Dec. 4, 2011
STORRS, Conn. - With a bid to the College Cup on the line, the UConn men's soccer team fell in penalty kicks to Charlotte, 4-2, after a 1-1 tie in double overtime in front of a sell-out crowd of 5,100 fans.
UConn ended its season with a 19-3-3 record while Charlotte advanced to face Creighton in the national semifinal.
The Huskies went ahead, 1-0, and squandered the advantage for the first time this season. UConn was 17-0-0 when scoring first heading into today's contest.
"We had the game won, it's unconscionable that we're home, up a goal with eight minutes to go, and we blow it. Honestly, in a game like this, our top players have got to play better," said UConn Head Coach Ray Reid following the match.
With the game tied after 110 minutes a shootout was set to determine who would advance to Hoover, Ala. for the College Cup.
Charlotte's Tyler Gibson scored the first shot but UConn sophomores Mamadou Doudou Diouf and Michael Mercado both missed their attempts. Connecticut goalkeeper Andre Blake made a save on Charlotte's second shooter, but the 49ers were perfect with their next three shots to take the shootout, 4-2.
Today's result marks the third straight season that Connecticut has ended with penalty kicks, falling to Brown and Monmouth in 2010 and 2009, respectively.
Senior All-American Tony Cascio scored the go-ahead goal in his final game in the UConn blue and white with a tremendous volley from 18 yards out at 81:13.
The lead wouldn't last long, however, as Atlantic-10 Rookie of the Year Giuseppe Gentile stretched out in the box to slide home the equalizer at 84:34. Aaron Weldon sent a free kick towards the far post. Tyler Gibson headed the ball back towards the six-yard box where Gentile knocked in his 10th goal of the season.
Both teams had spells of possession throughout the contest. Charlotte played the aggressor throughout, tallying 21 fouls and three yellow cards on the day.
Tony Cascio generated UConn's first quality chance of the opening half 7:40 into the contest. Cascio took a pass on the left side of the box from Stephane Diop at the left sideline. Cascio faked a shot and created space but pulled his attempt wide of the left post.
The 49ers' best chance of the half came off a blast from Evan James from 30 yards out. The ball found its way to James on the right side. The Charlotte midfielder ripped a shot destined for the top-left corner but Blake dove to his right to tip the ball away for a corner kick at 37:40.
Cascio was dangerous again with just two minutes remaining in the half, creating the best opportunity for either team. The senior forward picked up a stray pass 15 yards into the Charlotte half and beat a defender at the top of the box before lifting a shot off the far right post.
UCOnn ended the half with a 3-2 edge in shots and a 2-1 advantage in corner kicks.
Charlotte had a header in the 60th minute by Thomas Allen off a free kick on the right end line forcing a save out of Blake.
Freshman Allando Matheson came on as a substitute and had a quality chance with 12 minutes remaining but a Charlotte defender dove to block the attempt.
Both teams struggled to generate chances in the overtime sessions, leading to the penalty kick shootout.
Charlotte advanced to the College Cup in Hoover, Ala. to face Creighton, 1-0 overtime winners over USF.