While the Men's Soccer Team was in the midst of it's most successful era in program history under Joe Morrone, one of his former players was hired to take a fairly successful Women's program into the NCAA Era...Len Tsantiris didn't disappoint. In his 36 years at the helm, he produced 8 Big East Regular Season Championships, Two Tournament Titles, 7 trips to The Women's College Cup Final Four and Four Appearances in the National Championship Game where Anson Dorrance's powerhouse North Carolina Teams always stood in their way of that elusive Title.
In season's two, three and four in Storrs, Tsantiris took his clubs to at least the semis, losing in it's first Finals Appearance to the Heels in 1984. Moira Buckley, Shelley McIlroy, Donna MacDougall, Cathy Shankweiler and Missy Morrone, yes, Joe's daughter were the All Americans of those 80's teams that had great success.
UConn made three more runs to the Final Four in the 1990's...The 90' Team beat Santa Clara in the Semi's. That Bronco Team featured Brandi Chastain....And the Heels ? Well there was this kid from Wilton that went to Chapel Hill and was the National Player of the Year in 1991. Her name ? Kristine Lilly. Beth Grecco and Karen Ferguson were the All Americans from that squad. Ferguson is currently the Head Coach at Louisville. And there was one in waiting in Freshman Karen Warner, who scored the winning PK to beat Santa Clara in the Semi's....
Warner was an AA in her senior year of 1994, along with a group of future All Americans. Christy Rowe (95') , Somers, CT's own Kerry Connors (95 & 96') and maybe the greatest player in the History of UConn Women's Soccer, Sara Whalen (3x AA)who to this day holds the Senior Scoring Records at UConn. Oh yeah, she helped Lilly, Chastain and the rest of U.S. Women's Soccer to a World Cup in 1999.
Whalen's Senior Year of 1997, she along with defenders Chrisy McCann, Carey Dorn and Freshman Mary-Frances Monroe helped carry the Huskies to another Championship Game appearance. Beating fellow conference rival and powerhouse Notre Dame in the Semi's 2-1...And they pushed Carolina to the limit, losing 2-0..Margaret Tietjen was also a solid offensive performer of that 1997 Team....She's now Margaret Rodriquez, the current UConn Women's Soccer Coach
As UConn Women's Soccer transitioned into the 21st century, the success continued..Alexa Borisjuk and Sarah Popper claimed All America honors as UConn beat Notre Dame to win a Big East Tournament Title in 2002. The last Title game appearance for Len Tsantiris and UConn Women's Soccer was 2003 and it wasn't totally expected. Beating BU, CCSU in OT, then taking care of Michigan, BYU and Florida St to reach the Championship Game...again the powerhouse Tar Heels got the better of UConn in the final. Led by a hot shot freshman from New Jersey in Heather O'Reilly. A future player on the National Team...Kristen Graczyk, a 2x AA in 2003 & 04' played a huge roll in the surprise run of 2003.
Since then, Midfield Megan Schnur (07), defender Brittany Taylor (07 & 09') , Forward Stephanie Ribeiro (15' & 16') and Midfielder Rachel Hill (15'16') have been All Americans under Tsantiris....With 2016 being the last time the Huskies appeared in the NCAA Tournament. After winning the American Conference Tournament Championship... Len Tsantiris amassed 570 career victories at UConn, who stepped down after the 2017 season.
A legendary career for a lifetime Husky, Len Tsantiris....on the pitch as a player, on the sideline as Coach....