Hurricanes stun Huskies
There have been two constants for the women’s soccer team over the past few seasons. One was that the ‘Canes always won their Big East opener, and the other being that they never beat Connecticut. So when the Hurricanes took on UConn in their Big East opener Friday night at Cobb Stadium, something had to give.
The Hurricanes used two goals from Lindsey Yach and a third from Britney Butcher to shock the No. 10 Huskies for the first time in school history 3-1. The ‘Canes improved to a perfect 5-0 in conference openers with the victory, and beat a Top 10 opponent for the first time in school history.
“I’m really proud of my team,” Head Coach Tricia Taliaferro said after the game. “It has been a frustrating year because we have outplayed a lot of teams and had not been able to finish, and tonight, we were able to put things together and this should help us get over the hump.”
The Hurricanes jumped out to an early lead just eight minutes into the match on Yach’s fifth goal of the season off of a pass from freshman Sheuneen Ta. Yach would later score what turned out to be the game winner from a Butcher pass late in the first half, putting the ‘Canes up by two heading into halftime.
“I was just trying to help us get momentum and my goals gave us confidence that carried us throughout the game,” Yach said.
In the second half, the Huskies pulled within one on a goal from Jessica Gjersten, but then Britney Butcher sealed the deal off of passes from Yach and Ta that made it 3-1. The ‘Canes two offensive juggernauts, Yach and Butcher, combined for three goals and two assists in the victory.
“I think this victory showed that we can play with the top teams and it is just a matter of confidence,” Yach said.
The ‘Canes benefited from another solid effort from Alex Alford in net, allowing just one goal and making four saves. Alford has been solid in the net so far this season and has helped keep the team in games.
“Alex has been fantastic,” Taliaferro said. “You are asking a lot putting a freshman in goal going into the season, but she has stepped up big. She has got a lot of confidence and the players are building off of that because they know she is going to be a presence.”
With the victory, the ‘Canes improve to 6-4 on the season. The Big East has several good teams, and there is a lot of the season left to play, but the victory over the Huskies proves that UM is a force in the conference. UConn had dominated the Hurricanes in every prior meeting between the teams, outscoring the ‘Canes by a 21-2 margin. With the victory, the Hurricanes took a lot of pressure off themselves because they finally proved they can play against a good team. The win shows how far this program has come and that the team is on the rise.
“I think this win proves we are a great team and that this win shows we can compete with the other good teams,” Taliaferro said. “Beating a top ten team is huge and will help us get into the NCAA Tournament.”