– On Breast Cancer Awareness Day in Morgantown, the University of Connecticut women’s soccer team finished in a 0-0- tie with the 15th
ranked West Virginia Mountaineers. The Huskies had a tough first half in which they were unable to take a shot but thanks in part to some strong defense in the backfield, UConn was able to hang in and end the game 0-0 and recording a 1-0-1 record on the weekend.
West Virginia (8-2-5, 3-1-3 BIG EAST) put the pressure on the UConn (4-7-4, 2-2-3 BIG EAST) defense in the first half, but sophomores Meghan Cunningham (Simsbury, Conn.), and Sarah Stanczyk (Grosse Pointe, Mich.), redshirt freshman Courtney Wilkinson-Maitland (Candiac, Quebec) and freshman Karen Gurnon (Tolland, Conn.) made some amazing defensive stops to keep the Mountaineers off the board.
The Mountaineers fired off 10 shots and had many more attempts at a goal but the strong defense of the Huskies kept the score 0-0 at halftime. The UConn offense usually strong, was not apparent during the first half for the Huskies as they were unable to manage a shot during the first half, the first time this has happened this season.
The second half began very similar to the first with West Virginia putting the pressure right on, but once again the defense stepped up for UConn. Some strong defense by Gurnon disallowed the West Virginia strikers to get a good angle on the goal ending in some turnovers for the Mountaineers.
The play was a little more even in the second half as the Huskies took back some of the control of the ball. UConn’s first shot of the game came just a minute into the second half during the 47th minute of play when sophomore Cory Bildstein (Stockton, N.J.) took a shot on goal that was saved by West Virginia goalie Kerri Butler.
A brilliant save by senior goalie Stephanie Labbe (Stony Plain, Alberta) kept the game at a 0-0 tie during the 68th minute of the game. After a high header by Wilkinson-Maitland the ball came down right in front of the goal with a change for Mountaineer Deana Everett to score an easy goal. But Labbe came out and threw herself on the ball to stop the would-be goal and keep UConn and West Virginia in a 0-0 tie.
The Mountaineers controlled all of the corner kicks during the game as well. West Virginia had 11 corner kicks compared to UConn’s 0. A few of the times it looked as though West Virginia had a chance to score on the corner, but Labbe stopped the attempts by knocking the ball out of the line of fire and allowing her teammates to clear the ball out of the box.
During the final minutes of play in regulation, UConn had their best attempt at a goal. Freshman Jessica Shufelt (Rochester, N.Y.) sent a great cross to senior Elizabeth Eng (Chicago, Ill.) who took a shot to the top of the goal but it was snared by Butler. Without a goal scored by either team, the score remained 0-0 going into the first overtime of the game.
UConn entered the first overtime period having only taken four shots during regulation. That is the least amount of shots that UConn has taken during regulation this year. The previous low was during the Florida State game on August 31 when the Huskies took only five shots
It looked as though West Virginia might take the win with only three minutes remaining in the game, but a diving stop by Labbe turned a would be goal into a corner kick. On that corner kick, the Mountaineers looked again to have the win but for the second time during the game, the shot hit the post and bounced back out into play.
Thanks to Labbe’s eight saves on the day, the Huskies hung on to a 0-0 tie to finish the weekend with a 1-0-1 record.
The team is back in action next Friday, October 17 home at Joseph J. Morrone for the first time in three weekends. The Huskies will be taking on DePaul at 7:00 p.m.
GOALS BY PERIOD 1st 2nd Total
West Virginia 0 0 0
UConn 0 0 0
SAVES: Connecticut 8, West Virginia 2
SHOTS: Connecticut 4, West Virginia 25