Oct. 17, 2013
STORRS, Conn. - The University of Connecticut women's soccer team required an extra 4:07 of playing time to defeat Cincinnati at Morrone Stadium on Thursday evening. Stephanie Ribeiro (Pawtucket, R.I.) scored her third goal in as many games to give the hosts a dramatic 1-0 victory in the first period of overtime. Tonight's result propels UConn to ten wins on the season (10-6) and improves the Huskies' American Athletic Conference record to 4-2. Cincinnati falls to 7-9-1 overall and drops to 3-3-1 in the American.
The two teams traded possessions in a relatively back-and-forth first half of play. Neither team was able to sustain possessions long in their respective offensive ends. Midway through the first stanza UConn began to control the pace of play and threatened to jump on the board. Rachel Hill (Somersworth, N.H.) played a perfectly placed ball to teammate Jennifer Skogerboe (Leesburg, Va.) at the top of the box. Skogerboe carried the ball in about eight yards and ripped a shot that Cincinnati goalkeeper Natalie Smith made a good diving save to turn aside. Smith stood tall in the first half to keep the game scoreless, earning four saves at the intermission.
Not to be denied, Connecticut poured on the pressure in the second half, outshooting the Bearcats 15-2 in the latter 45 minutes. Despite the UConn dominance, Cincinnati would open the second half with one of the better scoring opportunities of the game up until that point. Danielle Rotheram found herself in tight to the cage and accepted a pass that she spun and fired on goal from seven yards out. Emily Armstrong (Collegeville, Pa.), given little time to react on the shot, made a fantastic diving stop to keep the Bearcats at bay.
Looking to build on her goal from last game, Jennifer Skogerboe continued her impressive offensive play of late with several good chances midway through the second half. Her first chance came on a rocket of a shot that flew just past the outstretched fingertips of a sprawling Smith and careened off of the right goalpost. Only a few moments later Skogerboe set up a give-and-go with Liana Hinds (Hartford, Conn.), receiving the ball back and driving down the right sidelines. The senior delivered a low cross to Rachel Hill, who one-touched a low blast that skirted through the legs of her defender and was just redirected out of play by Natalie Smith. The shot would prove to be the first in a series of quality chances by the freshman, whose back-to-back chances inside the ten yard box with under 13 minutes remaining nearly put the Huskies ahead late in the period.
The Huskies' defense also played a role in the action, jumping into the rush to contribute several close chances. Hinds and Gabrielle Charno (Seaford, N.Y) let loose two blistering shots labeled for the top corners that Smith stymied. With time winding down in the game, UConn maintained the same level of offensive intensity but could not solve a red hot Smith. Still scoreless at the conclusion of 90 minutes, the Huskies required four more minutes for Ribeiro to seal the deal. The sophomore stepped up and released a shot 22 yards out on the right side of the field that sailed over Smith's left shoulder and into the side netting of the cage to win the game for Connecticut.
Natalie Smith made several exceptional stops in the loss, turning aside 11 UConn shots in the contest. Armstrong finished with two key saves on her end of the field to earn her sixth shutout of the season. The Huskies finished with a 22-5 advantage in shots and a 10-4 advantage in corner kicks.
Connecticut will don their home uniforms for one last regular season game at Morrone Stadium on Sunday at 12pm. The Huskies face top conference contender Louisville in an important league matchup. The Senior Day game will recognize Jennifer Skogerboe and Devin Prendergast for their contributions to the squad in a brief pre-game ceremony.