Oct. 28, 2010
STORRS, Conn. - The UConn women's soccer team hosted the BIG EAST Tournament First Round and dominated Louisville, 3-0, today at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium. Junior Jessica Shufelt (Rochester, N.Y.) put home the game winner in the 36th minute while junior goalkeeper Jessica Dulski (Pittsford, N.Y.) was only called into action three times to earn her fourth shutout of the year. The No. 4-seeded Huskies (9-8-3) will now travel to face No. 1 Notre Dame on Sunday, October 31 at 1 p.m.
UConn dominated all facets of the game today in the 3-0 victory over No. 5-seeded Louisville (10-9). The Huskies outshot UL, 26-5, while holding the edge in shots on goal (9-3) and corners (5-1). Connecticut held possession for the majority of the game. Louisville connected two passes in the UConn half for the first time 21 minutes into the contest. The UConn defense didn't allow a Cardinal shot until the 42nd minute.
Connecticut came out strong, right from the opening whistle. The Huskies continually found space on the left flank, sending crosses into the Louisville box. Graduate student Angelika Johansson (Falkenberg, Sweden) had a pair of shots in the opening 10 minutes but had her first attempt from the top of the box saved by UL goalkeeper Taylor Vancil before sending her second shot over the crossbar.
Johansson nearly took the lead in the 24th minute when senior Erin Clark (Somers, Conn.) beat a defender at the top of the box before touching a pass to Johansson 16 yards out. Johansson didn't make clean contact with the ball and it was saved by Vancil.
UConn continually pressured the Louisville backline and midfield as senior midfielder Becky Gundling (Farmington, Conn.) and sophomore Danielle Dakin (Wilbraham, Mass.) forced UL turnovers in the midfield throughout the game, successfully creating counterattacks for the offense.
The continuous pressure paid off as the Huskies jumped on top with a perfectly placed shot from Shufelt at 35:07. Senior captain Kacey Richards (Williamstown, N.J.) sent a long ball over the top to a streaking Shufelt down the right sideline. Shufelt took a touch into the box and buried her shot into the left side-netting. The goal was her sixth of the season and first since netting a pair in a 3-2 victory over Penn State on September 5 during her four-goal weekend that led to her being named BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week. The assist was Richards' third of the year.
It looked like the two teams would held into the half with a 1-0 score in favor of the Huskies until senior Elise Fugowski (Stockholm, N.J.) put home her third goal of the season with only four seconds remaining. Meghan Cunningham (Simsbury, Conn.) sent a pass from the right side to Fugowski at the top of the box. Fugowski took one touch and sent in a hard, low shot that bounced off Vancil's hands and trickled into the lower-left side.
The Huskies went into the half with a 2-0 lead while holding a commanding edge in shots, 10-1.
Connecticut nearly made it 3-0 just 15 seconds in when Clark stole the ball 10 yards past midfield and maneuvered past a pair of Louisville defenders. Her shot from inside the box, destined for the far post, was saved by Vancil to keep the score at 2-0 in favor of the Huskies.
Connecticut continued to pepper the Louisville keeper but wouldn't seal the deal until the 87th minute when freshman Devin Prendergast (Babylon, N.Y.) blasted a loose ball in the box into the lower right corner for her second goal of the season.
With the victory, the Huskies advance to the BIG EAST Quarterfinals against top-seeded Notre Dame. That game will take place at 1 p.m. in South Bend, Ind. on Sunday, October 31. UConn also remains in contention for an NCAA Tournament berth. The game against Notre Dame will have a free live webcast available through the Notre Dame website (www.und.com).