STORRS, Conn. – The UConn women’s soccer team scored twice midway through the second half to pick up a 2-0 win over New Hampshire in NCAA Tournament first round action on Saturday evening at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium. The win advances the Huskies to the NCAA second round and a rematch of an early-season contest at No. 8 Penn State. UConn improved its record to 14-4-5 on the year, while the Wildcats end the season at 8-9-4.
With no score in the second half, Danielle Gottwik (New Port Richey, Fla.) got the Huskies on the board with a hard shot off the crossbar in the 59th minute, before Samantha McGuire (Fishkill, N.Y.) stretched the lead to two in the 63rd. The UConn defense picked up its sixth-consecutive shutout in the triumph, stretching its scoreless streak to 615:13 minutes of game time. The clean sheet was also the 11th of the year for UConn, most since matching that mark in 2007.
“The kids played really well in the second half. We went forward, we created opportunities, and we got the goals that were needed,” UConn head coach Len Tsantiris, who improved his record in the first three rounds of NCAA Tournament play to 33-9-1, said.
Overall on the day, the Huskies out-shot the Wildcats 22-7, including an 8-1 edge in shots on goal. Allison Saucier (Rocky Hill, Conn.) played the first half in goal for UConn and did not see a shot on net, before Emily Armstrong (Collegeville, Pa.) played the second frame and recorded one save. Mimi Borkan made six stops for UNH.
“This is the sixth match in a row that we haven’t allowed a goal, which is a tribute to the whole team but especially the goalkeepers and defenders,” Tsantiris added.
Making their 29th NCAA Tournament appearance in program history and first since 2010, the Huskies started fast and nearly converted in the third minute. Megan Hunsberger (Bethlehem, Pa.) served in a corner kick for UConn, and McGuire’s header off the chance skipped wide.
UConn had another strong look in the 20th minute, when Rachel Hill (Rollinsford, N.H.) flew in on Borkan alone and found space past the keeper for a shot that went over the cage. Another corner kick led to a chance for Riley Houle (Columbia, Conn.) in the 31st minute, but her point blank shot also went high and the match went to halftime with no score.
The Huskies finally broke through in the 59th minute for the game’s first goal. Tanya Altrui (Branford, Conn.), who came on a sub late in the first half and started the second, found some space on the left side of the attacking third and slid a pass to Gottwik. From there, Gottwik stepped up from 25 yards out and rifled a shot that cracked the crossbar and deflected straight down across the goal line to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead.
UConn used another strike from distance to double its lead in the 63rd minute. Houle played the ball central to McGuire outside the box. McGuire took a quick step to her left before unleashing a rocket shot past Brokan and into the back of the cage for her sixth goal of the year.
The Huskies kept up the pressure, with Hill heading one barely wide off a Houle cross in the box in the 68th minute. UConn kept New Hampshire at bay throughout the second half, holding a 13-4 edge in shots in the final frame and sealing the victory.
Up next, UConn will travel to Happy Valley and take on No. 8 Penn State in NCAA Second Round action. Kick-off is tentatively set for Friday, Nov. 21 with time to be determined.