STORRS, CONN. – Five UConn men’s soccer players registered goals, as the Huskies advanced to the American Athletic Semifinals with a 5-0 win over Temple Saturday night at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium. Connecticut, which improved to 10-6-2 overall on the season, clinched a spot in the conference semifinals for the fifth straight season with the win.
Senior captain Adria Beso Marco (Lleida, Spain) tallied a season-high two assists, while junior backup goalkeeper Christopher Musco (North Haven, Conn.) put an exclamation point on the match, scoring his first career goal in the 89th minute. The five goals, a season-high for UConn, marked the second straight year that Connecticut totaled five scores in the quarterfinals.
The Huskies, who have won six straight and eight of their last 10 matches, will face USF Friday at home at 8 p.m. with a bid to the conference championship on the line. The Bulls defeated Memphis, 4-2, on Saturday.
UConn sophomore forward Kwame Awuah (Toronto, Ontario) opened up the scoring in the 18th minute for the Huskies in gorgeous fashion, cutting through multiple Temple defenders on his way inside the box. With no more defenders in front of him, the Connecticut midfielder calmly chipped the ball into the left corner of the net past Temple keeper Bobby Rosato. The goal was Awuah’s second of the season and his third career score for the Huskies.
Forward Cyle Larin (Brampton, Ontario) doubled UConn’s lead in the 39th minute following a savvy free kick from senior midfielder Beso Marco. The Owls were given a foul after a Temple defender took down sophomore right back Jakob Nerwinski (Lawrenceville, N.J.) just outside the box, and Beso Marco wasted no time with the set piece, sending in a beautiful cross that connected with Larin. The Connecticut forward used his head to send in his team-leading ninth goal of the season and push the UConn lead to two.
Beso Marco set up Connecticut’s third goal of the night in the 68th minute when he slipped a beautiful through volley to sophomore forward Ethan Vanacore-Decker (Manahawkin, N.J.), who charged into the box and chipped in his sixth goal of the season to make it 3-0. Awuah was also credited with an assist, as he finished the match with a career-high three points.
Senior midfielder Edir DaGraca (Sao Nicolau, Cape Verde Islands) extended the Huskies’ advantage to four when he headed in his first goal of the season off a cross from the right side by Nerwinski. DaGraca timed his jump perfectly, sending the ball past Rosato and into the left side of the net.
Musco’s goal came off a breakaway in the final minute of the game that left the keeper all alone with Rosato, who came off his line. The Connecticut junior was able to avoid the Temple keeper just enough, and his shot trickled into the left corner of the net.
Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Scott Levene (Stamford, Conn.) recorded four saves to earn his seventh shutout on the season and improve his record to 8-1-1 on the year. UConn’s semifinal match against the Bulls will be broadcasted live by the American Digital Network. The Huskies split games against USF this season, winning (1-0) last Saturday (Nov. 1) and losing (1-0 OT) in their conference opener back on Sept. 27.
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