At the University of Connecticut, several organizations and clubs attract students to their events, from the Student Union Board of Governors (aka SUBOG) to the five cultural centers and two cultural programs located in the Student Union.
The UConn athletics department is no different, but the media recognition some of its teams receive limits the events that an incoming student may want to watch in-person. Attendance at games beyond the basketball court and football field are just as critical, whether it is on the financial or athletic side of the playing surface.
Just like the massive number of academic resources available, here are some of the top UConn Huskies’ games that incoming students should attend this fall semester:
Football vs. Central Connecticut State and Syracuse (Sept. 3 and Sept. 10)
These two home games will put UConn football back on the map with an exclamation point. These are not the same Huskies that went 1-11 last year. Led by new and motivated head coach Jim Mora, the Huskies spent the offseason rebranding themselves into the Husky Revolution. Central Connecticut State may be an FCS opponent, but months of hype around the rebuild may sell out Rentschler Field down to the last ticket. Follow that up with a rivalry game against Syracuse under the lights, where the energy will match that of a Penn State whiteout. A win over Syracuse would send the fanbase into pandemonium, and you do not want to be stuck in Storrs when that happens.
First Night (Date TBA, but approximately October 14)
Remember that pep rally from “Stranger Things” Season 4 Vol. 1? First Night is that, but 20 times more electric. The fans are introduced to the players and coaches from the men’s and women’s basketball teams before they play a scrimmage against each other. You will not be sitting next to random strangers during this exciting night, as attendance is limited exclusively to UConn students. The players and head coaches also fire up the crowd with electric speeches proclaiming that this is their year. It’s a night where the UConn fanbase comes to life for the first time at the Basketball Capital of the World, and you definitely want to see why both teams are being considered title contenders this year.
Men’s Soccer vs. Providence and Georgetown (Oct. 5 and Nov. 2)
Since the last time the UConn men’s soccer team took the pitch, Ray Reid left the program after 26 years and Chris Gbandi, a player from the 2000 national championship squad, inherited the reins. How the Huskies do in Gbandi’s first season depends on a lot of factors, but the big test will be how well they compete against the two best clubs in the conference. The Friars are projected to win the Big East behind Brendan McSorley, while the Hoyas are College Cup contenders. What better way to get involved in the Goal Patrol, UConn soccer’s raucous student section, at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium than to cheer for the Huskies and against the goalies of these east coast powerhouses?
Women’s Soccer vs. Butler (Oct. 16)
The kicker to attending this critical match is revenge. The Huskies have made the Big East tournament in each of their first two seasons back in the conference, but have been eliminated in soul-crushing fashion by the Bulldogs both times. With a high-octane offense and stifling defense, as proven by a 6-0 road drubbing of Syracuse this past Sunday, the Huskies can change the tide in this canine rivalry. If you were not there when the men’s basketball team beat Villanova last year, then this is your chance to see the equivalent of that happening in women’s soccer, especially with the Bulldogs being ranked as of press release.
Women’s Volleyball vs. Creighton (Oct. 7)
On Oct. 16, 2021, the Huskies upset the then- No. 19 ranked Blue Jays at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. It was the first time the Huskies defeated a ranked opponent in what became the best season in program history, one that ended with a semifinal appearance in the National Invitation Volleyball Championship, college volleyball’s National Invitational Tournament. The Huskies have raised the bar this year, and an NCAA tournament bid is heavily on their minds. It is a great way to spend a Friday or Saturday night on campus, and if you have wanted to check out Gampel Pavilion with fans in attendance, this is the best chance to do so before the basketball season commences.
Field Hockey vs. Liberty (Sep. 23)
Field hockey is to fall sports as women’s basketball is to winter sports. Both teams are or were led by Hall-of-Fame head coaches, both have five or more national championships and are always in the polls. The Huskies have important non-conference home games against UNC and Boston College, but conference foe Liberty is the biggest one of them all. Not only because the Flames are projected to win the Big East, but because of last year’s Big East championship game. Liberty took home the conference crown with a nerve-wracking 1-0 victory and ended UConn’s stretch of dominance at 10 years. The Huskies want revenge on the site of their conference runner-up finish, and an upset win would boost their chances of returning to the tournament after a one-year hiatus.
Those are some of the big sporting events UConn has to offer over the fall months. They should not be the only games you attend for each sport as every single contest can either end in a blowout or a nail-biting thriller with no in-between. There are several other teams that I could promote right now, such as the IceBus and HookC (you will figure out which sport is which later), but it would be best to wait until their schedules are released. Until then, make sure to grab those tickets (if necessary) when they come out and make your way to each event. Go Huskies.