GREENVILLE, N.C. – The No. 19 UConn women’s soccer team claimed the 2016 American Athletic Conference regular season title Sunday with a 2-1 comeback victory at East Carolina, behind two goals from senior Stephanie Ribeiro (Pawtucket, R.I.).
The regular season champs finish with an almost perfect 8-0-1 conference record and a 16-2-1 overall record at the conclusion of regular season play. East Carolina concludes its season 1-7-1 in American games and 5-12-1 overall.
UConn will make it fourth consecutive American Athletic Conference appearance and fifth consecutive post-season tournament appearance after joining the American for the 2013 season. UConn appeared in the Big East Championship in 2012 and did not earn post season contention in 2011.
Ribeiro continues her national reign with three goals in UConn’s last two matches, leading the country in total points (49), total goals (19) and game-winners (11). She has scored at least one goal in UConn’s last five consecutive games.
Sunday’s win over ECU marks Ribeiro’s 5th multi-goal game of the season, four of which came against conference opponents. It is also her eighth game where she has tallied three or more points.
The Huskies will look to make their third consecutive NCAA appearance. This marks UConn’s second consecutive conference regular season title after going 8-1 in AAC play last season in 2015 to finish at the top of the standings.
East Carolina struck first in the 11th minute when Annah Lindberg scored on ECU’s third shot of the game to take an early 1-0 lead.
The Pirates almost claimed a two-goal lead in the 20th minute after they found the back of the net, but were deemed offsides and the score remained 1-0.
Ribeiro tied it up 1-1 in the 26th minute after she scored her 18th goal of the season off a pass from sophomore Kim Urbanek (Lonnerstadt, Germany).
UConn had three good shots in the remainder of the first half, but neither UConn nor ECU could break the tie heading into the break.
Ribeiro shook things up at the start of the second half after she dinged the ball off the post in the 52nd minute, but scored stayed locked at 1-1.
Senior Rachel Hill (Rollinsford, N.H.) scored for the Huskies immediately after Ribeiro’s shot off the post, but the goal was waved off as Hill was offside.
Senior goalkeeper Emily Armstrong (Collegeville, Pa.) made a series of big plays including a game-changing save in the 71st minute to preserve the 1-1 tie with under 20 minutes to go.
With the clock ticking down and the thought of overtime on everyone’s mind, Ribeiro nabbed her 11th game-winning goal of the season in the 87th minute to give UConn the last minute advantage.
The Huskies will play host to the 2016 American Athletic Conference Championship tournament set to begin with first round games on Wednesday, Nov. 2. Since UConn earned the top seed in the standings, the Huskies will have a bye and automatically advance to the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 4.
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