STORRS, Conn. – A goal from senior Samantha McGuire in the 89th minute lifted the No. 11 UConn women’s soccer team (15-2, 7-1) past Houston (4-12, 0-8) Thursday. This marked McGuire’s third game-winning goal in three games and sixth goal of the season.
Junior Stephanie Ribeiro (Pawtucket, R.I.) got a shot off 27 seconds into the match with a bicycle kick style shot that went up over the top of the bar.
Houston came dangerously close to scoring in the 7th minute, after Lexa Green shot on a virtually open net and the ball trickled just inches past the right post.
UConn answered with its own chance in the 12th minute as Ribeiro headed the ball over Houston’s defense where Hill picked it up on a breakaway, but was taken down from behind. Houston was called for a foul and UConn was awarded a free kick, but it was blocked away by Houston’s defenders.
The Huskies had another good chance in the 28th minute when senior Andrea Plucenik (Brooklyn, Conn.) crossed it tight in front of the goal where junior Rachel Hill (Rollinsford, N.H.) was waiting with a wide open net, but she couldn’t get a foot on it.
There was a scare in the 38th minute in front of the UConn cage after junior goalkeeper Emily Armstrong (Collegeville, Pa.) realized she was out of the box and could get called for a handball with two Houston forwards right on top of her.
Armstrong was forced to play the ball backwards towards the open goal where freshman Liane Keegans (Ridgefield, Conn.), junior Toriana Patterson (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) and sophomore Sabrina Toole (Westport, Conn.) worked together to clear the ball out of the zone and away from the net.
McGuire almost got on the board in the 41st minute after she played the ball up towards the net and it skimmed over the cross bar. UConn and Houston went into the break tied at 0-0.
UConn came out with two good scoring chances early in the second half. McGuire fired a bullet on net in the 54th minute off a free kick from Ribeiro, but it was saved by Houston goaltender Jordan Brown. Freshman Kim Urbanek (Lonnerstadt, Germany) registered another for the Huskies two minutes later that hit off the crossbar, but the score remained knotted at zero.
Between the 56th and the 80th minute, UConn put up four shots, compared to Houston’s one, but neither had any close calls. UConn took a false lead in the 82nd minute after Hill put one in the back of the net, but was called for offsides and her goal did not count.
With the thought of overtime on everyone’s mind, Houston was called for a foul and UConn was awarded a free kick with just over a minute on the clock. Freshman Heidi Druehl (Stamford, Conn.) lined up to take the free kick on the right hand side of the field, with her teammates stationed in a line by the back post.
Druehl placed it perfectly up towards the back corner of the box and McGuire headed it home, giving UConn a 1-0 lead with 59 seconds left in the match. This marked Druehl’s first career point with UConn.
Armstrong recorded one save for her seventh shutout of the season and the team’s eighth shutout this season. Green recorded four saves for the Cougars. UConn remains undefeated 8-0 at home this season.
The Huskies will host SMU on Sunday, Oct. 25 at 12 p.m. for senior day. UConn will honor its seniors with a ceremony prior to the match.
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