STORRS, Conn. -- An early second half goal from senior Andrea Plucenik (Brooklyn, Conn.) pushed the No. 18 UConn women's soccer team (12-2-0, 4-1-0) past Cincinnati (8-4-4, 3-2-1) 1-0 on Sunday at Morrone Stadium. The Huskies have not allowed a goal at home since September 6th of this season in their 2-1 win against Harvard. Junior goalkeeper Emily Armstrong (Collegeville, Pa.) recorded five saves for her second shutout of the weekend, marking her sixth shutout this season.
Head Coach Len Tsantiris was honored prior to the game for 35-year milestone coaching UConn women's soccer. Program administrator Neal Eskrin, the team, and a handful of UConn women's soccer alumni presented Coach Tsantiris with a plaque, commemorating his anniversary at center field before the start of the game.
The first half of the match remained scoreless. UConn had a good look seven minutes in off a give and go between Plucenik and junior Rachel Hill (Rollinsford, N.H.). Hill and Plucenik created another opportunity in the 20th minute after Plucenik dumped the ball deep into the box and Hill chased it down, but Cincinnati goaltender, Natalie Smith beat Hill to the ball and secured it.
The Bearcats answered in the 24th minute with a scoring opportunity after Danielle Rotheran passed the ball up to Laura Rose who ran in on a breakaway, but redshirt junior Toriana Patterson (Yorktown Heights, Ga.) made the slide tackle to knock the ball out of bounds. Rotheran had another opportunity for Cincinnati in the 32nd minute where she came out on a fast break, but Armstrong came out and smothered the ball.Both teams went into the break with two shots recorded on net.
Plucenik netted the game-winner in the 51st minute, after she intercepted a pass from Cincinnati's defense, ran the ball into the box and shot it on the ground past Smith into the back left corner of the cage, giving the Huskies the first and final 1-0 lead of the match. This marked Plucenik's third goal of the season, and second game-winner this weekend.
There was a fifteen minute period in the middle of the second half where neither team recorded a shot. Hill and junior Stephanie Ribeiro (Pawtucket, R.I.) tried to get a shot off in the 73rd minute, after Hill fed the ball up in front of Ribeiro, Smith came out of her net and beat her to it. SOphomore Tanya Altrui (Branford, Conn.) broke the dry spell in the 76th minute when she fired the ball towards the net, but skimmed the outside of the netting.
Cincinnati had two big plays in the final ten minutes of the match. The first came in the 83rd minute when Julie Gavorski dinged a shot off the post, but UConn cleared it out. The Bearcats made their final attempt in the 89th minute when was kicked out from the corner to Cassie Wheldon, who was at the top of the box. Wheldon ripped a shot on net dead center, but Armstrong managed to find the ball through lots of traffic and came up with a crucial, diving save in the second top last minute of the game, preserving UConn's 1-0 lead.
Despite outshooting UConn 15-12, Cincinnati could not capitalize against UConn's defense, and UConn walked away with the 1-0 victory. Armstrong made a total of five saves and Cincinnati's Smith recorded a total of four.
The Huskies will hit the road for two games this week. The first on Thursday, Oct. 15 against Memphis at 7 p.m. followed by Tulsa on Sunday, Oct. 18 at 1 p.m.