Nov. 2, 2013
STORRS, Conn. - The No. 20 University of Connecticut wrapped up regular season play with a 1-0 victory over SMU at Westcott Field in Dallas, Texas behind the fourth game-winner of the year by freshman phenom Cyle Larin. Connecticut (9-2-5, 4-0-4) finishes the regular season on an 11 match unbeaten streak and heads into the American Athletic Conference Tournament as the only team without a loss in conference play. SMU drops to 3-11-2 (2-4-2 The American) and finishes the year with eight points in conference play.
The Huskies jumped on the board less than three minutes into the game when Larin knocked home his team-leading eighth goal of the season, taking a through ball from Mamadou Diouf and charging into the box from the right wing before depositing the ball into the back of the net at the 2:50 mark. With the score, the three-time Rookie of the Week has now scored in five of the past six matches. Diouf's assist gives the senior 75 career points as a Husky, ranking him 16th in program history.
Connecticut improves to 9-0-2 when scoring first and 7-0-1 when leading at halftime. The Huskies have now defeated the Mustangs in four of their five all-time meetings.
Less than a minute after the Huskies took a 1-0 lead, Adria Beso played another through ball for sophomore Nicholas Zuniga, but the Mustang keeper rushed the ball and was able to cover it up before the Husky forward could get a foot on it.
At 10:50, senior George Fochive stole a pass near midfield and headed toward the SMU defensive third with a 4-on-2 opportunity, but a long pass was broken up before the Huskies could get into the box.
Junior goalkeeper Andre Blake was busy during the first half, making one save and thwarting two corner opportunities by SMU. With just shy of 20 minutes gone by in the first half, Blake was able to stop a dangerous cross by midfielder Eddie Puskarich with a two-handed punch out.
SMU had good chance early in the second half at 48:36 when Alfred Koroma blasted a shot from 40 yards out that soared two yards over the middle of the crossbar.
In the 65th minute, Sergio Campbell was able to get a head on a cross in the box, but his shot had too much arc on it as it clanged off the crossbar and was cleared by the Mustang outside back.
At 71:08, Allando Matheson trapped the ball with his chest, turned and fired a left-footed shot high of the crossbar.
The Mustangs had two good chances late in the match, starting in the 80th minute when SMU midfielder Andrew Morales fired a shot from 20 yards out towards the left side of the goal, though his strike was saved by Blake. A minute later, Puskarich was all alone with a great look at goal before Blake charged forward and took the ball away, preserving the Husky lead.
Blake recorded his third straight shutout and seventh of 2013, finishing two saves and stopping five SMU corner attempts. His counterpart, Jaime Ibarra, finished with two saves and allowed the game-winner to Larin.
With the victory, Connecticut moves into a tie for first place in The American with 16 points. No. 1 seed Louisville plays USF tomorrow at 2 p.m. to determine the final conference standings.
The Huskies are back in action this Saturday, November 9th when they host an American Athletic Quarterfinal match at 5 p.m. at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium. Connecticut's opponent will be determined tomorrow after the final conference game is play. Ticket information can be obtained by calling 1-877-AT-UCONN.