STORRS, Conn. - The No. 1 seeded UConn women's soccer team advanced to the 2016 American Athletic Conference championship game after defeating the No. 4 seed USF 2-0 Friday in the semifinals at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium.
The Huskies will meet SMU in the championship game Sunday after the Mustangs defeated No. 2 seeded Memphis with a goal from Claire Oates in the 85th minute. UConn tied SMU 0-0 in the regular season, which was the only conference match where UConn did not record a win.
- Senior Stephanie Ribeiro (Pawtucket, R.I.) scored her 20th goal of the season, which puts her just four goals away from the program's single season high. She reclaims the No. 1 spot in the nation in total goals with 20 and now leads the country in three statistical catagories: total goals (20), total points (52) and game-winning goals (11).
- Senior Rachel Hill (Rollinsford, N.H.) scored her 14th goal of the season. She is currently second in the program record book with 59 goals. She is just four goals away from tying the record holder, Moira Buckley with 63 career goals.
- Senior Emily Armstrong (Collegeville, Pa.) tallied her 10th shutout of the season, which is a career-best for solo shutouts. Armstrong contributed to 10 shutouts last season, eight of which were solo shutouts and two were assisted.
- In their four seasons in the American Athletic Conference, the Huskies have made a postseason tournament appearance all four years, including an AAC Championship (2014) and two regular season titles (2015, 2016). UConn will look for its second American Athletic Conference Championship title Sunday.
The majority of the first half remained scoreless. Shots were near even at the beginning with UConn outshooting USF 2-1 in the first ten minutes. However, the Huskies ran away with the offense towards the end and took a 9-2 edge on shots into the break.
Just about half way in, Ribeiro had a nice shot on goal in the 20th minute, but it was smother by USF keeper, Katarina Elliot. USF answered with a fast break in front of the UConn cage but senior Toriana Patterson (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) knocked it away on a slide tackle.
Hill put UConn on the board in the 38th minute when she beat the Bulls' defense and found the back of the net in bottom left corner, giving the Huskies a late 1-0 lead going into halftime.
Ribeiro extended UConn's lead to two goals early in the second half. Sophomore Kim Urbanek (Lonnerstadt, Germany) fed the ball up the field to Ribeiro where she dodged not one, not two, but three separate defenders and tucked it away in the back of the USF goal, making it 2-0 UConn in the 50th minute.
It was fairly quiet on the pitch for roughly 20 minutes after UConn took a 2-0 lead. Freshman Kristen Vinciguerra (Saddle River, N.J.) received a red card in the 73rd minute and the Huskies had to play the remaining 17 minutes down a player.
The Bulls tallied four shots during their man-advantage and outshot the Huskies 8-6 overall in the second half. Armstrong tallied three saves and picked up her 10th shutout of the season.
The Huskies advance to their second American Athletic Conference championship final in four seasons where they will face SMU Sunday, Nov. 6 at 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.