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UConn Women’s Soccer Closes Book on Morrone Stadium

The Huskies fell 3-0 on Senior Day.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Throughout the entire 39 year history of the UConn women’s soccer program, the Huskies have called just one place home: Joseph J. Morrone Stadium. On Sunday afternoon, UConn played their final game ever in the historic stadium, a 3-0 loss to Tulsa on Senior Day.

Throughout the years, the Huskies compiled a 330-70-38 record at Morrone Stadium, with a 29-8 mark in NCAA Tournament games. Head coach Margaret Rodriguez played at the grounds from 1995-98 and understands its significance.

“The stadium is a part of the history. For generations and generations, the 1980’s to now, it stayed consistent,” she said. “There’s been a lot of wins in this stadium, a lot of NCAA Tournament games in this stadium. The stadium is iconic for the women’s soccer program.”

Between being a player and a coach, Rodriguez has spent 15 seasons either between the lines or roaming the sidelines of Morrone Stadium. While there are plenty of memories to pick from, two stuck out in her head.

“As a player, if I had to pick one game in particular, it was probably a win against Hartford in the [1997] NCAA Tournament. In-state rival, we had a huge crowd here, we won 2-1. That was probably one of the more memorable wins but like I said, they all kind of blend in.”

“As a coach, the most memorable win was probably the conference championship back in 2016 because we were able to host and play here.”

“We just didn’t show up”

Unfortunately, the team couldn’t get a win on its Senior Day. They fell 3-0 to Tulsa and were eliminated from contention for the AAC Tournament. Rodriguez was stunned about her team’s performance after the game.

“I didn’t think this was going to be the team that came out today,” she said. “Our last couple weeks we had been training and playing much more consistently and we were climbing. This game wasn’t consistent with our last half of the season’s efforts. I just don’t think we handled the emotions of senior day, emotions of the last game here. We just didn’t show up.”

The game was an epitome of the entire season. Just when the Huskies looked to be making progress, they quickly fell back to Earth and fell hard. After picking up their first win against CCSU, they lost three in a row, capped by a 3-0 drubbing from a winless BU team. But they recovered with a strong weekend in a two-game tournament in Arkansas with a big win over Ole Miss, before dropping a tough 1-0 loss at home to Eastern Michigan.

“A completely different team showed up from Thursday (A 2-1 loss to a ranked Memphis team),” Rodriguez said.

With the loss, the team finished 1-7 at Morrone Stadium this season, the lowest home win total in program history.

A New Home

The last women’s soccer game at Morrone Stadium was bittersweet. The reason the team will no longer play there is because a new stadium is being built on the same footprint. Construction will begin at the conclusion of the men’s soccer season and the stadium is expected to be ready for the 2020 season.

However, that means both teams will have to find a new home for the 2019 season. Right now, the two likely options are Rentschler Field and the new Dillon Stadium. There has still not been a final decision but all signs are pointing to the Rent at the moment.

Next Up

While the home portion of their 2018 schedule is done, UConn will travel to Philadelphia on Thursday for a 3:30 p.m. matchup with the Temple Owls. And the Huskies will close out the 2018 season on Sunday in Greenville, NC at 1 p.m. in a match with the ECU Pirates.