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Men’s soccer nearly pulls off upset of No. 10 UConn, is eliminated from NCAA Tournament
In its first-ever NCAA Tournament berth, the Quinnipiac men’s soccer team lost in a hard-contested game against No. 10 University of Connecticut, 2-1.
The Bobcats held the Huskies scoreless in the first half as they controlled possession with a dominant midfield, by only allowing one shot on goal. The Huskies’ defense challenged the Bobcats as well, not allowing a shot on goal throughout the first.
In the second half, both teams found their scoring stride. The Huskies scored the first goal in the game when Nicholas Zuniga buried a loss ball right in front of the goal to put the Huskies up 1-0.
Only a few minutes later, the Huskies found themselves with a golden opportunity to put the game away. Mamadou Doudou Diouf took a penalty kick, but the Bobcats’ goaltender Borja Angoitia showed why he was named MAAC Goalkeeper of the Year by making a huge stop to keep the game 1-0.
“In the previous penalties I have seen he has always gone to that [right] side,” Angoitia said. “… I know he waits ‘till the keeper moves, so I just stayed as long as possible and to be honest with you, it wasn’t very tough to save.”
Then with less than 20 minutes remaining in the second half, Quinnipiac’s Simon Hinde won a physical battle with defender Michael Mercado in the box and put the ball between the legs of UConn goalkeeper Andre Blake’s. The ball found the back of the net and tied the game up at one.
“We made a switch there, putting Simon [Hinde] at the ten spot hoping he could find some space,” head coach Eric Da Costa said. “He found a ball that was 50-50 and turned it into a 60-40 advantage for him and to put that ball away under that amount of pressure is a testament to the type of player he is.”
For the next 10 minutes, the Bobcats used the momentum from Hinde’s goal to generate multiple scoring opportunities, but they could not capitalize.
Then Huskies freshman Jacob Nerwinski chipped a cross over the Bobcats’ defense to find Diouf who was able to finish this time when he headed it across his body to put it in the back of the net.
This goal was enough to keep the Huskies ahead for the remaining five minutes, as they played a game of keep away from the Bobcats. UConn moves on in the NCAA Tournament to face University of Maryland Baltimore Country on Sunday.
The Bobcats end their season with the MAAC Championship win and an overall record of 9-5-7.