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UConn women’s soccer releases Big East schedule

The Huskies will play in the spring after the pandemic forced the Big East to cancel its fall schedule.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn women’s soccer released its Big East schedule for the upcoming season, which will be held in the spring instead of the fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Huskies will play 10 conference games against the Big East’s East Division on every Sunday and Thursday between March 4 and April 8. The slate begins against Providence and Villanova at home followed by two games on the road at St. John’s and Seton Hall. After that, the Huskies will return home against Georgetown.

Then, UConn will play the same sequence of opponents but will travel to face the Friars and Wildcats, host the Red Storm and Pirates and head to DC to take on the Hoyas. The conference tournament will be held from April 15-18 at Providence.

Kick-off times will be released at a later date. The Huskies are also expected to play 2-3 non-conference games which will also be announced later.

UConn began its preseason on Jan. 7 but has only practiced in pods to this point.

The Big East initially planned its soccer seasons for the fall, when they normally play. The league divided the conference into two divisions to reduce travel and eventually canceled non-conference games to buy itself more time amid the pandemic. However, COVID-19 eventually forced the Big East to cancel the fall season entirely in August, though the conference did leave the door open to play in the spring. Now, that’s come to fruition.

UConn will finally get to open its brand-new soccer stadium, which will also be called Joseph J. Morrone Stadium and sits on the footprint of the old ground. The construction forced both the Huskies’ soccer teams to play off-campus last season at both Al-Marzook Field at the University of Hartford and Dillon Stadium in Hartford.

Neither UConn nor the Big East has announced whether fans will be allowed into games or not.

This will be head coach Margaret Rodriguez’s third year at the helm. After a tough, injury-plagued 4-14-0 campaign in her first year, UConn took a step forward with a 6-8-3 record in 2019 where it just missed on qualifying for the AAC Tournament.

The Huskies are expected to improve again this season, especially with the infusion of 10 freshman — the first class recruited by the entire coaching staff. Headlining that group is Jayda Bedoya, a forward out of Tabor Academy in Massachusetts who reclassified to join the program this year instead of in fall 2021.

While Georgetown is the team to beat in the East Division, UConn could compete with Villanova (fourth-place finish in 2019) and Providence (six place) for second in the group. Looking at the entire conference, Xavier and Butler are expected to be the top teams out of the west.

The Huskies are probably still at least a year or two away from competing for a conference title but if they can be on the NCAA Tournament bubble this season, that would be a good next step for the program under Rodriguez.