TAMPA, Fla. — The No. 20 UConn women’s soccer team (8-2-0, 0-1-0) fell short of No. 24 USF (8-1-1, 1-0-0) in its 1-0 loss in the conference opener on Thursday thanks to a late second half goal from USF senior Jackie Simpson.
A scoreless first half was dragged out due to a 30 minute lightning delay that was called in the 30th minute. UConn put up six shots on goal in the first half, five of them before the delay. Senior Samantha McGuire (Fishkill, N.Y.) and junior Stephanie Ribeiro (Pawtucket, R.I.) both recorded two shots on target for the Huskies. Redshirt senior Megan Hunsberger (Bethlehem, Pa.) got a piece of the ball off of a UConn corner, but she headed it just over the net.
A couple bolts of lightning were spotted with 15 minutes remaining in the first half, and the game was temporarily delayed. After a brief ten minute warm-up, the players took to the pitch again to finish out the remaining minutes in the first half. USF came up with a dangerous scoring opportunity five minutes after play resumed, when Carlotta Fennefoss crossed it in front of the UConn goal where Brittany Raymond was waiting to tap in the back door but it hit off the post.
Redshirt Junior Toriana Patterson (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) answered for UConn in the 44th minute with a header off Ribeiro’s corner that looked like it might find the back of the net, but USF goalkeeper Kat Elliot pulled out a save for the Bulls.
Junior Rachel Hill (Rollinsford, N.H.) opening with the first scoring chance of the second half in the 55th minute, but Elliot made the save. USF answered with two shots from Leticia Skeete and Grace Adams, but junior goalkeeper Emily Armstrong (Collegeville, Pa.) kept it out.
USF struck in the 79th minute when Simpson ran down the left side of the field and booted the ball over Armstrong into the top right side of the net, giving the Bulls a late 1-0 lead with just over ten minutes remaining in the match. UConn strived to knock in an equalizer, but both shots from Ribeiro and junior Maddie Damm (New Kingsford, R.I.) sailed just over the net.
The Bulls outshot the Huskies 17-15, but UConn registered more shots on goal with eight compared to USF’s six. Armstrong recorded five saves for UConn, bringing her total to 36 saves this season. Elliot saved all eight shots on goal for her sixth shutout this season.
UConn will remain in Florida but will travel to Orlando to take on conference opponent UCF on Sunday, Sept. 27 at 1 p.m. at UCF Soccer Complex.