Led by first-year head coach Jim Mora, the UConn football team turned their program around and qualified for their first bowl game since 2015. Even amidst the injuries the team faced in their passing and running games, which included losing their starting quarterback on their second drive of the season and multiple running backs, the Huskies found a way to succeed, as Zion Turner and Victor Rosa, among others, made significant contributions. Even the defense, but especially the linebacker department, played a part in helping get the Husky Revolution televised, as Jackson Mitchell finished fourth in the country with 140 total tackles. Although Connecticut came up short in the Myrtle Beach Bowl, this past season marked the start of Mora’s long-term plan to bring the program back to national relevance. With a new mantra in the Reload, UConn’s future continues to get brighter as the bar gets set substantially higher.
A five-game winless streak seemed to have left the men’s soccer team out to dry back in September, but a strong finish to the regular season helped the Huskies finish with a solid 7-7-3 overall record and almost earned a bid to the Big East tournament as the highest-finishing team to not qualify. After finishing as Connecticut’s leader on offense, Frantz Pierrot departed the program after being selected by the Houston Dynamo in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft, while defensive standout Jayden Reid also signed an MLS Homegrown Deal with the New York Red Bulls. Mateo Leveque, Okem Chime and Moussa Wade are all set to take major steps forward next season in facilitating the offense next season, while Guillaume Vacter could see an increased role on defense. Jayden Hibbert will be tasked with being an everyday goalkeeper for Chris Gbandi’s team.
The season concluded in similar fashion to last year, with stretches of strong progress and impressive performances ultimately not leading to much on paper. The Huskies once again failed to make the NCAA tournament, having last appeared in 2016, yet they still boast the second most appearances by a program overall with 27 in their history. They started out 5-2-1, though finished 8-6-4. After finishing over .500 in conference play last year, they managed a 4-4-2 record in Big East play this time. Connecticut lost against both ranked teams they played, 3-0 against No. 4 South Carolina and 1-0 against No. 19 Georgetown. UConn also fell to St. John’s in penalty kicks in the first BET game, a team they had lost 1-0 against earlier in the year. Most of their core appears set to return next season, a team that includes Jada Konte (All-Big East), Chioma Okafor (All-Big East, third team All-New England), Lucy Cappadona (first team All-New England) and Jessica Mazo (third team All-New England). Mazo also was invited to Columbia’s national team camp, the only current Division-I athlete to receive such an honor. The incoming recruits appear to be exciting as well, with all eight receiving praise at the state and even national levels for their high school and club performance.
This was a good overall year for the Huskies, as they won quite a few games against ranked opponents and finished the year 11-7. They ended with a national rank of 15, on par with preseason expectations, but ended up falling short when the Big East Tournament came around, as they lost to their kryptonite in the Liberty Flames. They fought hard all year and had lots of impressive wins, like ones against No. 7 Harvard, No. 24 Delaware, No. 14 Old Dominion, and No. 16 William & Mary. Behind their leading scorer Julia Bressler and their brick wall goalie Cheyenne Sprecher, the Huskies did a lot of damage this year and, since most of their core will be returning, hope to do even more damage and potentially claim a top-10 spot in the country.
Having a rocky start at the start of Big East play going 0-5, the UConn volleyball team turned it around to advance all the way to the Big East semifinals. Caylee Parker was the anchor for UConn all season, finishing her career at UConn second in program history in kills with 1,707 and was named Honorable Mention All-Region. The Huskies also had two other players reach the 1K+ club with Karly Berkland earning 1,000 digs and Madi Whitmire surpassing 1,000 assists. UConn had their hot moments where they reached an eight game win streak and completed a sweep of the Dog Pound Invitational at Gampel Pavilion. Connecticut made a run in the Big East Tournament but their season ended in the semifinals when they fell to No. 1 Marquette. The Huskies finished with a 17-14 overall record and fifth in the Big East conference.
The team hurdled a demanding season as they held their own against dynamic counterparts. The Huskies, headlined by the arrival of director and 30-year veteran Beth Alford-Sullivan, managed to win the season opener. The team went on to earn second place in Providence, fourth in Iona and sixth in Virginia. Although the women didn’t achieve any first place marks, they consistently scored within the top half of teams and achieved an impressive record for the small calvary they wielded. The team rounded the season out with a third place finish at the Big East Championships. The trio of the season, Chloe Thomas, Jenna Zydanowicz and Randi Burr were the runners to watch as they led the charge of Huskies. While duo Thomas and Zydanowicz have a couple of seasons left, the loss of senior Burr next season will prove a difficult spot to fulfill in coming years.
Incoming Sports Editor
This year has been heralded as one of the more disappointing seasons in recent UConn women’s basketball history, but it wasn’t without cause. The Huskies were plagued with injuries since the summer when Paige Bueckers tore her ACL and it didn’t stop there. Several starters missed considerable time and there was little continuity, preventing the team from gelling. When Azzi Fudd was healthy at the start of the season, UConn beat three top-10 teams including eventual runner-up Iowa, but without Fudd at full strength, the team didn’t have what it took. Lou Lopez-Sénéchal had a phenomenal season in her own right and became a top-five WNBA pick. Aaliyah Edwards had an incredible year too, becoming Connecticut’s 26th ever All-American. Nika Mühl shattered the program’s season assist record
, with 291. There were numerous great individual performances, but the team broke the 14-year Final Four streak with a Sweet 16 loss.
Incoming Associate Sports Editor
The 2022-23 UConn men’s basketball squad experienced a dream season, even when it didn’t feel that way at times. It included 14 straight wins where they climbed to the top of the college basketball standings. After their first loss on Dec. 31 to Xavier, they’d then be defeated in four of their next five games, including a shocking 85-74 loss at the XL Center to St. John’s. However, the tides turned and even with many doubting the team after a tough defeat in the Big East Tournament to Marquette, no foe stood a chance against the Huskies in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Connecticut put on a show and destroyed their opponents, coupled with elite team depth and fantastic play stars like Jordan Hawkins and Adama Sanogo. That dominance would result in trophy No. 5 in Storrs and a season to remember for Husky fans everywhere.
The UConn men’s hockey season got off to the best start in program history after opening with a 5-0-1 record. They got as high as No. 7 on the USCHO Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Rankings. A major highlight to the season was the official opening of the Toscano Family Ice Forum, the on-campus hockey arena. Additionally, the Ice Bus got to play in some of the most famous sports locations with the Frozen Apple at Madison Square Garden and the Frozen Fenway at Fenway Park. Despite some bumps in the road at times, UConn played consistent hockey all season, finishing fourth in Hockey East play. Hudson Schandor and Ryan Tverberg were two of the Huskies’ strongest competitors. The Ice Bus’ season ended in the HE quarterfinals against UMass Lowell. The Huskies finished the season with a 20-12-2 overall record and just got a small glimpse of what their potential could have been.
After falling to Northeastern in the 2022 Hockey East Championship game, the UConn women’s hockey team sought their first Hockey East Championship season. After losing their exhibition game by one goal to Quinnipiac, the Huskies started the regular season 4-0, sweeping RIT and Stonehill. They had some struggles in October, but had a hot November with sweeps over Boston College and Providence. They closed their time at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum with a 2-1 loss to Boston University. Their record stood at 13-8-2 as they played their first game at the Toscano Family Ice Forum, defeating Merrimack by a score of 4-2. They finished fifth in the Hockey East, but broke their three-season streak of winning at least one game in the conference tournament, falling to Boston College 4-3. Coryn Tormala ended her UConn career leading the team with 11 assists this season, tying for most points with junior Jada Habisch. While receiving votes in the final USCHO Poll, Connecticut peaked at 12th in the rankings on Nov. 14.
It was a season for the books as the team took home their second consecutive Big East Championship title and continuously smashed records week in and week out. The Huskies dominated the indoor season as they rounded up 14 gold medal finishes at the Championships and 30 individual. Mahamed Sharif was the sole competitor to go on to run at Nationals in the 800 meter race. As the Huskies finished the indoor season, they walked away with four school records, 21 personal records and 22 athletes in the top-10 all-time indoor record books. As the heavily decorated Huskies turned to the spring season, they rode the championship wave. The Huskies have continued the mojo this spring and are far from finished as the season is still underway. The exit of seniors Wellington Ventura, James Maniscalco and Emily Lavarnway will be massive shoes to fill for the team in the coming seasons.
Swimming and Diving
UConn’s swim and dive team had a season to remember, including an undefeated regular season. None of the meets that Connecticut participated in were close, score-wise. This past season marks a new era in the Huskies program, as this was head diving coach David McKown’s first year with the program. McKown was excellent, capturing Women’s Diving Coach of the Year, and sophomore Julia Pioso was named Big East Diver of the Year. While the scoreboard at the end of meets sometimes looked lopsided, that didn’t tell the entire story, as timewise, UConn won by razor-thin margins. Take the 800-yard freestyle relay in the Big East Championship. UConn took silver in this event by less than five seconds and, subsequently, a second-place Big East Championship finish. This season was defined by these close finishes, many of which UConn found themselves on the right side of. With their strong finish and successful season, the outlook for this team is only up, and fans should be excited to cheer the women on and aspire to return to championship glory.
For a team that lost their entire weekend rotation and several hitters in their lineup after falling nine innings shy of the College World Series, one would expect a regression from the UConn baseball team. Instead, the offense has helped the Huskies exceed expectations as the program sits No. 10 according to D1Baseball, their highest ranking in any poll in 44 years. Whether it is the power from Luke Broadhurst or Dominic Freeberger seeing the ball well, the Hook C’s offense has helped the team win all but one weekend series heading into May. Even with questionable pitching, no starter has an ERA lower than 4.25. With 13 games left in the regular season and a 32-11 record as of April 29, Connecticut hopes to make their first College World Series appearance since 1979.
UConn Softball holds a 31-13 overall record for 2023, earning them their second straight 30+ win season under Laura Valentino. After securing the No. 1 overall seed in the Big East tournament last season, UConn fell to Villanova in the Championship game. It’s been a revenge tour for the Huskies this season and they’ve continued to get better throughout it. First year twins Hope and Grace Jenkins have made an impact since joining the team, graduate outfielder Aziah James arguably had her best season to date and sophomore Lexi Hastings found a way to improve from her stellar 2022 campaign. The Huskies are firing on all cylinders, earning themselves an 18-5 conference record with three Big East games left. They have fought hard in every game they’ve played, earning comeback wins against Butler on a sixth inning two-run single from Savannah Ring and Georgetown when Jana Sanden and Grace Jenkins brought in two runs to walk it off in the seventh. This team will continue to make noise with the Big East tournament just around the corner.
Incoming Sports Editor
In year one without Sydney Watson, things went about as well as UConn women’s lacrosse could have hoped. Even though they still have a postseason to play, they finished their scheduled games with a record of 11-5, led by breakout senior Kate Shaffer. She had 15 more points than the Huskies’ second best performer on the team, a testament to her strong play. The Huskies started out beating weaker teams and losing to ranked opposition, before beating No. 15 Yale. They lost the letdown game to Cornell, but then strung together four consecutive wins. Back-to-back games against No. 3 Denver and No. 24 Marquette were a tough way to get conference play going, as they had a 1-2 record halfway through. Things calmed down and the Huskies delivered three straight beatdowns to the underbelly of the Big East. Now, they face a revenge date with Marquette in the Big East Tournament.
Finishing in second place in two out of their last three invitationals, the UConn golf team is rolling into this weekend’s Big East Championship at Riverton Pointe Golf and Country Club. On the season, Connecticut has recorded six top-10 finishes and look to be crowned as Big East Champions for the second time in three years. Connecticut’s spring season has been highlighted by second place finishes at the Bash at the Beach and the Desert Mountain Collegiate, along with top five finishes at the Doc Glimmer and Hartford Hawks invitationals. The Huskies are led by Jared Nelson, who leads the Big East this season with a 70.68 per round average. The graduate student from Rutland, Vermont, has 19 top-10 finishes across his collegiate career and is looking to finish his UConn career with a second Big East Championship.
The UConn women’s tennis season has been filled with ups and downs. The Huskies started the year off a dominant 7-2 only to drop five in a row and fall to 7-7. Even with those tremendous swings in momentum, the Huskies managed to push forward and fight their way to a respectable 11-10 record. They even took a round in the playoffs, getting much further than they expected to be when the year started. Thanks to stellar play from Maria Constantinou and Cameron Didion, UConn held on to hope in their season as long as they did. With quite a few seniors graduating, it will be interesting to see how this team grows from the middling season they had. Maybe they will find new energy when they hit the courts next year and play completely differently with an extra year of experience in their back pockets.