The University of Connecticut men’s soccer team will have a whole year to think about what might’ve been, as their season ended Monday afternoon with the NCAA tournament selection show at 1 p.m.
The NCAA selection committee ultimately could not look past the Huskies’ late season landslide, which included three straight conference losses to some teams that were average at best. The only hope to salvage UConn’s tourney chances was a quality win against Boston College towards the end of the season. However unfortunately, the losses to USF, Memphis and UCF, respectively, were too much to overcome.
At one point in the season, it seemed like the Huskies could go deep into the NCAA tournament. With a 10-3 record and a seven-game win streak in which they had outscored opponents 16-2, UConn had climbed as high as No. 13 in the polls and were seemingly unstoppable.
However, when the attack began to falter and the goals stopped coming after the USF loss on Oct. 15, the Huskies became quite vulnerable to the counterattacks. In fact, one could say a few of their games were decided by a goal or two allowed from the counter. Although UConn often outshot its opponents, the small lapses in concentration tracking back might have been what cost them this season. The lack of goals and vulnerability on defense dropped the Huskies to 11-6-1 at the end of the regular season.
There was still hope after the draw with SMU on senior night, however, seeing as the Huskies could still advance with an automatic bid by winning the American Athletic Conference. Unfortunately, that hope quickly faded away in the semifinals when Tulsa put the nail in the coffin for UConn’s season as a 2-0 defeat meant it was all but over. In fact, Tulsa ended up winning the conference tournament and was the American’s only representation in this year’s NCAA tournament.
By not making the 2016 NCAA tournament, the Huskies have now missed the tourney two of the last three years. This comes after a 15-year stretch of making the NCAA tournament from 1998-2013. Although fans will be disappointed the season ended early this year, the UConn roster is filled with young talent and they will surely be back in contention next year.
Chris Hanna is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.