[USF-CONNECTICUT: Men] By most estimates, UConn junior Andre Blake is the best goalie prospect in college soccer, but the Jamaican met his match in USF goalkeeper Brentton Muhammad. The senior stopped three straight UConn penalty kicks -- the first two to keep the Bulls alive -- and give the Bulls the first-ever American Athletic Conference championship with a 6-5 shootout win.
The final in Tampa ended 0-0 after 110 minutes, sending the game to penalty kicks. USF had a chance to win the shootout in the fifth round, but Blake stopped Edwin Moalosi. Both teams converted in the sixth round.
In the next two rounds, Blake stopped the USF shooters, but Muhammad matched him with stops to keep the shootout going.
Finally, freshman Duane Muckette was finally able to put one past Blake in the ninth round, setting up a chance for the Bulls to win with another Muhammad save. The keeper made diving stop to his left on the Huskies' final attempt by freshman midfielder Kwame Awuah.
“It wasn’t just three saves in a row," USF coach George Kiefer said. "It was three in a row where he had to make the save or we were cooked, we were done."
With the title, USF (8-3-9) receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, which will mark their seventh straight postseason appearance under Kiefer.
“This year is super special and obviously this team has battled through some real adversity this season,” Kiefer said. “As coaches and as players, we all felt like we were playing well enough to win games so we didn’t get after each other, we stayed positive with one another and I think it’s a real life lesson for them.”
With the draw, UConn will head into the NCAA Tournament with a record of 11-2-6 and a 13-game unbeaten streak. The Husky defense has not allowed a goal in 585 minutes.