Spring sports in a nutshell: UConn athletics post winning performances 


114 days ago, The Daily Campus produced their last issue for the 2022-23 academic year. Since then, the University of Connecticut produced lottery picks in two different drafts and every sport still in action in early May wrapped up their spring season. With a brand-new UConn athletics year well underway, how did each spring sports season finish? 

Baseball (44-17) 

Despite losing several significant pieces, the Hook C’s potent offense propelled them to their third consecutive Big East regular-season crown at 15-5 and ninth in the nation, their highest ranking since their last College World Series appearance in 1979. 

Regular-season success did not translate into repeated postseason success for the Huskies, as their hopes of a third-straight Big East Championship came up short against the Xavier Musketeers. Even though D1Baseball ranked them 10th in the nation, the Hook C ended up in the Gainesville Regional as a No. 2 seed, getting sent home by the national runners-up Florida Gators. 

Dominic Freeberger took home Big East Player of the Year honors with a .350 regular season batting average, becoming one of seven Huskies (and six graduate students) who earned All-Big East selections. Three of those players additionally received a spot on the ABCA/Rawlings All-Northeast teams alongside UConn’s all-time saves leader Justin Willis. A month after the season ended, two teams selected three Huskies in the MLB Draft and Devin Kirby signed as an undrafted free agent with the Minnesota Twins. 

Softball (34-15) 

Like the Hook C, the softball team worked around numerous veteran losses while maintaining their Big East dominance. For the second consecutive season, UConn exceeded its third-place preseason prediction and won the Big East regular-season championship, this time going 19-5 in conference play. 

But even though the Burrill Family Field hosted the Big East Tournament for the second time in three years, the Villanova Wildcats ended the Huskies’ campaign and kept them from going dancing in the NCAA Tournament for the third time in a row. Despite the disappointing results, All-Big East Second Team selection Aziah James became UConn’s all-time leader in games played, while unanimous All-Big East First Team selection Lexi Hastings eclipsed the recently established single-season steals record. Finishing second in numerous single-season categories, Grace Jenkins gave the Huskies’ their second Big East Freshman of the Year winner in three seasons on top of her All-Big East Second Team nod. 

Outdoor track and field 

Shattering last year’s team point totals, the track and field programs swept both the Big East championships and the Big East Coaching Staff of the Year awards for the second spring in a row. The two dynamic teams combined for 37 individual All-Big East selections across the three-day event, 22 coming on the men’s side and 15 on the women’s. 

Kasey Savage scored 24 total points with a top-three finish in three different events for the men’s team, while Connecticut swept the Most Outstanding Field Performer awards. Colin Winkler broke the Big East Championship record in the javelin, and Emily Lavarnway won six out of seven events in the heptathlon for 5,572 points and a first-place overall finish. At the NCAA East Preliminaries, Winkler became one of three Huskies to qualify for the NCAA Championships alongside Marc Morrison and Wellington Ventura, with each athlete receiving honorable mention a week later. 

Women’s lacrosse (12-7) 

Losing all-time leading goal scorer Sydney Watson barely fazed the women’s lacrosse team, which finished 4-2 in Big East regular season play. Both writing one last chapter in their collegiate careers, Lia Laprise became UConn’s all-time leading scorer and two-time Big East Goalkeeper of the Year Landyn White finished with the program’s second-most wins and saves. 

Outdueling the Marquette Golden Eagles in the Big East Tournament semifinals, the third-seeded Huskies’ automatic bid hopes fell short against the Denver Pioneers in the championship game. Even though their third straight NCAA appearance resulted in another first-round exit, UConn finished 19th in the IWLCA’s Division I final poll. 

Men’s golf 

In fourth place after two days, a rough third round resulted in a ninth-place finish for the men’s golf team at the Big East Championship. Jared Nelson, the Huskies’ first-ever Big East Player of the Year, finished tied for 14th among the 50-player field at five-over par with Tommy Dallahan. 

Across the entire season, the graduate student led the conference with 70.88 strokes per round and six top-10 finishes. Two of those finishes, both in the top two, came in successive invitationals in South Carolina, one of several high points in UConn’s season alongside winning the Big East Match Play tournament. 

Women’s tennis (11-10) 

At .500 after losing their fifth straight team match, the women’s tennis team turned things around and snatched the No. 6 seed in the Big East Tournament. There, the Huskies dismantled the 11th-seeded Seton Hall Pirates before bowing out against the third-seeded Creighton Blue Jays. Overall, UConn went 93-85 in singles matches and 49-37 in doubles action. 

Despite losing four seniors, the Huskies have their foundation for the 2024 season. Core stars Maria Constantinou (21-11 overall), Cameron Didion (20-4) and Olivia Wright (10-8) all return, with three freshmen and a transfer senior ready to help UConn surprise teams next spring. 

Women’s rowing 

The women’s rowing team put together one of their best campaigns in program history, notably winning the varsity four race in their home meet and placing three boats in the grand final of the Knecht Cup. Members of the Coastal Athletic Association since 2019, the Huskies participated in their third conference rowing championship at Saratoga Springs, where they exceeded their 2022 seventh-place performance with 18 team points and a fifth-place overall finish out of nine programs. Anchoring the first varsity eight squad to a fifth-place finish, rising sophomores Emilie Karovic and Emma Paynter gained recognition on the All-CAA Rowing Team. 

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