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Thiam's Goal Lifts UConn to 1-0 Win Over Hofstra

Sept. 12, 2017

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STORRS, Conn. - Redshirt senior goalkeeper Scott Levene made his 57th consecutive start between the posts for the UConn men's soccer team on Tuesday night, as the Huskies pulled out a 1-0 win over Hofstra at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium.

Levene passed UConn legend and current MLS star Andre Blake for second all-time in program history with his start against the Pride - a streak that dates back to his redshirt freshman season in 2014.

"We didn't play our best tonight, but our defense stayed compact and we didn't give them any really good chances," said Levene, who made two saves on Tuesday. "Our second half wasn't what we wanted, but give our defense credit."

Hofstra outshot UConn, 10-9, but it was junior captain Abdou Mbacke Thiam who made his count in the 30th minute. Sophomore Munir Saleh crossed a beautiful pass in the box from the right sideline, finding Thiam's head and then the back of the net.

Thiam's second goal of the season turned out to be the deciding tally, as the Pride held a 5-2 shot advantage in the second half, but were unable to score the equalizer. In the end, it was gritty play by the UConn backline that kept the lead intact.

The Pride played aggressively in the second half, firing two shots on goal in the first 11 minutes, with both finding Levene's hands. Hofstra controlled the ball for most of the second half, as redshirt junior Dylan Greenberg and redshirt sophomore Nkosi Burgess continuously fought-off scoring opportunities.

The Huskies had several chances to put an insurance goal on the board late - most notably when Thiam pulled a shake-and-bake move on Hofstra's Mani Walcott in the box, causing him to fall down in the 84th minute. Thiam's shot was narrowly saved by goalkeeper Alex Ashton at the near post.

Sophomore midfielder Niko Petridis had a breakaway opportunity up the left sideline in the 86th minute, but it too was stopped by Ashton - who made a pair of saves on the night.

"We need to do a better job of controlling the ball, in order to limit our opponents' opportunities," said Levene. The UConn goalkeeper intercepted several crosses throughout the second half, stifling Hofstra momentum in the process.

The Huskies held a 7-5 shot advantage in the first half, including one shot from each of its four midfielders. Hofstra held a 3-1 edge in corner kicks, but failed to get a shot on goal in the first 45 minutes.

At the final whistle, UConn held a 5-4 edge in corner kicks and 3-2 advantage in shots on goal. Both Husky wins this season have come by a 1-0 margin - and all four games this season that have not ended in a tie were all decided by one goal.

The final match of the six-game homestand is on Saturday night when North Florida visits Morrone Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. (ET) and UConn players will be wearing gold shoelaces to participate in Lace Up 4 Pediatric Cancer - an effort to raise awareness for pediatric cancer.