kerri McGinley, who put it into the open net to tie it at 2-2.
Beil put the dagger in to put the Huskies ahead for good with just 2:49 remaining.
The Huskies end the regular season with a 7-8-3 (5-4-0 AAC) and now will turn their focus to the AAC Tournament in Orlando. They will be the No. 5 seed and will play No. 4 Memphis on Wednesday at 7pm. All games will be broadcast on the American Digital Network.