STORRS, CT (September 19) Despite an 11-day layoff between games, the No. 11 Connecticut womens soccer team got two goals apiece from sophomore Jessica Gjertsen (Stony Plain, Alberta) and freshman Kristen Graczyk (Albuquerque, NM) to win its BIG EAST opener over St. Johns, 5-0, tonight at Morrone Stadium.
The Huskies, who have won the last eight meetings between the schools, improved to 4-2-0 overall on the season and 1-0-0 in the BIG EAST. The Red Storm dropped to 1-4 overall on the year and 0-1-0 in the conference. UConn won back-to-back games for the first time this season and have posted shutouts in their last three victories.
Gjertsen got UConn on the board at 12:12 after controlling a ball off a defender and firing it past St. Johns goalkeeper Tina Fogg. Less than five minutes later, Graczyk chimed in with a score on a ball sent into the box by senior midfielder Alexa Borisjuk (North Haven, CT). Graczyk slipped her shot past the keeper and it rolled into the left post and deflected into the net.
Graczyk added her second tally of the night at the 52:35 mark on a feed from junior midfielder Sarah Popper (Penn Yan, NY). Popper made the pass from the left side of the box, and Graczyk buried it into the left side of the net from 10 yards out. The two goals gave her a team-high five on the season. Poppers assist was her first of the year.
At 72:50, Gjertsen added her second goal of the game on a pass from Borisjuk. Gjertsen blasted a shot from 16 yards out into the top-right corner of the net, notching her fourth goal of the season. Borisjuks two assists gave her a team-best three for the year.
Senior forward Lacey Toups (Richardson, TX) topped off the night with a goal at 74:47, her second of the season. She took a pass from the left endline and headed it past the keeper. Junior midfielder Megan Almanzo (New Hope, MN) and freshman midfielder Christine Mintz (Vashon Island, WA) were credited with assists.
Sophomore Erin Rice (Keller, TX) made the start in goal for the Huskies but was replaced by junior Maria Yatrakis (Brooklyn, NY) after the second goal. Yatrakis made one save in the game before being replaced by senior Shanna Caldwell (Williamsburg, VA) midway through the second half. Caldwell, making her first appearance this season, made two late saves to clinch the shutout. Fogg ended the night with 10 saves.
After kicking off a six-game stretch of BIG EAST Northeast Division games with a win, Connecticut will face its next challenge at Virginia Tech this weekend on Sunday, September 23. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. In addition, UConn's game against Florida that was postponed on September 14 has been rescheduled for October 2 at 7:00 p.m.