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UConn men’s soccer routs Tulsa 6-3 on Senior Night

The Huskies notch their most goals in a game since 2012.

UConn’s Moussa Wade celebrates after scoring a goal in the first half.
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

For 90 minutes at least, the UConn men’s soccer team’s disappointing season was all but forgotten. Tonight was about the celebration of the program’s seniors and UConn took full advantage, dispatching Tulsa 6-3 on its Senior Night and final regular season game of 2019.

Dayonn Harris, Moussa Wade (2), Robin Lapert, Ibrahima Diop, and Ahdan Tait all scored for the Huskies who improved to 5-11-1. It was the most goals UConn has scored in a game since 2012. And with Cincinnati losing to UCF tonight, the Huskies snuck into the American Athletic Conference Tournament.

But before we dive into tonight’s recap, let’s give a shoutout to UConn’s five seniors this year: Dayonn Harris, Alex Canticatti, Jordan Hall, Jarod Riedl, Nick DeMaso, Botazzi, and George Kubitris. Their contributions to the stat sheet during their career may vary, but grinding four years at a high level Division 1 program deserves the upmost praise, no matter what.

First Half

Both teams were very direct to start, content with dropping the ball in behind each others back lines. But because Tulsa was unable to string consecutive passes together, UConn’s impact on the game increased as time wore on. Freshman goalkeeper Marcus Peterkin — making his fourth start of the season — made a huge save 15 minutes in on a breakaway, making himself just big enough to kick save the Tulsa attempt wide.

UConn then struck first in the 23rd minute, when Harris received the ball on the left wing from junior Robin Lapert. Spinning inside, Harris beat his first defender and fired a shot near post for his second goal of the year.

The Huskies doubled their lead three minutes later when Jake Dengler stepped in front of a Tulsa pass. Legging out a run that would have Vincent Kompany proud, he slotted it outside the box to Wade, who rifled it home to the left corner. It was the freshman’s first goal of his career and the destruction at Dillon Stadium was on.

UConn added to their lead in the 40th minute after freshman Jayden Reid was chopped down in the box. Up stepped Lapert to the spot, whose initial attempt was saved but the junior calmly headed the rebound into an open net. It was his third goal of the season. He now is third on the team with seven points on the year.

Second Half

There would be no second half let-down tonight. UConn picked up where it left off in the 49th minute. After the Tulsa keeper couldn’t corral a Harris shot, the rebound fell right onto the foot of Wade for what was likely the easiest goal of his life. UConn’s dismal zonal marking on corners flared up again though, as Tulsa responded with a goal 36 seconds later.

Diop joined in on the fun in the 64th minute. Junior Blaise N’gague sprung a breakaway for Wade, who was brought down just outside Tulsa's box before he could get a shot off. Diop’s bending ball from the just outside the left of the box found the inside netting past the Golden Hurricane keeper; a well-struck free kick for his second goal of the season.

UConn’s final goal of the night would come from Tait via a nice early cross from freshman Thomas Decottignies. The early ball was put in behind the Tulsa defenders and Tait extended his foot out just enough to redirect it home for his second goal of the season.

Tulsa got two goals back in the game’s waning stages, but the result was never in doubt. In the last ten minutes, head coach Ray Reid did the right thing and gave all his seniors plus a few other bench players some burn in the blowout.

Momentum is a funny thing. Sure, Tulsa — who was the only team below UConn in the AAC standings heading into today — looked like it was ready to close out its season. But piling in six goals on the last game before tournament play gives anyone a much-needed confidence boost. It was obvious in the second half that UConn was playing like a team that had been starved for offensive production and a game like this is just what the doctor ordered. The talent is there and if the Huskies can compartmentalize the phases of the game better, they could be a dangerous out next week in the AAC Tournament.

They’ll get a chance to make some noise on Saturday, Nov. 9, when UConn heads down to Tampa to take on USF in the AAC quarterfinals.