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Women's soccer preseason poll

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The UConn Blog reports that UConn women's soccer is No. 14 in the preseason United Soccer Coaches poll (formerly known as the NSCAA poll).

UConn Women’s Soccer Ranked No. 14 in United Soccer Coaches Poll

Personally, I think they are way overrating UConn women's soccer in this poll. Last year UConn was the best team in women's soccer in the AAC and an NCAA tourney worthy team, but over the course of the year they proved that they couldn't really hang with top 20 teams.

This season's team has a major rebuilding project going on with the loss of almost all their offense with the graduation of All-Americans Rachel Hill and Stephanie Ribeiro, not to mention the best goalkeeper in the AAC (and the best at UConn since Stephanie Labbe, who has long been a fixture on the Canadian national team) Emily Armstrong. For UConn to be as good as this poll thinks they will be, the incoming players will need to be very good, and play well from the start. While I'm a fan of the team, I'm skeptical and just don't see it happening. I hope I'm wrong, but I expect this season to be a real struggle.
 
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UCONN did gain a great UMaine midfielder with experience on the German national team.
I've read some good things about Vivien Beil, who had 3 goals and 2 assists last year for UMaine. She very well could be a very nice addition in the midfield. However, Hill and Ribeiro totaled 94 points between the two of them. UConn top two returning point getters (Casimiro and Urbanek) each had 4 points. Life in soccer is much easier when you have consistent goal scorers like Hill and Ribeiro. Where the goal and assist production on this team is going to come from is a very big question.
 
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The AAC women's soccer preseason poll is out. UConn is picked to finish 5th, and received no first place votes. Also, no UConn players were voted to the 14 player preseason all conference team. That's a big come down to a team that dominated the AAC last year. The AAC coaches don't share the same enthusiasm for UConn women's soccer that the national United Soccer Coaches preseason poll had which came out last week, in which the Huskies came in with a No. 14 ranking. In that poll UConn was the only AAC team that was ranked.

Memphis Chosen as Favorite in 2017 American Athletic Conference Women’s Soccer Preseason Coaches’ Poll

Women's Soccer Fifth In Preseason American Poll
 
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The AAC women's soccer preseason poll is out. UConn is picked to finish 5th, and received no first place votes. Also, no UConn players were voted to the 14 player preseason all conference team. That's a big come down to a team that dominated the AAC last year. The AAC coaches don't share the same enthusiasm for UConn women's soccer that the national United Soccer Coaches preseason poll had which came out last week, in which the Huskies came in with a No. 14 ranking. In that poll UConn was the only AAC team that was ranked.

Memphis Chosen as Favorite in 2017 American Athletic Conference Women’s Soccer Preseason Coaches’ Poll

Women's Soccer Fifth In Preseason American Poll
That's a pretty ridiculous discrepancy. I predict a borderline Top 25 team and no worse than 2nd in a mediocre AAC.
 
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That's a pretty ridiculous discrepancy. I predict a borderline Top 25 team and no worse than 2nd in a mediocre AAC.
I suspect the AAC coaches are closer to the mark than the national poll. Having no players on the preseason all conference team in a conference that gets no respect nationally speaks volumes to me.
 
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I suspect the AAC coaches are closer to the mark than the national poll. Having no players on the preseason all conference team in a conference that gets no respect nationally speaks volumes to me.
I don't see any chance of UCONN finishing less than 3rd in the AAC. 5th is ridiculous. I place little faith in AAC coaches who have done very little in conference since the start of the AAC. It's similar to trusting Diaco's pre-season AAC football thoughts/rankings.
 
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I don't see any chance of UCONN finishing less than 3rd in the AAC. 5th is ridiculous. I place little faith in AAC coaches who have done very little in conference since the start of the AAC. It's similar to trusting Diaco's pre-season AAC football thoughts/rankings.
For UConn to be a borderline top 25 team, or for that matter, to make a run at the NCAA tournament, someone on that team will need to become the next Rachel Hill. I didn't see that sort of talent in the returning players, and it is asking a lot of the freshmen and the other incoming players.
 
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For UConn to be a borderline top 25 team, or for that matter, to make a run at the NCAA tournament, someone on that team will need to become the next Rachel Hill. I didn't see that sort of talent in the returning players, and it is asking a lot of the freshmen and the other incoming players.
But I have no reason to believe anyone else in the AAC will be any better this year. UCONN can and should place in the top 2 of that league, which will give them the votes to be a borderline Top 25 team. In terms of the NCAA tourney, I think they make it and exit in the second round.
 
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It's hard to believe we we're once the #2 women's soccer program in the country after UNC. Now 5th place in the AAC. We got mauled when we faced Power 5 opponents last year with Hill.
 
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If UConn women's soccer is an NCAA tourney quality team, they hid it quite well in tonight's preseason game against Boston College, a middling ACC team last year. The Huskies lost 4-0. Granted, UConn was running players in and out of the game, but there was very little offensive continuity or pressure shown by the Huskies, which helped BC enormously in this game. UConn had only one or two solid scoring threats during the whole game. UConn did have a penalty kick late in the game, but Samantha Toole had her shot blocked by the BC goalkeeper. While I'm sure the teamwork will improve as the UConn players get used to each other, I really have a bad feeling that it could be a long, long season. If the Huskies have star talent on this team, I didn't spot it tonight.
 
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10 years ago UConn was the 2nd best program in the Big East behind Notre Dame.

Now we are mauled to death against BC and Rutgers. West Virginia was in the women's College Cup last year.

4 of our major sport programs in major decline as a result of conference realignment. Irreparable harm caused and no one with any power does or did anything about it.
 
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10 years ago UConn was the 2nd best program in the Big East behind Notre Dame.

Now we are mauled to death against BC and Rutgers. West Virginia was in the women's College Cup last year.

4 of our major sport programs in major decline as a result of conference realignment. Irreparable harm caused and no one with any power does or did anything about it.
I also think that the long delay in bringing online the new soccer stadium has really damaged the women's soccer program, much more so than the men's program. The soccer facility is something that should have been taken care of when UConn was in the Big East, but wasn't.
 
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Chris Henderson has come out with his predictions for the AAC on the Allwhitekit.com website. Henderson has written and tweeted huge amounts of stuff on women’s soccer over the last several years. Henderson has UConn finishing 7th in the league, thus missing the post season AAC tournament.

Henderson’s comments on UConn in the AAC preview:

"Nobody that returns had more than seventeen shots last year, creating some serious worries as to where the goals are coming from this season. It’s likely going to be up to a couple of additions to supply the goals. Kess Elmore is an English youth international from Liverpool’s academy system and should certainly get chances to shine early here. The other big offensive addition is German Vivien Beil, a transfer from Maine, who was a dominant player in the America East but who also didn’t really put up huge numbers on the stat sheet. Alexa Casimiro and Sabrina Toole are among the returners in midfield, and they’ll be joined by Sophia Danyko-Kulchycky, one of this UConn freshman class’ top new recruits.

Things aren’t much better defensively, where the Huskies have to replace AAC co-Defensive Player of the Year Toriana Patterson, a late bloomer who turned into an excellent center-back. Kristen Vinciguerra won plaudits for her play last season as a rookie but may be needed in the attack this year, while Liane Keegans could reprise her role in central defense this year. Out wide, Heidi Druehl should continue on, while Alana Moore could also be used on the backline or in midfield if needed. There’s change in the goal as well, with the talented Emily Armstrong graduating. The Huskies signed senior transfer Courtney Hofer from TCU, but there’s not much of a safety net behind her, with the depth coming from redshirt freshmen Mollie Kerrigan and Randi Palacios.

It looks like a dreaded rebuilding year for the Huskies, who are going to really be depending on some newcomers to hit the ground running and for some career years for returners. They seem too well coached to totally fall off a cliff, but it might be a battle to just reach the AAC Tournament.”

NCAA – 2017 AAC Preview

It should be noted that several players mentioned above (Kess Elmore, Alexa Casimiro, Heidi Druehl, and Courtney Hofer) did not play due to injuries in the preseason games this past weekend. I'm especially interested to see what Elmore can do.
 
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Losing at home to Yale. Impressive start for Len in his 37th year.
The idea of this Husky team being ranked at all at this point in the season is pretty laughable. UConn played to a 1-1 tie in their first game of the season at Syracuse Monday night. From what I gathered from the game tracker from that match the UConn offense generated a fair amount of offense opportunities that night. Not in today's game against Yale. UConn offense generated little in the way of quality chances today, and there seemed to be little in the way of offensive cohesion that generates true pressure on the defense. As for the Husky defense, UConn has a habit of the defense breaking down leaving the goalkeeper in great peril. This happened about 4 times against Yale today, with the Yale goal occurring the first time this happened today.

This looks like it could be a very long season. It is a pretty young team as well. There look like there are some interesting players who look interesting. They could develop into something good, but it is no sure thing. They may be a good team in the future, or maybe not. But right now things do not look good at all. UConn's next game is Sunday at Rutgers. I'm not sure if WHUS is going to carry the game. But considering how UConn played today and considering Rutgers is a ranked team, this match has the potential to get real ugly from a Husky perspective.
 
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UConn women's soccer lost to St. John's yesterday in New Britain 1-0 to give them a 0-3-1 start. There have been only two seasons in their history where the team has finished under .500, 2008 (7-9-6) and 2011 (7-8-2). So there is a definite possibility that this team could end up with its worst record in its history. The team has only scored one goal in its four games so far, so as expected, offense has been a big problem.

That being said, from looking at the box scores and listening to the St. John's game, the team is creating some offensive chances pretty much in every game except the Yale loss. For instance, against St. Johns, UConn outshot the other side 13-6 with 6 shots on goal and 6 corner kicks. They had a similar advantage in offensive production against Syracuse in the opening game. A ranked Rutgers team outshot and out cornered UConn in their game in New Jersey, but it did seem that at least UConn had some offensive chances in that game as well even though there is no question that they were outplayed in that game. Of course, I thought the offense looked horrible in the Yale loss. While my expectations remain low for squad, there is always a chance that this young team might start to figure out a way to start converting on the chances that this team has been generating on offense. If it does, it won't be a completely lost season.
 
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UConn women's soccer finally finds someone that they can score multiple goals against, coming up with a 3-0 win tonight at Central Connecticut to get the team its first win on the season. The freshman from England, Kess Elmore gets two goals in the win. Next up is a step way up in class with a home game against a very tough Arkansas team.
 
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UConn beats Arkansas 2-1 in overtime! Freshman Kess Elmore gets the game winner. UConn got the first goal of the game from Alexa Casimiro 35 minutes into the game. Up until that time it sounded like UConn was playing Arkansas evenly. After that goal, the Arkansas offense took over the game, badly outshooting and out cornering the Huskies, getting a goal early in the second half. However, in the first overtime Elmore scored on a counter to give UConn a big quality win.
 
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I was thrilled by the win last night against Arkansas, but I'd be hard pressed to claim our girls deserved the win. I'd like to say bad things about Arkansas, who play a kinda ugly game (see Elmore's interview) -- and the Arkansas fans are really scaly, hope they stay home in future -- but they have some consistent scoring ideas like corners and long throws that the Huskies played right into ... over and over.

I'll grant that Coach knows his business well, but I was surprised by whom he played and who not. For example, McCarthy and Gottwik try hard and know what they're doing, but never got on the field? And some really good players were cycled through pretty quickly: Vinciguerra and Altrui come to mind: Vinciguerra plays hard all over the field, and Altrui is fast and hungry. Injuries?
 

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Losing at home to Yale. Impressive start for Len in his 37th year.
Any comment about the win Wednesday
or you just like to dwell on the losses
 
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UConn played Fordham to a 2-2 tie today in the Bronx. Following the win against Arkansas, that is not exactly good news. It does seem like it will be an up and down team all season for this young team. The one piece of good news is the apparent emergence of the freshman from England, Kess Elmore, as the go to goal scorer for the team. She scored both UConn goals today, which gives her five in the last 3 games. Elmore did not play in the preseason games or in the first two regular season matches. The team began the season with no idea where the goal scoring was going to come from, so now it would appear that at least we have something of an answer to that question.
 
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I mentioned before that it seemed that it was going to be an up and down year for UConn women's soccer. Things did not improve any over the last two games, an overtime loss to a pretty good Long Beach State team and then today's tie against Colorado College. With a 2-4-3 non conference record after the games this weekend, it seems the downs are starting to far outnumber the ups.

I went to today's game. Against Colorado College the offense generated a goodly number of shots, but it should be noted that that at least to my untrained eye it doesn't seem that there is sustained offensive pressure near the penalty box, and that the opposing goalkeeper did not seemed to be taxed into making all that many difficult saves. Out of 23 UConn shots, only 5 were on goal. As for UConn's passing, that area still leaves much to be desired. While I am hardly a soccer expert, the team just seems to give away way too many balls through either soft or sloppy passes.

As for the defense, it seems that every game I go to, the UConn defense somehow allows at least one breakaway situation where goalkeeper Mollie Kerrigan is left out to dry in trying to stop a one on one goal scoring situation. It happened again today, and once again such a situation resulted in a goal for Colorado College.

The one saving grace is that it is a young team that also has a few first year transfers thrown in as well, so maybe as the season runs along the players might improve both individually and through better teamwork. At this point, I'm not really counting on it at least for this season. The AAC tournament is about a month and a half away, and the top six teams in the league make that tourney. At this point, from what I am seeing, while I hope to be proved wrong, I am not expecting UConn to be one of those six teams.
 
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