by Brian O’Neill
Despite a crowd over capacity Friday night, UConn proved to be too much for the women’s soccer team of Central Connecticut State as they fell 3-1 to the Huskies. The loss, this season’s first at home for the Blue Devils, drops them to 1-3-1.
“Great crowd tonight, [with] over 2,000 people at the game,” said head coach Mick D’Arcy. “It’s just fantastic, it creates a good atmosphere. President [Jack] Miller put this together a couple years ago and Friday night games create a bit of a buzz.”
The Huskies (3-1-1) jumped out early when UConn’s Samantha McGuire gathered a loose ball at the top of the penalty box and put it past Central goalkeeper, Nikki Turley, in just the second minute of play.
The Blue Devils answered in minute 15, with the equalizer coming from Julie Lavoie of the assist from Charlie Branch. UConn scored the final goal of the first half when Julie Hubbard scored from close range at minute 25, with the assist coming from Riley Houle.
UConn lead the Blue Devils both in scoring and overall stats throughout the first 30 minutes. The Huskies racked up 11 shots in the first 45 minutes, with five of them being on goal. In the same time, Central had five shots, with three on net.
While the first half was controlled by UConn, the second half was a back and forth fight. UConn put backup goalie Emily Armstrong in for starter Allison Saucier at the beginning of the half. UConn and Central were about even in shots on the half — UConn edging Central 7-6.
In minute 74, UConn’s Rachel Hill — who over the summer played for the U.S. Women’s Under-20 National Team when they won the CONCACAF tournament — scored, giving the Huskies a 3-1 lead. This goal proved to be the dagger into any hope for a Blue Devil comeback.
Even with the loss, D’Arcy saw good things from the team.
“There were a lot of positives,” he said. “Defensively, we had one or two mistakes on the goals, but overall I think the defensive performance was great. This is a very, very good UConn team.”
He added: “They’re always going to cause you problems, but we dealt with it pretty well. We made chances. We scored a great goal; fantastic combination play to create the goal.”
Fan turnout was huge. The bleachers, built to seat 500, were overcrowded with Husky and Blue Devil supporters alike. Fans lined the stone wall that runs the length of the field; some even spilled onto the tops of the stands at the nearby baseball field and football field. The official tally marked attendance at 2,007.
The Blue Devils look to bounce back on Friday, Sept. 12th, when they play at home against New Jersey Institute of Technology.