Oct. 26, 2011
STORRS, Conn. - With the BIG EAST regular season crown on the line, No. 2/5 UConn came away with a commanding 3-0 victory over Marquette tonight at Morrone Stadium. A victory for Marquette would have given the Golden Eagles the regular season title. UConn improves to 14-1-2 (5-1-2 BIG EAST) while Marquette drops to 8-7-2 (6-2-0 BIG EAST).
With tonight's result, UConn can now win the regular season crown with a victory over Seton Hall on Saturday and a loss or tie by Marquette against Pittsburgh that same night.
Connecticut got out early tonight after failing to score in the last two contests. Sophomore Mamadou Doudou Diouf finished with two goals, his ninth and tenth of the season, and an assist. Junior Stephane Diop notched two assists on the night while freshman Allando Matheson notched the game-winning goal. Matheson has four goals this season with each serving as the game-winner.
"This gives us a lot of confidence," said Diouf. "We want to be the hunter. When we play, we want to be the hunter, not the hunted team because we are ranked high. We need to hunt when we play. I don't want to be sitting at home on Thanksgiving. I want to be playing," added UConn's leading scorer.
UConn wasted little time getting on the board, scoring in the ninth minute. Nickardo Blake sent a ball up the line to Mamadou Diouf. Diouf sent a quick low cross that Allando Matheson one-timed past Marquette keeper David Check for his fourth of the season.
The Huskies had another quality chance in the 17th minute with Stephane Diop and Colin Bradley both being denied from inside 12 yards. In a similar play to the opening goal, Carlos Alvarez sent in a low cross from the right side that Diop one-timed towards net. Check made the initial save and stoned Colin Bradley from 12 yards out on the rebound.
"We knew we had to win our last two games. This was pretty much a playoff game for us. We came out and were more focused tonight to get the "W". We did a better job of getting ahead early," said Stephane Diop.
Diouf added, "When we get ahead early like that, it opens up the game. With space on the field, I don't think anyone can beat us. They can't play with us when the game is open."
Diouf doubled the lead with a perfectly-executed header from the right side in the 20th minute. Matheson collected the ball on the left side of the box and dropped a pass to Diop. Diop's cross bent away from the keeper as Diouf rose above the defender for a thundering header for his ninth goal of the season.
Marquette's best opportunity of the opening half came with a well-paced through ball from Adam Lysak from 40 yards out in the 32nd minute. MU's Amilcar Herrera lifted the shot from 15 yards out over the charging Andre Blake and over the net.
Diouf looked to be clear for his second of the game in the 41st minute but was taken down by the Marquette goalkeeper a yard outside the box, earning Check a yellow card. Diouf took the free kick from the top-right corner and went over the bar by a foot.
Diouf almost made it 3-0 with just 18 seconds remaining. After a long bending ball from Alvarez in the center circle, Diouf made a move to lose his defender and draw the keeper off his line. Diouf went on to shoot towards the far post but was denied by Check, sprawling to make the save.
Connecticut ended the first half with a 10-5 edge in shots. Marquette was ahead in corner kicks, 5-3.
Diouf continued to shine in the second half, notching his second of the game in the 55th minute. Stephane Diop collected the ball on the left side line five yards from half and sent a long ball over the top of the defense. Diouf outraced a pair of Marquette defenders and finished with a shot between the keeper's legs.
Nickardo Blake kept UConn in line for its NCAA-leading 13th shutout with a great individual effort in front of goal. Marquette's Amilcar Herrera ripped a shot from seven yards out only to have Blake slide across the line and deflect the ball off his head and into the post.
Andre Blake finished with five saves as UConn outshot Marquette on the night, 17-14.
UConn closes out the regular season at Seton Hall on Saturday in South Orange, N.J. at 7 p.m. With a victory and a loss or tie by Marquette against Pittsburgh, the Huskies will win the BIG EAST Blue Division regular season crown outright.