Oct. 9, 2013
STORRS, Conn. - Connecticut redshirt senior Colin Bradley scored his first career goal on a penalty kick in the 16th minute, as UConn picked up its first conference victory of the season, defeating the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, 1-0, at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium on Wednesday night. With the victory, Connecticut moves to 4-2-4 (1-0-3 The American) while Rutgers moves to 5-6-1 (2-2-0 The American).
UConn earned an early penalty kick after freshman midfielder Cyle Larin was pulled down in the box by a Rutgers' defender after receiving a nice through pass from fellow freshman Kwame Awuah. Bradley made the Scarlet Knights pay, burying a shot into the right hand side of the net to give UConn the lead early.
Bradley has spent the last five seasons under head coach Ray Reid, starting in all 77 games for the Huskies since 2010, but had yet to find the back of the net until tonight.
"It's about time," Bradley said with a smile. "After about 80 games as a Husky it was nice to score my first goal."
The Huskies maintained possession for much of the first half, putting four shots on goal in the opening 45 minutes. Junior forward Allando Matheson nearly added to UConn's goal total in the 22nd minute after Cyle Larin found him near the top of the box. Matheson took a couple dribbles and fired the ball right at Rutgers goalkeeper David Greczek, who blocked the bouncing shot from his knees.
Connecticut's defense kept the Scarlet Knights in check for much of the first half, holding their conference foe to just three shots in total. Center backs Sergio Campbell and Michael Mercado steadied the Husky defense, helping to keep the ball away from the defensive third.
Early in the second half, Rutgers had its best chance at a goal at the 48th minute when a nice through ball set up Rutgers forward JP Correa with a good chance. Fortunately for the home team, Correa's shot leaked wide right, ending the scoring threat.
In the 52nd minute, Connecticut almost found the back of the net when freshman midfielder Ethan Decker sent a dangerous cross into the box, though the ball failed to find a Connecticut head and was cleared out to safety by the defense.
UConn had another great look at goal in the 75th minute when Matheson threaded a beautiful through ball to junior midfielder Edir DaGraca on the right wing. DaGraca dribbled into the box and fired a shot that missed just off the right post.
The Scarlet Knights were able to apply more pressure to the Connecticut defense in the second half, putting up eight shots in the period. At the 57th minute, redshirt sophomore Jacob Wagmeister punched out an arcing shot taken by a Rutgers forward into a dangerous area in the box, but UConn senior midfielder George Fochive was able to clear the ball out of danger.
Rutgers almost pulled even in the 84th minute when Scarlet Knights midfielder Erik Sa ripped a shot from 20 yards away towards the left side of the UConn net. The blistering shot was saved by a diving Wagmeister, who finished the game with three saves. With the UConn win, Wagmeister earned his first career victory and shutout. On the night, the Huskies outshot Rutgers 22-11.
The Huskies return to action Saturday, October 12th at Morrone Stadium when they face the Memphis Tigers. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-877-AT-UCONN.