By Marya Fratoni
Coming off of a strong win against Brown University on Sept. 21, the UConn Women’s Soccer team opens up league play with a contest at American Athletic Conference newcomer East Carolina on Sept. 25. The Huskies concluded their non-conference schedule at 7-2-1 heading into The American action, their best start since 2007 when they reached the NCAA Quarterfinals.
In preparation for conference play, Head Coach Len Tsantiris’ goal is to make his attacking players more confident with the ball and their ability to score. “We need to increase our attacking end and increase our speed and desire to go and beat players,” Tsantiris said.
Additionally, senior defender Gabrielle Charno (Seaford, N.Y.), part of a UConn backline that has held opponents to 10 goals in 10 games, had a few notes for what the defense will focus on within the next week.
“We’re working on keeping shut outs in the back so that’s definitely going to be key on the road, especially in conference play,” noted Charno. “At the end of the day, we’ve been scoring a lot of goals so that’s going to help us too.”
To Charno’s point, UConn has already scored 25 goals this season through 10 games after tallying 31 over a 20-game slate last season. The Huskies are 30th nationally in scoring this season.
The Huskies showed their grit and perseverance during their win over Brown after coming off of a heartbreaking loss against Florida State, which will definitely be tested in their upcoming games. After losing the lead to the No. 5 team in the country, the Huskies were determined to bounce back.
“We can’t let a loss like that define us,” said redshirt senior midfielder Julie Hubbard (Waverly, Pa.), who scored her first goal of the season against Brown. “We need to keep building the momentum into conference play.”
Although it’s far in the future, the team hopes to capture a conference championship this season. Tsantiris, who has claimed 10 conference crowns in his 34-year run in Storrs, knows exactly what it will take to achieve this goal: “We have to play every game as hard as we can possibly play, especially on the road.”