The first coaches’ poll of the women’s soccer season has been released, and the UConn Huskies are sitting at no. 15 to start the year. UConn is coming off one of the most successful seasons in recent memory, which saw the team win the AAC regular season title and advance to the third round of the NCAA Tournament, the furthest they have gone since 2007.
The Huskies are the only team from the American Conference to be ranked, although both USF and UCF received votes. UConn will face a number of ranked schools, including a battle against former Big East foe Rutgers, who came in at no. 10. The most exciting matchup, however, comes when the Huskies travel to Tallahassee to face the no. 1 team in the country in Florida State.
Len Tsantris’ squad will return a lot of firepower from all over the field from last season. Senior goalkeeper Emily Armstrong anchors the Huskies’ defense. The fourth-year starter was dominant in the net, only allowing two goals at home last season. She posted eight total shutouts, including two in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. Her performance earned her multiple AAC Goalkeeper of the Week honors, as well as conference Goalkeeper of the Year in 2015.
Star forward Rachel Hill is also returning. Hill led the team with 16 goals last year as a junior, three of those goals came in the NCAA tournament. She was named the AAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row and was a semi-finalist for the MAC Hermann Award.
Being ranked no. 15 is fair for the Huskies. They had a rather successful NCAA tournament run and return a strong core. With only two ranked teams on their schedule, the Huskies are primed for another big season. Head coach Len Tsantiris is no stranger to national success, reaching eight Final Fours and four national title games. The national championship has eluded the Huskies, however, as they have run into the juggernaut that is North Carolina in all four title game appearances.
On paper, the Huskies should be even better than their 19-4 mark last season. Their first action comes in a tune-up against Boston College on August 12th before opening the season on August 19th against Northeastern at Morrone Stadium.