Women's soccer: Moranz helps Orange escape with draw

The sophomore goalkeeper makes seven saves, limits Connecticut to one goal.

Fresh off its first win of the season, Syracuse returned home for the first time in 2014 to face Connecticut on Monday afternoon.

But while SU had hoped to get revenge for a 1-0 loss against the Huskies last season, the most it could muster was a draw.

Sophomore goalkeeper MacKenzie Moranz made seven saves in the game for the Orange, including one early in the second overtime period, to preserve a 1-1 final.

“Typically you want your goalkeeper to make one big save a game and she did,” SU head coach Phil Wheddon said. “She came up with a huge save at the end to preserve the tie.” 

Goalkeeping was at a premium all afternoon, as the Orange and Huskies combined for 33 shots in the game.

Syracuse, which held a 13-1-4 record in home openers prior to Monday, looked to jump ahead early. However, it was UConn (2-1-1) that got the early lead.

After a free kick in the 10th minute, Huskies midfielder Danielle Gottwik put a shot past Moranz from outside the top of the box.

The Orange (1-1-2) answered back with around 9 minutes left in the first half. Senior Alexis Koval, fresh off the bench, sent a header over Huskies goalkeeper Allison Saucier and into the cage.

Wheddon said Koval plays a major role on the team, and her style of play presents difficulties for defenders. He even called her "a pain in the backside" to play against.

Koval said she merely wanted to bring some extra intensity to the game.

“Our energy was kind of like a roller coaster,” said Koval. “So it’s really important for when the subs come on... we really bring the energy back up."

Neither team scored the rest of the way, setting up Moranz's heroics in the 107th minute. Gottwick seemingly had an open net from three yards out, but the SU keeper keep dove left to avert disaster.

Moranz said it happened so fast that she had no time to think.

"When the ball comes in that moment, I knew I had to make that save to keep my team in it," she said.

UConn still leads the all-time series between the two squads, 19-1, but Wheddon said the Orange is a different team than in those previous matchups.

"We are getting better and better each year," Wheddon said. "We feel like we are competitive. We feel like we can go up against most teams in the country."

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