American Athletic Conference Tournament Bracket
DALLAS, Texas – Redshirt senior goalkeeper Scott Levene made five saves in a strong performance on Saturday night, but the UConn men’s soccer team dropped a 1-0 decision in the regular-season finale to No. 13 SMU at Westcott Field.
With the victory, SMU won the 2017 American Athletic Conference regular season title and will host the AAC Tournament next weekend on Nov. 10 (semifinals) and Nov. 12 (final).
The Huskies (8-7-2, 4-3-0 American) will enter the tournament as the No. 3 seed and face No. 2 UCF on Friday at 5:30 p.m. (ET), while No. 1 SMU will play No. 4 Temple at 8 p.m. (ET).
Saturday’s contest was tight all the way through, with both teams exchanging scoring chances. It wasn’t until the 78th minute that SMU leading scorer Garrett McLaughlin capitalized on a long pass, nudging it just out of Levene’s reach and past the goal line.
— American MSoccer (@American_MSoc) November 5, 2017
Late in the game, the Huskies had several chances – including a corner kick from sophomore Niko Petridis in the final minute that found the head of redshirt sophomore Nkosi Burgess, but SMU goalie Michael Nelson made one of his two saves on the night.
UConn had a 4-3 edge in corner kicks, but was outshot in the contest, 13-7. A total of 21 fouls were called in the game and a pair of yellow cards were given to freshmen Josh Burnett and Austin DaSilva.
In the 79th minute, DaSilva had a good look for the equalizer off a pass from Petridis in the box, but his shot sailed just over the crossbar. Still deadlocked at 0-0 in the 63rd minute, Petridis ripped a shot on net, which Nelson saved with a diving effort.
Early in the second half, each team had a free kick from just outside the opposing team’s penalty area – including junior Abdou Mbacke Thiam in the 48th minute. His pass to the far side of the box was headed by Burnett, but pushed wide right of the net.
UConn’s defense was firm in the first 45 minutes, fending-off three corner kicks by the Mustangs, with Levene making three saves. The Huskies recorded a pair of shots in the first half.
The Huskies return to Westcott Field later this week for the start of the tournament. Friday’s semifinal matches will be broadcast on the American Digital Network, while Sunday’s championship game will be on ESPNU.