The UConn men’s soccer team is set to play their second game of the week Friday, as they head back to Dillon Stadium to take on Columbia University. The Huskies are coming off a strong performance against Manhattan College in which they came out on top 2-0 and will look to add another win to their total against the Lions.
Despite getting off to a slow start, UConn’s head coach Ray Reid said he still has plenty of confidence in his team for the rest of the season.
“I’ve got great trust in them,” Reid said. “[They’re] a great group of guys, a lot of talent [and] we’re starting to blend together now [so] I’ve got a lot of trust.”
The Huskies (3-3-0) are led by seniors Jordan Hall and Dayonn Harris on the offensive side, the two having been responsible for all but two of UConn’s nine goals on the season with Hall scoring seven of his own with Harris dishing out the assists on six. But the team goes much deeper than that and has tested out several different lineups, sometimes going 15 men deep into the bench to give the team a spark.
In their last game, the spark came from midfielder Cole Venner, who kept the team’s composure in the midfield and even scored his first goal of the season, one that sealed the victory for the Huskies against Manhattan. Reid spoke on how important the bench can be for the team’s success.
“We’ve got a lot of depth and we’re always trying to rotate guys in and out,” Reid said.
Looking at Columbia (0-2-2), they have not had a particularly strong start to the season, tying Omaha and Army and losing to Creighton and No. 19 St. John’s. They are led by sophomore midfielder Sebastian Gunbeyi, who has two goals in just three shots for the Lions, and senior midfielder Danny Laranetto, who scored his lone goal of the season in their last game against St. John’s.
The Huskies will have to remain strong on both ends of the field, something that shouldn’t be too hard for this team to accomplish. When asked what his team’s strongest trait was, Reid took a second to think of his response, but it remained a simple and confident one.
“Toughness,” Reid said. “Mental toughness.”
With another win under their belt, Reid has high hopes for this team as the season continues, the impact of momentum playing a huge part in that.
“[Momentum] plays a big role,” Reid said. “We’re also getting Blaise [Ngauge] and all these guys back now and I really think that’s gonna help us too.”
The two teams are 1-1 all time when facing each other, the last game ending in a 4-0 win for UConn. The Huskies will look to make it two in a row this Friday, with kickoff set for 7 p.m. at Dillon Stadium.
Conner Gilson is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.