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Huskies Beat Providence on Late Goal

Sept. 26, 2017

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STORRS, Conn. -- Junior captain Abdou Mbacke Thiam produced more magic on Tuesday night, as the UConn men's soccer team pulled out a 1-0 victory over Providence with his goal in the 82nd minute at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium.

For Thiam, it is his fourth-straight game recording a goal -- giving him a team-high six -- and the Huskies (4-2-2, 1-0-0 American) earned a hard-fought non-conference win over the Friars, an old Big East rival.

UConn picked up its second-straight win overall and has not lost in any of the past five results, countering a 1-2-0 start to the season. Redshirt senior goalkeeper Scott Levene made six saves on the night, notching his fourth shutout.

"Everyone played well tonight, but the defense was exceptional," said junior Dylan Greenberg, who was part of the defense that allowed Providence just seven shots in the match. "We were locked in...they had dangerous forwards, but we did all the right things."

Scoreless heading into the later part of the game, sophomore Nkosi Burgess launched a ball down the right sideline for sophomore Niko Petridis. Petridis controlled it on the goal line and crossed to Thiam, who finished from the far post -- giving UConn a 1-0 lead.

"Nkosi played a good ball down the line and I just wanted to work as hard as I could to keep the ball in. You have to give Abdou credit for hustling in the box," said Petridis. "When I looked up, he was there."

Petridis and Burgess bother recorded assists on the play. It is the second time that UConn has won a game beyond the 80th minute this season, as Thiam also scored the game-winner in a 1-0 victory over Quinnipiac back on Aug. 28.

In the first six games of the season, Petridis started at midfield for the Huskies, but came off the bench in the last two against Temple and Providence. The sophomore has completely embraced the change.

"Whatever is best for the team at this point, as long as we are getting results -- it doesn't matter if I'm coming off the bench or starting," said Petridis. "I want to go far with this team and we are capable of doing that."

Providence goalkeeper Colin Miller matched Levene with six saves, as the Huskies fired eight shots on goal (16 shots total). UConn held an 11-1 shots advantage after the first half on Tuesday night.

The Huskies' best chance in the first half came off a cross from sophomore Munir Saleh, which found the head of Thiam in the box. Thiam's header was saved by Miller, while Thiam's follow-up attempt was blocked by a Providence defender in the 16th minute.

UConn held an 8-1 edge in corner kicks throughout the match, dominating possession for most of the game. With the UConn backline keeping the Friars' strikers in check, the Huskies were able to spread the field offensively.

In the 63rd minute, freshman Nicolas Apostol crossed to Petridis in the box, whose header went just above the crossbar to keep the game scoreless. Levene made a clutch save on a blast by Providence's leading scorer Mac Steeves in the 77th minute, denying Providence a scoring opportunity.

UConn won the first of a three-game homestand against Providence, but the stretch continues on Friday when conference rival Tulsa visits Morrone Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. (ET) and it will be broadcast on the American Digital Network.