STORRS, CT (October 31) -- The University of Connecticut women's soccer team will begin post season play against the Villanova Wildcats at 1:00 p.m. in the BIG EAST Quarterfinal round at Morrone Stadium in Storrs. UConn, 4-1 in BIG EAST play, garnered the #1 seed out of the Northeast Region, while the Wildcats, 3-1-1 are the Mid-Atlantic Division's #4 seed.
Last Time Out
(October 25) Jen Zieky scored the first two goals of her career at UConn, and Kristen Graczyk (Albuquerque, NM) notched a hat trick and added two assists, as the University of Connecticut womens soccer team dismantled Syracuse 6-0 on senior day in front of 1810 people at Morrone Stadium in Storrs. With the victory, UConn improves to 10-4-3 on the season and concludes its BIG EAST regular season with a 5-1-0 record. Syracuse falls to 9-7-1, 2-3-3.
Beasts of the Northeast
With victories over St. Johns and Syracuse last week, UConn clinched the # 1 seed in the Northeast Region for the BIG EAST Tournament. The Huskies have won the BIG EAST Northeast Division title every year since the league split into the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Divisions in 1999. Since beginning play in the Northeast Division, the Huskies have compiled a remarkable record of 26-2 against divisional rivals, and have outscored BIG EAST Northeast opponents by a mind-boggling 92-20 margin. Connecticut is the only school to qualify for every BIG EAST Tournament since the events inception in 1993.
Jekyll & Hyde
This season, the Huskies have had problems getting out of the gate in the first half, outscoring their opponents 14-to-11 in the first half. However, UConn gets it in gear for the second half, outscoring the opposition by a healthy 24-4 margin.
Len Tsantiris is in his 23rd season in charge of the University of Connecticut womens soccer program. In those 22+ years, coach Tsantiris boasts a record of 394-91-26. His 394 wins are the second most all-time in Division I womens college soccer. The Huskies would have to go on a little run through the post season to propel Tsantiris to the 400 win mark, but it is not out of the question.
Climbing the Ladder
With her outstanding three goal, two assist performance against Syracuse, junior Kristen Graczyk continued to bolt up the Husky record list. Graczyk now has netted 39 career goals, and dished out 19 assist for 97 points in 2+ years. Graczyk is in 10th place on UConns all-time goals scored list, just two scores shy of Brittoin Aricos mark she set from 1987-90. Graczyks 97 points also put her in 10th place; two behind Arico. If and when Graczyk registers her 100th point, she will become just the ninth Husky to do so.
The Schnur Factor
Freshman Meghan Schnur was expected to produce immediately when she made her decision to come to UConn, and she has not disappointed. Schnur has recorded eight assists in 2003, including five in BIG EAST action, second only behind Graczyks six. UConn is 7-0 when Schnur records an assist. Shcnur is the only Husky to play every minute of every game in 2003.
Atop the BIG EAST
Kristen Graczyk leads the BIG EAST Conference in every offensive category in conference play. Graczyk leads the BIG EAST in shots (40), points (24), goals (9), assists (6) and game-winners (4).
First and Foremost
Connecticut is undefeated (5-0) in BIG EAST Tournament Quarterfinal action since the Tournament expanded to eight teams in 1998. Since 1993, UConn is 10-1 in BIG EAST first round action, the only blemish being a 1-0 loss to St. Johns in the 1994 semifinal. The Huskies out-shot St. Johns 14-3 that day.
A Look at the Wildcats
Villanova enters postseason play on a roll. The Wildcats are unbeaten in their last four games, and have not allowed more than one goal since September 28th in a 3-0 loss to top-ranked North Carolina. Chrissy Dolan and the Nova backline have been outstanding this season. Dolan has played every minute in net for the Wildcats, and boasts a goals against average of 0.52, and a save percentage of .890. Dolan and the Wildcat defense have produced 12 shutouts, including four in six BIG EAST games. The Nova defense is ranked second behind only No. 2 Notre Dame.
Offensively, Villanova is led by Lindsey Finnegans seven goals and five assists for nineteen points. Laura Johnson has also been a key component to the Villanova attack, registering four goals and nine assists for 17 points.
All-time, UConn is a remarkable 13-0-2 against Villanova, including 5-0 in postseason action. The Huskies did not see the Wildcats in the 2003 regular season, but the two teams met twice in 2002. Villanova came up to Storrs and managed to tie UConn, 1-1 on September 11, 2002. Then the cross-divisional teams met in the BIG EAST Tournament semifinals where UConn shutout Nova 3-0, and out-shot them 19-9.
UConn in the Polls
NSCAA -- 13th
Soccer Times/Coaches -- 12th
Soccer America -- 21st