For the third time in four years, the UConn men’s soccer team was picked to finish third in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) preseason poll. The Huskies are staring up at University of Central Florida (UCF) and Southern Methodist University (SMU), two teams they took only one point from in three games last year.
UConn lost to SMU 2-0 and tied UCF 0-0 in the regular season, but then fell to the Knights in overtime heartbreaker in the AAC semifinals. However, the Huskies outlasted SMU in the NCAA tournament and went out at the same time as UCF.
And at least from a talent perspective, head coach Ray Reid seems to have chosen his 2019 captains correctly. Redshirt senior Dayonn Harris, junior Robin Lapert, and sophomore Felix Metzler were all chosen for the All-Conference Preseason Team in the AAC. The latter two were unanimous selections and Lapert was also tabbed for Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Harris was a prolific attacking threat on the wing last year, logging five goals and seven assists, good for second on the team and All-Conference honors.
Lapert, who transferred in from the University of Charleston, garnered a spot on the All-Conference Second Team last year. He was a stabilizing force in the UConn’s back four from the jump.
Metzler, hailing from Frankfurt, Germany, won the AAC Rookie of the Year award in 2018. He played as both center-back and defensive center-mid, and tallied one game-winning goal and two assists on the year.
UConn already has one preseason tilt under their belt, a 2-2 draw against Rutgers. The teams were deadlocked after 100 minutes of soccer, but UConn twice had to even the score.
The first came in the first half on a penalty kick taken by former Scarlet Knight Jordan Hall, and the second came in the second half from freshman Moussa Wade, who rebounded a UConn miss.
Reid explored the team’s depth, using 26 players. Rutgers might have gone 4-13-1 last year in the Big-10, but new head coach Jim McElderrly has an eye for talent and brought in five overseas players. All-in-all, a draw is nothing to bemoan.
UConn will close out preseason play with a Saturday night tilt at Al-Marzook Field versus Boston University at 7 p.m. The Huskies open the 2019 season against Rider on Friday, August 30 at 7 p.m. at Al-Marzook Field on the campus of the University of Hartford.