STORRS, Conn. - University of Connecticut sophomores Jakob Nerwinski (Lawrenceville, N.J.) and Cyle Larin (Brampton, Ontario) each tallied a second half goal to push the UConn men's soccer team to a 2-1 win over No. 24 SMU Saturday night on Senior Night at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium. The win, which came in front of a crowd of 3,643, kept the Huskies (7-6-2, 5-1-1 American Athletic) atop the league standings with one more conference match to play. The Mustangs fell to 8-5-2 overall and 3-2-2 in conference play.
Larin's game-winner in the 70th minute was set up by a gorgeous pass from sophomore midfielder Kwame Awuah (Toronto, Ontario), who sent the ball in from the far left side. Larin gathered the ball before creating some space and firing a shot into the bottom right corner of the net past SMU goalkeeper Michael Nelson.
Nerwinski leveled the match at one less than six minutes into the second half, as he notched his second goal of the year out of the break. The UConn defender found himself in space and charged into the box from the right side before rifling a shot into the top left corner of the net. Larin now leads the Huskies with eight goals this season, while Nerwinski has recorded a career-high six points in 2014.
The Mustangs broke through in their first scoring opportunity of the game in the 22nd minute. SMU midfielder Damian Rosales created the scoring chance, maneuvering past two Connecticut defenders and crossing the ball to midfielder Benjamin Joseph. Joseph calmly received the pass at the top of the box and sent the ball into the top left corner of the net past UConn redshirt freshman goalkeeper Scott Levene (Stamford, Conn.).
The Huskies produced the majority of scoring chances in the first half, outshooting the Mustangs, 10-3, in the opening period. Connecticut nearly broke through in the 35th minute when Nerwinski slipped the ball to redshirt junior forward Tyler Leeman (Oakdale, Conn.) near the top right corner of the box. Leeman gathered the ball and spun away from an SMU defender before firing a shot that was saved by Mustang goalkeeper Michael Nelson.
The seven senior Connecticut players and head coach Ray Reid were honored prior to the match. Reid was recognized for his 400th win, which he earned on Wednesday against Temple.
"I was happy to get the win tonight for the seniors, but we still have more to do this year," said Reid.
With South Florida's 2-1 loss to Memphis on Saturday, the Huskies now sit all alone atop the conference standings. UConn returns to action Tuesday when it concludes its non-conference schedule against Yale in a match set to kick off at 7 p.m.