STORRS - A late score pushed University of Connecticut women's soccer over Central Connecticut State University women's soccer Saturday, ending in a 2-1 final for both sides' season opener.
Both sides played even keel until the 37th minute when Roma McLaughlin netted the first goal of the contest, putting the Blue Devils up 1-0. Her score came from a feed by Tess Atkinson and Tess Bardes.
It didn't take long for UConn to capitalize after an offsides call on CCSU stopped momentum. Seven seconds after the change in possession the Huskies got the equalizer from Duda Santin, scoring in the 41st minute on an assist from Jessica Mazo.
Entering halftime, it was 1-1. Both sides again played even through the early stages of the second half, but UConn's attacking front broke through in the 79th minute to take a late advantage.
Jada Konte scored off the deflection of a Duda Santin shot to give the Huskies a 2-1 lead. The score remained 2-1 until the 90th minute, resulting in the final.
"The first game is always high intensity," said UConn head coach Margaret Rodriguez after the win. "There's big emotions and I think to face an in-state rival the intensity was going to be up there. I was really proud of our players. ... I think some players stepped up in big roles and it was a gut check for us. We found our grit when we needed to score."
CCSU and UConn were even on corner kicks with four each, but UConn had more than double the Blue Devils' shot total at 18-7.
"They were relentless," said Rodriguez about the offense. "Duda gives us a sense of her Brazilian flair out there and she knows the game. Konte is relentless and athletic. It was a great goal."
CCSU's Amanda McQuillan had five saves, the game-high. UConn's Kaitlyn Mahoney had four saves. Both played all 90 minutes.
UConn had two bookings, with Yasmin Rosewell and Konte each receiving a yellow card.
CCSU is back in action Thursday against University of Albany for the Blue Devils' home opener in New Britain. UConn gets back to work on Thursday as well, hosting La Salle.
CCSU will kick off against Albany at 6 p.m. UConn will kick off at 7 p.m.