Nov. 4, 2012
STORRS, Conn. -The University of Connecticut men's soccer team defeated Villanova in the BIG EAST Quarterfinals in Storrs on Sunday, 1-0. UConn advances to face Notre Dame in the BIG EAST Semifinal at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. on Friday, November 9 at 7:30 p.m. The game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network. For ticket information, please call 1-877-RBSOCCER or CLICK HERE to purchase tickets online.
With the victory, Connecticut improves 15-2-1 while Villanova drops to 12-6-2.
The BIG EAST Semifinals will be an all Blue Division affair as Marquette faces Georgetown in the other semifinal. The championship is set for Noon on Sunday, also to be televised on CBS Sports Network. Connecticut is searching for its eighth BIG EAST Tournament Title, and the first since 2007. UConn fell in the championship in 2011 to St. John's in overtime, 1-0.
"This was just like an NCAA Tournament game," said Head Coach Ray Reid. "It was an elimination game for Villanova, they are a scrappy group too. These are games that really help us going forward."
UConn's preseason All-Americans combined for the first goal as Mamadou Doudou Diouf scored the game-winner, assisted by Carlos Alvarez, at 39:24. Andre Blakedidn't need to make a save but dominated on crosses into the box from the flanks.
"Our big time guys - Carlos, Andre, Mamadou - They really showed up today," said Reid. "We are going to have a few more games here and they'll have to rise up. They are warriors for us."
Diouf was the most dangerous player on the field throughout the match and finished with seven shots, three on frame. Villanova keeper John Fogarty finished with five saves.
"Every time I play, I feel confidence," said Diouf. "Every time, I know we will score. I don't worry about any back on the other team. I know we will score."
Diouf buried the game-winning goal, his fifth game-winning tally and 13th overall, into the right corner after an excellent pass from Alvarez at the top of the box that split two defenders.
"I saw the defense dropping and I said, attack, attack, attack," said Alvarez. "I gave him the ball and he did his job. He's a finisher."
Diouf nearly opened the scoring in the 30th minute, weaving through traffic and firing a toe-poke from the right side of the box towards the far post. Fogarty stopped the initial shot and smothered the rebound.
The game was open in the midfield and Villanova had an excellent chance in the 37th minute. Villanova countered with Dylan Renna finding Kyle Soroka making a 60 yard run from box to box. Soroka's first touch was just far enough for Blake to charge and smother away the danger.
The Huskies avoided the tying goal in the 65th minute when Blake finally grasped a loose ball during a scramble on the right side of the box. Villanova's Dylan Renna had two attempts at shots but neither made it towards goal as Blake and Renna scrambled for a loose ball.
Sean Weirnearly added an insurance tally for Connecticut at 75:30 but failed to connect on his shot attempt from inside the six after a pass from Diouf. Weir had a second opportunity but hit it directly at Fogarty.
Diouf looked to have his second of the night at 79:25 when he finished a rebound off an Alvarez shot but the referee ruled Diouf offside, keeping the score at 1-0.
The shutout was Blake's 10th of the season.
"It's not just Blake," said Alvarez. "You need to give credit to the defense too. It's all 11 of us out there. We do our job in the field and we know he'll do his job. He works hard in practice every day, so we know he'll do his job."