VT 0, UConn 2
STORRS, Conn. - Two first half goals by No. 7 ranked Connecticut proved too much to overcome for the Virginia Tech men's soccer team as the Hokies were shutout 2-0 by the Huskies Wednesday night in a BIG EAST match. The loss drops Tech to 10-6-1 on the year and 5-4-0 in conference play. UConn clinched a berth into the BIG EAST postseason tournament and improves to 12-4-0 overall, 6-3-0 in the BIG EAST.
The Huskies dominated play in the first half and their 11-1 shooting advantage resulted in two scores midway through the opening stanza. After a UConn corner kick, taken by Anthony Curtis, Stephen Arias took a point-blank shot at Tech keeper Chase Harrison (Huntington, W.Va.), who deflected the shot out back into the box. Cesar Cuellar hit the rebounded shot and tucked it away for the first goal of the game at the 22:05 mark.
Damani Ralph notched his team-leading 14th goal of the season 45-seconds later. Andres Rota crossed the ball across field to Andrew McLeod , who turned and took it up the right wing. He crossed the ball into the box and touched the ball past Harrison giving the Huskies a 2-0 advantage.
Tides turned in the second stanza as the Hokies were able to outshoot the Huskies 11-9 accompanied by a 7-2 advantage on corner kicks. Tech's best scoring opportunity of the game came in the 75th minute of action. Junior Bobby O'Brien (Wiliamsburg, Va.) took a 30-yard shot that almost grazed over the top of UConn keeper Adam Schuerman's hands. Schuerman was able to get a hold on it and pushed it out into the empty box.
"The boys played very hard after half time and finished with a great effort," head coach Oliver Weiss explained. "Before half our inexperience showed. We played a very good team tough, but had a lapse for a two to three minutes and UConn took advantage of that. It was good to see that we were able to come back and play much harder and a lot more aggressive.
"You have to give the guys credit for stepping it up," Weiss continued. "We had a goal called back because of a handball and that would have made it 2-1. Those are the breaks you get some times and you have to learn from that. Against good teams you need to concentrate the entire game."
"Individually, we received a great effort from Harold Russell (Swarthmore, Pa.) tonight," Weiss stated. "He played nearly the entire game and did not have any break downs."
Tech will travel to Indiana for a BIG EAST match at No. 19 Notre Dame Friday night in the Hokies' final regular season match.
Goals by period 1 2 F
Virginia Tech (10-6-1, 5-4-0) 0 0 - 0
Connecticut (12-4-0, 6-3-0) 2 0 - 2
1. 22:05 UCONN Cuellar, Cesar (10) (unassisted) - shot by arias;
2. 22:50 UCONN Ralph, Damani (14) (McLeod, Andrew;Rota, Andres)
Shots: Virginia Tech 13, Connecticut 20
Saves: Virginia Tech 5 (HARRISON, Chase 5), Connecticut 4 (Schuerman, Adam 4)
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