STORRS, Conn. - The Husky women's soccer team plays the first regular season contest of the UConn athletic year as it travels to Syracuse on Monday for a 6 p.m. game.
UConn is coming off a 19-3-1 season last year that saw the Huskies advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament and also win the American Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles.
UConn is ranked No. 14 nationally in the preseason by the United Soccer Coaches, formerly the NSCAA.
The Huskies lost scoring power from last season with the graduation of Rachel Hill (56 points) and Stephanie Ribeiro (38 points), who both earned All-American honors their junior and senior seasons. In addition, UConn lost goalkeeper Emily Armstrong, who was an All-Northeast pick last year.
Though young, the Huskies bring in a talented group of young players and transfers to complement the group that returns. Sophomore Alexa Casimiro (Prospect, Conn.), who played in 21 matches, started the final 12 matches of the season in freshman campaign is the top returning scorer for UConn. She scored two goals and recorded four points.
Also back is junior defender Liane Keegans (Ridgefield, Conn.) and senior defender Sabrina Toole (Westport, Conn.) -- who each started all 23 games last season.
No talk of UConn women's soccer can go very far without the mention of veteran head coach Len Tsantiris, who embarks on his 37th year of the women's soccer program in the 2017 season. In 2012, Tsantiris became only the second coach in collegiate women's soccer to reach the illustrious milestone of 500 career victories.
Under his leadership, UConn has advanced to 31 NCAA national tournaments, including 26 straight from 1982-2007. Four of those postseason appearances included visits to the NCAA Championship Game in 1984, 1990, 1997 and 2003. In his 36 seasons in charge of the UConn women's soccer program,
Tsantiris has compiled an outstanding 563-192-56 record.
Syracuse opened its 2017 season on Friday night with a 2-0 win at Bucknell as Sydney Brackett scored a pair of goals for the Orange. Syracuse returns 14 letter winners from last season, including nine starters. The Orange were 8-8-3 last year with a 1-7-2 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference.