STORRS, Conn. - Abdou Mbacke Thiam (Dakar, Senegal) converted a penalty kick midway through the second half as the No. 16 UConn men's soccer team topped Nebraska-Omaha, 2-0, in front of a sellout crowd of 5,100 on Sunday night at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium. With the victory, Connecticut improves to 2-0-0 in 2016, while the Mavericks fall to 1-1-0.
Since the start of the 2013 campaign, UConn owns a (23-5-7) record on its home turf. Sunday's contest was the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
For the second-straight game, UConn tallied first when senior tri-captain Kwame Awuah (Toronto, Ont.) earned a penalty kick for the team after forcing a handball in the box. Thiam converted the attempt, putting the Huskies up, 1-0, at the 66:29-mark. For Thiam, the score marked his second in as many games after putting in 11 goals as a rookie in 2015.
The Huskies doubled up their lead in the 85th minute when freshman Niko Petridis (Norwalk, Conn.) scored his first collegiate goal, finishing into the bottom right corner of the net on a six-yard attempt. Awuah and junior midfielder Alex Kao (Paris, France) were credited with assists on the scoring play.
Redshirt-junior keeper Scott Levene (Stamford, Conn.) picked up his second clean sheets in three nights, while Omaha keeper Joseph Ghitis took the loss after allowing both Husky scores.
The Huskies out-shot the Mavericks, 7-to-1, in the opening half and held a 14-to4 shot advantage throughout the 90-minute match.
In the 13th minute, Petridis took a pass on the right flank and laid in a centering pass toward Thiam, who collided with the keeper before getting a shot off. 12 minutes later, senior midfielder Sebastian Brems (Odenese, Norway) fired a rocket from 22 yards out that slipped just wide of the left post.
Kao nearly got into the scoring act in the final 10 minutes, blasting a 25-yard attempt that just missed the right post and sailed into the crowd.
Connecticut's first chance in the second half came at the 55-minute mark when Dylan Greenberg (Dix Hills, N.Y.) sent in a curling cross into the box that found Thiam's head but the sophomore's attempt slipped just wide right of the frame.
Next up, the Huskies return to the pitch on Friday, Sept. 2 when they host former conference foe Louisville at Morrone Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET. A full match preview will be available on uconnhuskies.com on Thursday morning.
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