- Akeem Priestley (Kingston, Jamaica) led the No. 2 nationally-ranked University of Connecticut men's soccer team as it opened the 2008 season by blanking St. Peter's, 4-0, Friday night at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium in front of 3,720 fans. The senior midfielder scored two goals and added an assist to guide the Huskies to a 1-0 start to the season.
O'Brian White (Scarborough, Ontario) and Mike Pezza (Jackson, N.J.) also scored for the defending BIG EAST Champs, while Greg King (Queensland, Australia) and Tony Cascio (Gilbert, Ariz.) each tallied points on assists.
The 18th minute proved to be magical for the Huskies as they scored the first two goals of the night within 16 seconds of each other. Pezza, last year's NCAA leader in assists, collected a pass from King along the right sideline and fired a centering pass in to White, who headed it into the right side to put UConn on the board at 18:05.
Just a few seconds later, following a brief melee off the restart, White dropped a pass ahead of Priestley near the top of the penalty area that he quickly sent a loop shot over the top of the St. Peter's goalkeeper, Hernanando Santamaria. Dori Arad (Hahotrim, Israel) narrowly missed adding a third goal within the minute when his shot was saved by Santamaria at the 18:54 mark.
UConn closed out the half without another score, but turned up the pressure again midway through the second period. Priestley sent a short pass over to Pezza towards the middle of the goal box that he quickly stuffed past the keeper to earn his second career goal late in the 67th minute.
Cascio, one of two true freshmen to see action in the contest, entered the game shortly after the third goal and earned his first career point just over 11 minutes later when he fed Priestley the ball from the right side. Priestley then converted on the pass to notch his first career multi-goal game for UConn.
The four-goal margin accounts for the largest season-opening victory since the 1995 season when Joe Morrone's Huskies shutout North Carolina, 6-0, on Sept. 2. UConn out-shot St. Peter's 13-3 on the night and held a 5-2 advantage in corner kicks.
UConn returns to action Sunday at 7:00 p.m. against No. 22 Tulsa in Morrone Stadium. The game marks "Fan Appreciation Night" where the first 100 fans in attendance get a free UConn keychain.