- The University of Connecticut men's soccer team fell to West Virginia 1-0 in front of a sold out Joseph J Morrone Stadium of 4,407 fans on Friday night in Storrs, Conn.
After tonight's live Fox Soccer Channel game, the Huskies move their record to 5-2-3 overall and 3-2-0 in BIG EAST play. West Virginia improves to 3-4-3 on the year and 2-1-2 in the conference.
The Mountaineers got on the board first at the 29:05 mark as Alex Silva crossed the ball into the lower corner of the near post, just missing the hands of a diving Josh Ford (Liverpool, N.Y.) to score the lone goal of the game. Paul Paradise earned the assist on the play as he dropped the ball in front of Silva at the top of the box.
Despite the one goal deficit, the Huskies controlled the tempo of the game early, as junior Mike Pezza (Jackson, N.J.) drilled a shot wide from five yards outside the 18 yard box. Pezza got another foot on the ball five minutes later but missed just wide of the target.
The Huskies had an opportunity to strike in the 38th minute of play as a free kick by Pezza was headed by senior Dori Arad (Hahotrim, Israel) but saved by West Virginia goalkeeper Zach Johnson, who recorded five on the night. Pezza recorded another shot in the 44th minute of play but a leaping Johnson snagged the ball out of the air for his third save of the contest. With 11 seconds left in the first half, Cruz Hernandez (El Monte, Calif.) fired a shot at goal, missing high of the cross bar.
In the second half, a hand ball by a Mountaineer defender gave the Huskies another free kick 10 yards from the 18-yard box as Pezza sent a shot just wide of the far post. West Virginia's Daniel Hagey had a chance to give the Mountaineers a two point advantage but Ford made a clutch save, denying Hagey of his first goal of the season. Ford finished with two saves, improving his season's tally to 38.
The Huskies collected over 1,000 used and new soccer balls from those attending the BIG EAST match-up for Kick for NickTM, a Connecticut-based, non-profit organization started in memory of Wilton native Nick Madaras that collects soccer balls to send to children in Iraq. While serving overseas with the U.S. Army, PFC Mardaras recognized the Iraqi children’s love of soccer and asked his family to send him a few balls so he could distribute them to the children in Baqubah; however, he never got the chance to do this. At 19, he was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq on Sept. 3, 2006. Madaras' family was honored prior to tonight's game with a framed UConn men's soccer jersey.
UConn will return to action as the Huskies travel to Providence R.I. on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2008 for a mid-week BIG EAST Conference match-up against the Providence College Friars. Game time is set for 3:00 p.m.
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