STORRS, Conn. - Rachel Hill scored her 15th goal of the season and the four-seed UConn women's soccer team recorded its third consecutive shutout in a 1-0 victory over five-seed Tulsa in the American Athletic Conference Championship Quarterfinals on Sunday afternoon at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium. The win moves the Huskies to 12-4-4 on the season and advances them to the conference tournament semifinals next weekend in Tampa, while the Golden Hurricane drop to 11-8-2 on the year.
The goal for Hill (Rollinsford, N.H.) came in the 55th minute of a match that saw UConn hold a 23-4 edge in total shots and a 12-1 advantage in shots on goal. Riley Houle (Columbia, Conn.) assisted on the lone goal and fired four shots of her own, while Julie Hubbard (Waverly, Pa.) took aim four times, putting each attempt on goal. Christina Holmes registered three of Tulsa's shots, including its only shot on goal of the match.
Allison Saucier (Rocky Hill, Conn.) got the start in goal for Connecticut and did not see a shot on goal, while Emily Armstrong (Collegeville, Pa.) made one save playing in the second half to improve her record to 5-2-2 on the year. For Tulsa, Courtney McKeon was terrific and made 11 saves to keep the match close. The shutout for UConn is its third consecutive and eighth of the season, most since recording nine in 2010. The Huskies have not allowed a goal in their last 325:13 minutes of game action.
After a quiet first 10 minutes in which the two sides combined for only one shot, Megan Hunsberger (Bethlehem, Pa.) generated UConn's first chance in the 12th minute after a long run up the right flank before a shot that went wide. Samantha McGuire (Fishkill, N.Y.) and Houle connected beautifully in the box for a McGuire shot from point-blank range that McKeon leaped to turn aside in the 15th minute.
Despite an 8-1 advantage in shots for the Huskies in the opening frame, the match went to halftime with no score. Holmes made a strong bid for Tulsa in the 50th minute, but her shot went wide.
The Huskies finally broke through in the 55th minute to take a 1-0 lead. Houle forced a turnover deep in the Tulsa end, and alertly slid a pass to Hill in the box. The sophomore star took the feed seven yards from goal and rocketed a shot into the top right corner of the cage to put UConn on top.
Playing in front of its lead, UConn kept the pressure up throughout the second half. Hubbard had looks saved in the 63rd, 69th and 72nd minutes, before Liana Hinds (Hartford, Conn.) made a tremendous run into the box for a shot over the cage in the 77th. Hill and Houle were inches from connecting againin the 88th minute, but McKeon tipped away a Hill shot from four yards out to keep it a one-goal game.
Tulsa attempted to up its pressure in the final minutes, but UConn dominated possession throughout a second half that saw it hold a 15-3 shot advantage and seal the victory.
The Huskies next head to the American Athletic Conference Championship Semifinals in Tampa, where fourth-seeded UConn will face top-seeded UCF on Friday, Nov. 7. Kick-off from USF's Corbett Soccer Stadium will either be at 5 p.m. or 7:30 p.m.
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