DALLAS - The No. 10 UConn women's soccer team fell short of Cincinnati 3-2 in overtime of the American Athletic Conference semifinals on Thursday, despite maintaining a two goal lead for the majority of regulation.
Senior Samantha McGuire (Fishkill, N.Y.) set the tone with a bullet on net in the sixth minute forcing Cincinnati goalkeeper Natalie Smith to dive and make the save.
Junior Rachel Hill (Rollinsford, N.H.) opened the scoring in the 20th minute to put UConn on top 1-0. Senior Annie Wickett (Frederick, Md.) launched a shot dead on target, but it was saved by Smith and then deflected off the cross bar out to Hill who headed it home. That goal marked her 13th of the season, third of the post-season, and 42nd of her career.
UConn added another in the 43rd minute when freshman Kim Urbanek (Lonnerstadt, Germany) took the ball in deep, kept it alive along the goal line and crossed it up to senior Liana Hinds (Hartford, Conn.), who buried it back-door to take a 2-0 lead.
Cincinnati closed the gap to 2-1 in the 79th minute when Danielle Rotheram knocked it in tight to the net off a long throw-in from Julie Gavorski.
Gavorski and Rotheram tag-teamed again in the 88th minute to knock in the equalizer for the Bearcats. This time Gavorski was the goal-scorer after Rotheram fed her the ball up the middle, back behind UConn's defense and Gavorski shot it past UConn goalkeeper Emily Armstrong (Collegeville, Pa.), who was running out to try and beat her to the ball, into the back of the net to tie the game up 2-2 with just over two minutes left in regulation.
The clock expired and the game went into overtime. This was just the second time the Huskies had gone into overtime all season. The first, was in the regular season match-up against Tulsa, where UConn pulled out a 2-1 victory in the first overtime period.
The fate of game was decided seven minutes into the overtime period when Cincinnati's Vanessa Gilles capitalized on a header off a free kick on the right side to top UConn 3-2 in overtime.
Armstrong racked up seven crucial saves for the Huskies, five of the seven came in the second half. Cincinnati did not allow one shot on goal from UConn in the second frame, but the Huskies got off two in overtime. Despite shots being even 10-10 after the first half, Cincinnati outshot UConn 26-17 in the combined 97 minutes.
The Bearcats advance to the American Athletic Conference Championship game on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015. UConn moves to 17-3 overall on the season and will await its NCAA tournament schedule, which will be announced after the conference championships conclude.