— UConn Men's Soccer (@UConnMSOC) September 22, 2016
KINGSTON, R.I. - Sophomore forward Abdou Mbacke Thiam notched his team-leading fifth goal of the season in the opening half to propel the UConn men's soccer team to a 2-1 victory over Rhode Island on Wednesday night at URI Soccer Complex. With the non-conference win, Connecticut improves to 5-3-0, while URI drops to 3-4-1 overall.
Connecticut improves to 10-0-2 in games in which Thiam has found the back of the net, including a perfect 4-0-0 mark in 2016. Additionally, UConn extends its winning streak to 12-straight over Rhode Island, pushing its total series advantage to 22-10-2.
In the last 14 meetings with the Rams, the Huskies hold a 35-to-7 goal advantage.
Thiam put the Huskies up, 1-0, at the 13:44 mark, taking a pass from Alex Sanchez (Corona, Calif.) and beating the Rams' keeper to the bottom left corner of the net from 12 yards out. For Thiam, the score marked his 16th career tally in 27 matches, while Sanchez was credited with his first assist of the young season.
With 12 minutes left in the match, senior tri-captain Jake Nerwinski (Lawrenceville, N.J.) doubled up the Husky advantage, cutting into the box before depositing a shot into the far corner of the net for his second goal of the year. The Rams cut into the Husky lead with 6:40 remaining in the match but the Connecticut defense held strong to secure the victory.
Redshirt-junior Scott Levene (Stamford, Conn.) grabbed his fourth win of the 2016 season, stopping six Rhode Island shots. His counterpart Nils Leifhelm took the loss despite registering one save.
The Huskies' first opportunity came in the 11th minute when Sanchez earned the game's first corner kick. Kwame Awuah (Toronto, Ont.) sent in an in swinging attempt but the URI backline was able to clear out the danger before a Husky could get a shot on net.
In the 25th minute, Awuah got a look at the cage but pushes his left-footed shot over the crossbar. 12 minutes into the second half of play, Thiam hooked a left-footed shot wide left of the cage.
UConn opens American Athletic Conference play on Saturday, Sept. 24 when it welcomes Temple to Joseph J. Morrone Stadium at 7 p.m. A complete match preview will be available on uconnhuskies.com on Friday morning.