EDITOR’S NOTE: This game was postponed Wednesday by UConn Athletics due to field conditions as a result of inclement weather. A make-up date has yet to be determined.
The UConn men’s soccer team will host Providence Wednesday Night at 7 p.m. under the lights at Joseph Morrone Stadium.
UConn (3-2-3) enters Wednesday’s matchup with an all-time 32-6-3 record against the Friars (4-3-1), dating back to 1973. Of course, UConn has been a different animal this season. They are an extremely young team that has relied on their defense to keep them afloat until their strikers click on the offensive end.
“It is a process and we have to continue to fight,” UConn head coach Ray Reid said earlier in the season after the Dartmouth game. “The boys have to keep the faith. The training has to be led by Kwame (Awuah), (Jake) Nerwinski, (Andy) Geres, (Scott) Levene and (Nick) Zuniga. They have to set the table for the freshmen. Those guys didn’t have to train like that in their first year. They took days off. They got mothered by (Andre) Blake and Mamadou (Diouf). Now, they have to lead. If you want the truth, they are still finding their way.”
The Huskies are currently riding a two-game losing streak. Their most recent defeat was a 1-0 road loss to conference-rival South Florida.
The Friars also come into Sunday’s game fresh off a conference loss. Providence lost a 1-0 match to Georgetown on Saturday after the Hoyas’ Brett Campbell scored at the 63-minute mark.
The Friars have played well this season despite their record. Two of their three losses have come in overtime periods.
One player to watch out for is junior forward Mac Steeves. He has scored seven of the team’s 10 goals this season, and leads the team in points with 14. He ranks sixth in the nation for total number of goals scored. He has scored a goal in every Friar home game.
Luckily for UConn, Wednesday’s game is in Storrs, and UConn goalkeeper Scott Levene has stepped up this season, registering four shutouts.
Levene has played every minute of the 2015 season. He has a .793 save percentage and has all the support in the world from his head coach.
“Scott Levene is doing everything possible in the goal,” said Reid after the Dartmouth game. “I wasn’t sure if he could handle the aerial game at UConn. I won’t be convinced until he goes home for Christmas and has played 25 games. But his ability in the air has improved tremendously. We don’t like short goalkeepers. But this kid is getting is done. Nothing was handed to him at all. The back four has been a tremendous positive for us. The only senior playing for us is (Zuniga). So, nobody is graduating. This team is going to get a lot better.”
Levene will certainly have his hands full against the high-powered Friar offence. Providence entered this season No. 7 in the nation by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. That is the highest the Friars have ever been ranked entering a season.
Eddie Leonard is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering UConn men’s soccer. He tweets @EddieLeonard23.