STORRS, Conn. – University of Connecticut junior forward Nicholas Zuniga (Norwalk, Conn.) tallied an equalizer in the 77th minute to help the UConn men’s soccer team earn a 1-1 draw against Iona College Friday night in front of a crowd of 4,063 at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium. With the result, the Huskies sit at 2-3-1 in 2014, while the Gaels move to 2-3-2.
Iona opened up the scoring in the 50th minute on midfielder Ignacio Maganto’s fourth goal of the season before Zuniga evened the match less than 20 minutes later following two great passes by the Husky offense. Freshman center back Elliott Ackroyd (Nottingham, England) found himself in transition and slipped the ball near the left side of the box to sophomore Kwame Awuah (Toronto, Ontario).
The Connecticut midfielder fired a cross into the box, finding Zuniga, who flicked the ball past Iona goalkeeper Julian Petrello. The goal was Zuniga’s first of the season and Ackroyd’s assist on the play marked the first point ever for him as a Husky.
Neither squad saw a quality scoring chance in the remaining 13 minutes of regulation and the two teams headed to overtime. Connecticut had several chances to notch a game-winner in the two sudden-victory periods, starting in the 97th minute when a deep cross from sophomore defender Jakob Nerwinski (Lawrenceville, N.J.) found sophomore forward Cyle Larin (Brampton, Ontario) near the left post of the Iona goal. His header would miss wide left, and the danger was cleared.
With less than a minute to go in the match, UConn was awarded a free kick after an Iona midfielder took down Nerwinski in the attacking third. Senior midfielder Adria Beso Marco (Lleida, Spain) sent the free kick in, but his pass sailed by everyone, and the Huskies couldn’t generate another scoring chance in the game.
The Huskies saw several quality scoring chances in the first half, including two shots that were cleared off the line. In the 29th minute, Larin headed on a great ball to senior Allando Matheson (North York, Ontario) near midfield, and the Connecticut forward charged towards the Iona goal, dribbling past Petrello and firing a shot that was saved by a Gael defender.
Less than 10 minutes later, senior midfielder Edir DaGraca (Sao Nicolau, Cape Verde Islands) found himself one-on-one with Petrello, who charged forward and blocked DaGraca’s shot. The deflected shot bounced towards the Iona goal, where it was once again cleared away by a defender.
Wagmeister recorded a career-high seven saves in the match, while the Huskies outshout the Gaels 19-16 in the game.
At halftime of the match, the 1989 Big East Championship UConn men's soccer team was honored, as each former player's name in attendance was announced in the brief ceremony. This season marks the 25th anniversary of the team's conference title.
Connecticut returns to the pitch on Tuesday with a road game against former Big East rival St. John’s. The match, which will be broadcasted by ESPN3, kicks off at 6:30 p.m.
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