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Men's Soccer To Play Rutgers in Sunday Exhibition

Freshman Austin DaSilva (Brookfield, Conn.) at Thursday practice.
Aug. 10, 2017


STORRS, Conn. -
The No. 24 UConn men's soccer team, which began preseason workouts on Wednesday, will travel to play Rutgers in an exhibition game on Sunday at 1 p.m. (ET) in Piscataway, N.J. - one of two scheduled exhibitions in August for the Huskies.

Official stats will be kept for the match with a live stats link provided by Rutgers for fans who would like to follow the action from The Soccer Stadium at Yurcak Field.

All UConn players reported on Tuesday for preseason meetings, before beginning official team practices on Wednesday. The roster includes 29 student-athletes, with 13 originally from Connecticut, under 21-year head coach Ray Reid.

The second exhibition match for the Huskies will be on Saturday, Aug. 19 at home against North Carolina State. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. (ET) at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium and admission is free for all in attendance.

Rutgers Notes

The Scarlet Knights went 1-14-2 (0-6-2 Big 10) in the 2016 season, ranking second to last in the Big 10 in goals per game (0.94). Their sole victory came in 3-2 fashion against Bradley on Oct. 29.

Rutgers features a new look in 2017, with a large freshman class of 12 players joining the team under eight-year head coach and UConn alum Dan Donigan. Dante Perez returns as Rutgers' leading scorer from a year ago, scoring five times throughout his junior season.

Good Start in the Polls

Coming off a season where they earned their fourth-consecutive trip to the American Athletic Conference Tournament, the Huskies have been ranked No. 24 in the United Soccer Coaches Preseason Poll (formerly the NSCAA Poll).

The highest ranking that UConn reached last season was No. 13, which came after its season-long winning streak of seven games ended with a 1-0 victory over Yale on Oct. 11.

Returning Talent

Junior Abdou Mbacke Thiam returns as UConn's leading scorer from each of the past two seasons. His scoring prowess is what earned him a nod to the All-American Athletic Conference First Team as a sophomore.

Sophomores Niko Petridis and Munir Saleh, both of whom achieved All-AAC Rookie Team honors as freshmen, will solidify the midfield position for the Huskies.

Defensively, the Huskies allowed just 0.77 goals per game in 2016 - the lowest mark out of any team in the conference. Redshirt senior Andrew Geres and redshirt junior Dylan Greenberg strengthen the backline, while redshirt senior goalkeeper Scott Levene looks to add to his current streak of 52 consecutive starts.

Familiar Face

One of UConn soccer's most accomplished all-time players, Dan Donigan was a three-time All-American and First Team All-New England forward in his career as a Husky from 1985-88 under legendary head coach Joe Morrone.

As a senior in 1988, Donigan received the Adidas Adi Dassler Award as the nation's "Most Outstanding Senior Soccer Player" after leading UConn in goals (11) and assists (11).

Donigan's professional playing career began in 1990 competing in the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL). Shortly after, he began his coaching career as an assistant for Morrone at UConn from 1994-96.

In 2015, Donigan was named Big 10 Coach of the Year after leading the Scarlet Knights to a 12-7-2 record (4-4-0 Big 10).