by Evan Sobol
The Central Connecticut State University Blue Devils earned their first conference victory of the season in a 5-3 rout of Saint Francis University on Sunday. In the second half, CCSU (4-6-2) scored three goals in a span of 15 minutes. The Red Flash (7-5) were less competitive toward the end of the game and could not keep up defensively.
Senior forward Ryan Taylor put Central on the board early with a chip goal in the fourth minute. Taylor gained possession in the box and shot into the lower left corner of the net. It was his third goal of the season.
Mario Mastrangelo answered for Saint Francis in minute 15 with a high shot into the center of the net. It went over the keeper’s head. He met a low cross and was assisted by Tulio Canineu. It was his 11th goal of the season. Mastrangelo is currently tied for third in the nation in total goals scored; just two players have tallied more than him.
Central retook the lead just 25 seconds later with a goal by Andres Albino on the following possession. The sophomore midfielder shot into the right side of the net as he ran left. It was his fourth goal of the season.
Saint Francis tied the game at 2-2 just before halftime with a mid-range goal by Lucas Canineu. Troye Kiernan assisted on the play. It was Canineu’s second goal of the season. The game remained tied until the end of the first half.
Goalkeeper Carson D’Ambrosio provided a spark for Central with a big save in minute 53. Saint Francis was awarded a penalty kick after D’Ambrosio was given a yellow card in the penalty area. He saved the ensuing penalty shot by SFU’s Kiernan. “I’ve been working on those my whole life so I just try and watch their hips, we do a lot of research too, scouting, so we kind of know where their guys might take penalties,” D’Ambrosio said following the game. “I just do my best, we come prepared every game.”
The Blue Devils were an even better team offensively in the second half. They scored three straight goals to make the score 5-2. Senior forward DeShawn Parker scored two of the three goals. On the first goal he met a through ball from Albino and shot into the right side of the net. His second goal in minute 69 was from almost the same spot. It brought his goal tally for the season to four.
Albino scored his second goal of the match in minute 64 with a mid-range strike that bounced off the crossbar into the net. It was his fifth goal of the season. After the game, Albino was named NEC Men’s Soccer Player of the Week.
Saint Francis scored a late goal in minute 85 that trimmed CCSU’s lead to two. Central would hold on for the last five minutes to secure the win.
Head coach Shaun Green said the win was a team effort and that they played much better than they did in Friday’s loss to Robert Morris. “It was more of a team performance, we have a lot of belief in ourself,” said Green. “DeShawn Parker was on fire, I was going to call 911 after he scored his second goal because he really did change the game for us. Filippo Pirola at the back was outstanding.”
Central is currently tied for first in the Northeast Conference after the win. They are tied with five other teams.
The Blue Devils’ next game is on Friday, Oct. 13 against LIU Brooklyn (2-6-2). Green looks forward to the matchup. “They handed us a tough loss last year, I think it was 7-1, so we’ve got a debt to repay against LIU,” he said. The game starts at 4 p.m. at the CCSU Soccer Field.