STORRS, Conn. – As the UConn men’s soccer team prepares for a challenging schedule in 2017, it does so with the knowledge that it could be one of the toughest slates the program has ever faced.
With the season-opener approaching against Iona on Friday, Aug. 25, the Huskies will get to play its first six matches at home at Morrone Stadium – but right out of the gate, the competition will be stiff.
The schedule includes 18 matches, with seven coming against teams who qualified for the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Out of those 18 opponents, 12 of them were ranked in the NCAA RPI Top 100 at the end of last season.
Three teams – No. 7 Maryland, No. 10 Providence, and No. 14 Notre Dame – were all ranked in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Coaches Poll at the conclusion of 2016. Dartmouth and Boston College were two teams receiving votes in that poll.
After home matches with Iona (Aug. 25) and Quinnipiac (Aug. 28), Notre Dame will visit UConn for a showdown on Saturday, Sept. 2. The last time the Fighting Irish visited Morrone Stadium in 2012, the Huskies earned a 2-1 victory on Sept. 29.
Georgetown (Sept. 9) and Hofstra (Sept.12) visit within 10 days after Notre Dame, two teams ranked in the top 55 of the RPI. The Huskies dropped a close 1-0 decision to the Hoyas last season on Sept. 10 in Washington, D.C.
A home match with North Florida (Sept. 16) wraps-up the six-game homestand, as American Athletic Conference play begins at Temple on Sept. 23. Nationally-ranked Providence visits Storrs on Sept. 26 for a 7 p.m. (ET) kickoff – a rivalry that began in 1973.
Reigning conference champion Tulsa travels to play UConn on Sept. 29 in a rematch of the AAC semifinals last season in Tampa, Fla.
Arguably the biggest game of the year will be on Monday, Oct. 2 when the Maryland Terrapins come to Morrone Stadium – a team that is likely to be in the top-10 in the rankings at the point of the season. UConn is 3-7 all-time against the Terps, dating back to 1950.
Road conference matches against Cincinnati (Oct. 7) and USF (Oct. 14) await after the Maryland matchup, followed by a trip to Chestnut Hill to face Boston College (Oct. 17) – a team ranked in the RPI Top 20 in 2016.
Home matches against UCF (Oct. 21) and Memphis (Oct. 28) sandwich a trip to Dartmouth when the Huskies will play the Big Green on Tuesday, Oct. 24. Dartmouth, the 2016 Ivy League champion, will be a formidable foe.
The final home match will be against another Ivy opponent when the Yale Bulldogs come to play UConn on Halloween night, before a trip to SMU on Nov. 4 completes the schedule.
The Huskies have qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 18 of the past 20 seasons under 21-year head coach Ray Reid. They have reached the American Athletic Conference Tournament in each of the four seasons since UConn joined in 2013.