Nov. 3, 2011
STORRS, Conn. - The No. 3 seeded UConn men's soccer team opened the BIG EAST Tournament with a convincing 4-0 victory over No. 6 DePaul. Junior captain Carlos Alvarez notched two goals and an assist and the UConn defense recorded its 14th shutout of the season.
UConn advances to face No. 2 Rutgers in Piscataway, N.J. on Sunday at 1 p.m. The winner of that contest heads to Red Bull Arena for the BIG EAST Semifinals on November 11.
With tonight's shutout, the Huskies are just one shy of tying the program record of 15 clean sheets set by the 2000 National Championship team, led by current staff members Chris Gbandi and Mike Mordocco.
The Huskies came out tonight and dominated all facets of the contest. After dropping a surprising 1-0 decision at Seton Hall on the final game of the regular season, Connecticut scored three goals in a 10-minute stretch beginning in the 27th minute.
"We have that mentality that if we lose, we are out. So tonight, we came out the way we wanted and moved the ball well," said Tony Cascio.
While he didn't get on the scoreboard, Cascio was dangerous throughout the night. UConn's senior All-American was fouled three times on slashing runs, leading to three goals.
Cascio was unlucky on the offensive end as well with a shot being saved on the line by a DePaul defender 25 minutes in.
Cascio created UConn's go-ahead goal, dribbling through the right side of the box before being fouled by a lunging defender. Alvarez stepped up and calmly buried his attempt into the bottom left corner at 26:58
"I wanted that PK," said Alvarez. "It was mine the whole way. No one else was gonna take it. We practice those penalties and I knew I would score."
Alvarez made it two-nil with a perfect free kick at 31:49. Cascio was fouled 20 yards from net on the left side. Alvarez was able to dip the ball over the wall and into the top-left corner for his second of the game and fifth of the season.
The onslaught continued at 37:01 when Stephane Diop finished into the right side netting after a long run from midfield. It was his third of the year.
The Huskies closed out a dominating first half with a 15-1 edge in shots and a 4-0 advantage in corner kicks.
The Huskies continued to pressure with Cascio making several runs at the back line of DePaul. Cascio had a toe poke from six yards saved by DePaul goalkeeper Joe Ferrari minutes after the start of half.
DePaul had its best chance of the night in the 55th minute with David Selvaggi driving a free kick from the top-left corner of the box over the wall and off the cross bar.
UConn made it 4-0 with a set piece at 66:39. After DePaul's Austin Toth was sent off for his second yellow card after fouls on Cascio, Alvarez drove a free kick towards the far post. Diouf headed the ball back across the goal for Andrew Jean-Baptiste to head home for his first goal of the season.
Connecticut put forth its most impressive offensive performance of the season tonight, outshooting its opponent by a 22-shot margin. The Huskies finished with 26 shots compared to just four from the visitors.
The BIG EAST Quarterfinals against Rutgers in Piscataway, N.J. begins at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The game can be heard live at WHUS.org or 91.7 fm.