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UConn men’s soccer picks up first Big East win

The Huskies started conference play 0-3-1.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

After a non-conference slate that offered promise, the UConn men’s soccer team has gotten off to an inauspicious start in Big East play. The Huskies sit at 1-3-1, featuring two road losses to Butler and DePaul, as well as an overtime backbreaker at home vs. Villanova in the game’s final minutes. More recently though, UConn picked up a hard-fought home win against Marquette and a draw vs. St. John’s.

Against the Golden Eagles, sophomore Ben Awashie opened his account for 2021 in the 36th minute, getting his foot on a redirected ball into the box after a corner. The Huskies doubled their lead from the penalty spot in the 81st minute. Marquette got on the board less than a minute later with a converted PK of its own, but UConn held on for its first conference win.

It’s early, but UConn sits ninth out of 11 in the conference standings, and has yet to play No. 1 ranked Georgetown as well as No. 20 Providence, the conference’s two representatives in the United Soccer Coaches poll. The home draw vs. St. John’s is promising though, considering the Red Storm received Top 25 votes in the latest USC poll.

So far this season, sophomore Jayden Reid leads the young Huskies with two goals and four assists, while freshman Okiem Chime has chipped in three goals of his own. Pulling the strings from the wing is sophomore Moussa Wade with four assists and a goal. The four assists from Reid and Wade place them in the top five in the conference as of a week ago.

Reid has been placed on the Big East honor roll twice for his efforts, while goalkeeper Jahmali Waite made the weekly list before conference play began. Waite is third in the conference in goals against average (0.60) and save percentage (77%). Perhaps the saving grace is that UConn’s RPI checks in at No. 2 in the conference thus far behind Butler.

Up next for UConn is another home matchup against Creighton, on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 7 p.m. The Blue Jays are 1-4 in conference play and 4-6-1 overall, so its a chance for UConn to build some momentum through October.