STORRS, Conn. – The No. 24 UConn men’s soccer program completed exhibition play on Saturday night at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium, falling 4-1 to N.C. State on a beautiful summer night on the UConn campus.
Sophomore Niko Petridis scored in the 43rd minute for the Huskies, finishing a shot to the far post past N.C. State goalkeeper Leon Krapf off a pass from junior captain Abdou Mbacke Thiam – making it 1-0 UConn.
Redshirt senior Scott Levene made six saves for the Huskies, while Krapf made four saves for the Wolfpack. Levene played the first 76 minutes for UConn, before junior transfer Austin Aviza entered the game.
UConn fired eight shots in the game, with five on goal – including a laser from senior Alex Kao from beyond the 18-yard line that was saved midway through the second half. The Huskies held a sizable 8-1 edge in corner kicks throughout the match.
In the second half, the Huskies played several reserves – including freshmen Nicolas Apostol and Austin DaSilva. The Wolfpack scored just one goal on Levene, before adding three more within a 10-minute stretch.
With starters playing, the Huskies dominated for the majority of the first half, holding a 4-0 advantage in corner kicks over the Wolfpack. It was Petridis’ goal in the 43rd minute off a beautiful pass from Thiam that gave UConn a 1-0 edge at the half.
Had it not been for Levene’s agility between the posts, the Huskies might not have led at the intermission. In the 20th minute, the UConn goalkeeper made an amazing diving snag on a shot by N.C. State’s David Loera, keeping the game scoreless.
Earlier in the half, the UConn offensive attack had multiple opportunities to take an early lead, as Petridis crossed the ball in to Thiam in the second minute, who had a perfect header – but it was saved by Wolfpack goalkeeper Leon Krapf at the crossbar.
Later in the half, Petridis hit a rocket at Krapf, who made a diving stop to once again deny the sophomore midfielder. UConn’s All-Rookie midfielder had his revenge before halftime, however, with his goal.
UConn had a 5-3 shots advantage in the first 45 minutes, with the help of three shots on goal from Petridis. Thiam recorded his first assist of the preseason.
No. 24 UConn begins the 2017 campaign when it hosts Iona in the season-opener on Friday night at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. (ET).