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UConn Women’s Soccer Notebook: Huskies Dominant in First Exhibition Game

The Huskies’ offense was strong despite missing numerous key players.

UConn’s Sophia Danyko-Kulchycky (23) slips it past the Sacred Heart goalkeeper for her first of two goals on the night.
UConn’s Sophia Danyko-Kulchycky (23) slips it past the Sacred Heart goalkeeper for her first of two goals on the night.
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

The UConn women’s soccer team kicked off their exhibition schedule on Tuesday night with a 4-1 lightning-shortened win over the Sacred Heart Pioneers. The Huskies scored all four goals in a seven-minute span, with sophomore Sophia Danyko-Kulchycky notching two while sophomore Melina Couzis and senior Heidi Druehl also found the back of the net.

UConn was dominant, out-shooting Sacred Heart 18-1. The Pioneer’s lone goal came on a free-kick against backup keeper Mollie Kerrigan.

The game was divided into three, 30-minute periods instead of the typical 45-minute halves. Redshirt sophomore Randi Palacios played the first and third periods and appears to be entrenched as the starter, especially with freshman keeper Kelsey Kohler out for an undisclosed time with a knee injury.

The Huskies attack suffered a hit before the season even began. The team’s top two scorers from a year ago, Vivien Beil and Kess Elmore, both suffered knee injuries in the offseason and will likely miss the entire season. On top of that, sophomore forwards Yamilee Eveillard and Zoe Steck were both held out of the game due to a conditioning issue.

Fresh Look

Thursday was also photo day for the women’s soccer team and they debuted their new home uniforms for the season. The white jerseys feature thick gray horizontal stripes (also known as hoops) on the front and back with “UCONN” printed across the chest with a number below, both navy. In addition, the kit features white socks and shorts.

The away jersey has not yet been revealed, although it will be navy blue with the same gray hoops.

Preseason Picks

The American Athletic Conference unveiled their preseason awards and UConn was picked to finish sixth out of 10 in the conference. Last season, the Huskies finished fifth with a 5-4 record in conference play. Only the top six teams qualify for the conference tournament.

The only Husky to get picked for a preseason award was Vivien Beil, who was chosen to the All-Conference Team. The German product looked poised to build on a junior season where she led UConn in goals, assists and points en route to Second-Team All-Conference honors before the knee injury derailed her season.

Arrivederci!

A pair of former Huskies are headed to Italy to continue their soccer careers after UConn. 2018 graduates Courtney Hofer and Sabrina Toole are headed to the Soccer Management Institute in Florence, Italy. The program allows soccer players to earn a graduate degree while also playing in front of professional scouts.

Annie Wickett Recovery

On July 12, after a training session with her Romanian club Olimpia Cluj, former UConn women’s soccer player Annie Wickett suffered a stroke and needed to be transported 100 miles by helicopter to a specialty hospital.

After surgery to remove a blood clot from her brain stem, she was placed in the neurological intensive care unit. She was supposedly transferred to a rehab hospital a week ago and they are aiming to get her home to the US in the next two weeks. Friends and family are raising funds to aid with her recovery and medical expenses, which can be found here.

Wickett played for the Huskies from 2014-15. As a senior, she started all 23 games and played the second-most minutes on the team. Before UConn, the Frederick, Maryland native was a goalkeeper at Eastern Kentucky and earned Second-Team All-Ohio Valley Conference honors.