First of all, welcome freshmen to the University of Connecticut! As you settle in to begin the best four years of your life, there are so many events to attend, and with one of the best athletic programs in the nation, you may find it difficult to pick out which sporting events are must-sees. From basketball to football, soccer to hockey, here are some of the most notable UConn athletic events:
Men’s soccer vs. Holy Cross & No. 12 Vermont (Aug. 27, 7 p.m. & Oct. 3, 7 p.m.)
Many already know how successful the men’s and women’s basketball teams are, but what should not be overlooked is the history of the men’s soccer team. They have three national championships and seven conference tournament championships. Each of the last three coaches have had successful careers, and head coach Chris Gbandi looks to improve in his second season with the team. Their home opener will be Holy Cross, but the toughest home matchup will be when nationally-ranked Vermont comes to town in October. Both are night games, and I advise you to attend both.
Football vs. NC State & USF (Aug. 31, 7:30 p.m. & Oct. 21, 3:30 p.m.)
Jim Mora’s team is coming off their first bowl season since 2015 and returns key players such as linebacker Jackson Mitchell and a deep running back group. The Huskies had a 5-1 record at home last season, including an upset win over an ACC team in Boston College. They’ll host the NC State Wolfpack under the lights of Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field on the final day of August. UConn and USF have shared a conference from 2005 to 2020, and will compete in a mid-afternoon homecoming game in East Hartford. Both Homecoming and Senior Day are the most anticipated games, but the team should get as much support as possible, especially against a former conference foe. These two games will also be two of Connecticut’s toughest tests at home this season, so be sure to show your support and pack the Rent.
Volleyball vs. Hofstra & No. 12 Marquette (Sept. 1, 7 p.m. & Sep. 30, 1 p.m.)
UConn will be coming off a trip to Athens, Georgia, as it opens its final season at Gampel Pavilion (they will be moving to the Freitas Ice Forum in 2024). The team went 17-14 last season, with a strong record of 9-2 at home. The Huskies will host Hofstra to begin the home schedule, but the challenge will be Marquette at the end of September.
Women’s soccer vs. New Hampshire (Sept. 3, 7 p.m.)
Even though the team also hosts Army on Aug. 31, I want to make sure that you can attend all of these games, and it’s throwback night at Morrone Stadium. The team went 8-6-4 last season, but looks to improve on that record this season with a bunch of Northeast teams, headlined by New Hampshire.
Field hockey vs. Georgetown (Sept. 24, 12 p.m.)
UConn was ranked 15th in the final RPI rankings last season with an 11-7 record. The Huskies begin at home on Sept. 1 against Rutgers, but late afternoon might not work for students with their academic schedules. The game I’d advise going to is against Delaware at noon. Make sure to show your support against the Blue Hens.
Women’s ice hockey vs. Boston College (Oct. 14, 2 p.m.)
Oct. 14 begins a hockey doubleheader on campus with the women’s team facing Boston College in the afternoon. Tia Chan is one of the best goaltenders in the country, not just the Hockey East, and will help lead the Huskies this season in her junior year.
Men’s ice hockey vs. Holy Cross & Merrimack (Oct. 14, 7 p.m. & Nov. 10)
The Huskies had a roller-coaster season last year, going 20-12-3 and losing in the Hockey East Quarterfinals. However, this year is loaded with games to attend, especially in the brand-new Toscano Family Ice Forum. Like men’s soccer, the home opener is against Holy Cross. However, Merrimack will be one of the toughest tests for the Huskies all season, so show your support!
Men’s & women’s basketball First Night (TBD, sometime in October)
The men’s basketball team is coming off their fifth national championship and is considered one of the favorites to cut the nets down in Arizona in April. On the other side, Geno Auriemma’s team will see Paige Bueckers finally return after dealing with an injury last season. They will also have Azzi Fudd, Aaliyah Edwards and Nika Mühl back, securing them as one of the favorites to cut down the nets in Cleveland. For both teams, they will welcome some exciting newcomers. For the men’s basketball team, consensus five-star recruit Stephon Castle is expected to make an instant impact as a freshman starting guard for the defending champions. For the women’s team, freshman guard KK Arnold has been said as a possible replacement for Bueckers in two years. She’s the No. 8 ranked recruit in the 2023 class according to ESPN. One of the biggest transfers of the offseason was Rutgers transfer Cam Spencer, who is a sharpshooter who was one of the Scarlet Knights’ leading scorers last season. He will most certainly be in the starting lineup to begin the season.