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Huskies Fall Short Against No. 1/3 Maryland

Blaise N'Gague celebrates after scoring his penalty kick in the 34th minute (PC: Steve Slade).
Oct. 2, 2017

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STORRS, Conn. – The UConn men’s soccer team fought to the last minute against No. 1/3 Maryland on Monday night at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium, but were unable to complete a comeback in a 3-2 loss to the Terrapins.

Freshmen Blaise N’Gague and Nicolas Apostol each scored their first-career goals in a UConn uniform, including Apostol’s tally in the 88th minute, but the Huskies (5-3-2, 2-0-0 American) fell short against one of the country’s top teams.

Junior captain Abdou Mbacke Thiam recorded a game-high five shots, including three on goal, while redshirt senior goalkeeper Scott Levene made three saves on the night. The Terps held a 4-2 edge in corners and 8-5 advantage in shots on goal.

“I always want to win, but I think tonight served its purpose,” said head coach Ray Reid. “We had a great mentality tonight that starts with the captains. We’re playing with a new team this year and it takes some time. I thought our guys competed and that’s what I wanted.”

Trailing 3-1 in the final minutes, Apostol took advantage of a defensive miscue by Maryland to take possession and bury a shot in the lower left corner of the net in the 88th minute. UConn attacked in the last three minutes, including a corner, but the Terps held on.

“Our guys played with confidence. We were probably the better team in the second half, but that’s the game of soccer,” said Reid. “We gave up two bad goals. It’s never good to lose, but I think there are some things we can build on.”

Tied 1-1 at the half, Maryland scored in the 55th minute and 67th minute to take a 3-1 lead. Jake Rozhansky and DJ Reeves both scored off entry passes into the box, beating the approaching Levene to give Maryland a two-goal lead.

Thiam had his best chance in the second half in the 57th minute, when he spun quickly at the edge of the box and fired a low shot to the left corner, which was deflected away by Maryland goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair.

Maryland struck first in the 27th minute, when Eryk Williamson controlled a ball in the box off a pass from Gordon Wild and shot it past Levene.

UConn regained momentum in the 34th minute, when senior Cheikh Stephane Coly was taken down in the box and the Huskies were awarded a penalty kick. N’Gague buried the attempt to the right side, tying the game, 1-1.

“I got into the game and right away I wanted to make an impact. We were down 1-0 and I wanted to give my best effort offensively,” said sophomore Niko Petridis.

Petridis added, “I got the ball wide from Blaise, took it to the middle, Coly made a run and I ran it through to him and fortunately we got the penalty. Blaise tucked it away perfectly and it gave us momentum going into the half.”

UConn and Maryland, two of the highest drawing soccer programs in the country, played in front of a crowd of 4,160 at Morrone Stadium on Monday night. The Goal Patrol, UConn’s student fan base, sported light-up blue wigs - the promotional giveaway to all fans in attendance.

The Huskies now prepare for three straight road games, beginning on Saturday when they travel to play conference rival Cincinnati at 4 p.m. (ET). Road games against USF (Oct. 13) and Boston College (Oct. 17) await following this weekend.