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UConn men’s soccer defeats UMass 2-0 in preseason opener

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STORRS, Conn. (Via University of Connecticut) – Sophomore striker Abdou Mbacke Thiam (Dakar, Senegal) scored a pair of first-half goals as the UConn men’s soccer team opened exhibition play with a 2-0 victory over UMass on a humid Sunday night at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium.

The Huskies jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute when Thiam took a cross from senior tri-captain Kwame Awuah (Toronto, Ont.) and deposited a score into the lower left corner of the net. The sophomore led the team with 11 scores a season ago, earning a spot on the American Athletic Conference All-Second team.

Five minutes later, Thiam doubled up the Connecticut lead, heading in an uncontested shot after sophomore defender Simen Olafsen (Oppegaard, Norway) nearly beat the keeper on the right side.

Redshirt junior keeper Scott Levene (Stamford, Conn.) picked up the victory in the net, posting a clean sheet in 45 minutes of work. Freshman Detre Bell (South Kent, Conn.) finished off the final 45 minutes in the cage.

In the 14th minute, newly-appointed tri-captain Cheikh Stephane Coly (Dakar, Senegal) took a centering pass near the top of the box and blasted a shot towards the cage which was knocked away for the game’s first corner. Two minutes later, Thiam and Dylan Greenberg (Dix Hills, N.Y.) each tested Becerra with shots on target.

UConn had an excellent look in the 22nd minute when freshman Niko Pedtridis took a pass from Nerwinski from six yards out but pushed a shot wide right of the net for a goal kick.

The Huskies held an 11-to-4 shot advantage in the 90-minute match and also led in corner by a 4-to-1 margin.

Connecticut rounds out its two-game exhibition slate on Saturday, Aug. 20 when it hosts Rutgers at Morrone Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.

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