On Wednesday afternoon, UConn released their men’s soccer schedule for the upcoming season, and it’s a veritable gauntlet, with five teams that ended the 2017 season in the NCAA RPI Top 25. There will also be plenty of shots at redemption as well, with the Huskies playing five teams they lost to last year.
The 18-game regular season slate will feature 13 home games at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium on campus, one more than last year and a road schedule marked by trips to soccer hotbeds Bloomington, Indiana and Akron, Ohio.
The calendar is highlighted by tilts against four teams that qualified for the 2017 NCAA Tournament; Indiana, Akron, SMU and Notre Dame. Three teams made it to the Sweet 16, while Akron and Indiana reached the Final Four, and Indiana played for the title.
Two home exhibition games will kick things off in mid-August. The team will be thrown into the fire right away on Aug. 13 at 7 p.m, facing a Colgate squad fresh off an NCAA tournament appearance. The preseason slate will close out with Ian McIntyre’s Syracuse Orange on Aug. 18 at 7 p.m.
It gets real on Aug. 24, with a home opener against Lehigh at 7 p.m., and then a quick turnaround on Aug. 26 against MAAC mainstay Niagara at 7 p.m.
The Huskies then take to the Midwest for a weekend battle with two Indiana powerhouses. First up is Notre Dame on Aug. 31 as the men look to avenge last season’s 1-0 loss at Morrone. Arguably the biggest test of the season will be Sunday, Sept. 2 against the Hoosiers of Indiana, fresh off their 15th NCAA Finals appearance. UConn last played Indiana in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, losing 1-0 in the second round.
UConn then returns home to face Dartmouth on Sept. 8 and regional rival Rhode Island on Sept. 11. Both kick-offs will be at 7 p.m. They then head back out to Midwest for a showdown against Akron on Sept. 15. The Zips are another college soccer heavyweight, featuring a distinguished alumni pool of Teal Bunbury, Darlington Nagbe, DeAndre Yedlin and Joao Mouthino.
Next up is another regional rival, Boston College, on Sept. 18 at 7 p.m, who the Huskies took a painful 3-2 overtime loss to last year. The American Athletic Conference schedule will then kick off, with the Huskies hosting USF at 7 p.m. on Sept. 22.
The men will then embark on their third road trip of the year, heading to Memphis for a Sept. 28 match at 7 p.m., followed by a jaunt back to the eastern seaboard to maintain dominance over local rival Providence on Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. UConn then hosts the Bearcats of Cincinnati on Oct. 6 at 7 p.m., followed by a Friday night away game on Oct. 12 at UCF.
The Huskies can enjoy home cooking for the rest of the month, with four tilts all at 7 p.m. First up is an in-state battle vs. Sacred Heart on Oct. 16, followed by a critical conference game vs. Temple on Oct. 20. They will then take on Vermont on Oct. 23, and will close out their home slate for the year against SMU on Oct. 27.
November will feature a nice tune-up for conference tournament action, as the Huskies head to Oklahoma to take on Tulsa on Nov. 2. The Huskies beat the Shockers last year to go on a three-game winning streak and would certainly welcome similar momentum headed into this year’s conference tournament.