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Final: No. 21 UConn Women’s Soccer Falls to Yale, 1-0

Yale had never beaten UConn at Morrone Stadium before Friday.

Tanya Altrui
UConn’s Tanya Altrui (29)
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

The No. 21 UConn Huskies women’s soccer team fell to in-state rival Yale Bulldogs in their season opener, 1-0. UConn falls to 0-1-1 while the Bulldogs win in their first game of 2017.

“The team did not perform today,” said head coach Len Tsantiris. “The most important thing is fighting. It wasn’t there.”

The opening salvo came in the 18th minute when Yale managed to get behind the defense on a breakaway. Mollie Kerrigan made the initial save, but couldn’t gain control of the ball. The Bulldogs regained possession and Noelle Higginson sent it through two UConn defenders into the open net to take the 1-0 lead.

“It got over the top,” said Kerrigan on the goal. “I deflected one shot, it got kicked back and someone [Higginson] was open and I didn’t get up in time for the shot.”

It wouldn’t be the only free run Yale would get on the net in the first half. The Huskies defense struggled with breakdowns, therefore allowing the Bulldogs to send long-balls over the back line. However, they were unable to capitalize on their next two opportunities, as they sent the one chance wide and were stoned by Kerrigan on the other.

But coming out of the locker room in the second half, UConn appeared to flip a switch. All the pressure was suddenly in Yale’s end and it seemed the it was only a matter of time before the Huskies tied it up. However, the equalizer never came.

“I thought we were going to get a goal but we don’t have the maturity to figure it out,” said Tsantiris.

UConn wasn’t without their chances, however. They had three corner kicks, but Yale keeper Alyssa Fagel stepped up with a big save on each. The Huskies best chance of the night came off a free kick from the top of the 18. Kristen Vinciguerra sent it past the wall to Heidi Duehl, but her shot was blocked, holding the shutout.

Scoring was a question mark coming into the season after losing two All-Americans and the inability to find the back of the net was their downfall on Friday. They should be getting some relief in the form of freshman Kess Elmore (not cleared by NCAA) at some point, but they need to figure out how get on the scoreboard before then.

UConn won’t have too long to lament the loss as they head out on the road on Sunday. They’ll travel to Piscataway, NJ for a matchup with No. 15 Rutgers who is 2-0-0 on the young season.

Photo gallery credits: Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog