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Men’s Soccer Splits Two Conference Games

by Patrick Gustavson

Central Connecticut’s men’s soccer team fell to LIU Brooklyn in a double overtime thriller on Friday, by the score of 3-2.

It was all Blue Devils in the first half, dominating the pace and creating multiple opportunities. They capitalized in minute 32, when DeShawn Parker scored off a cross from Ryan Taylor. The goal is Parker’s third in the last two games.

The Blackbirds came out strong to start the second half, with a score from Naeem Charles on a free kick. Head coach Shaun Green, then began preaching passion and hard work for his team.

“Emotionally, it’s an area where we still need to develop. We have a lot of similar personalities on our squad. What you must have is two or three guys on the team who are driving the team, not physically, but verbally, and we’re working on that,” Green said.

The Blackbirds goal sparked the Blue Devils, who played with far more intensity and retook the lead when defender Filippo Pirola slid through the defense on a corner kick and punched it through for the goal, just his second one of the season.

Just when it appeared the Blue Devils had the game won, a penalty was called in the box with just under three minutes left to play in regulation, much to the dismay of the Blue Devils bench. Rasmus Hansen buried a shot past goalkeeper Carson D’Ambrosio, tying the game for the Blackbirds.

Following a scoreless first overtime period, it appeared the game was destined to finished in a draw. With just under three minutes to play in the second overtime, Chris Solbakken scored on a header on a corner kick.

Despite the loss, Green was pleased with his team’s performance. “We’ve been playing well, and LIU has been one of the perennial teams in the conference over the last couple of years. We had them for a large portion of the game, so I’m not that concerned about our performance. They did everything but score that goal, but I think we outplayed them in overtime. It’s the cruelty of soccer: you can outplay a team and end up losing.”

The Blue Devils then traveled to Sacred Heart on Sunday, where they shut out the Pioneers en route to a 1-0 victory.

The lone goal of the game was scored by midfielder Andres Muriel Albino, in minute 43. Following a two-goal performance against Saint Francis U, Albino has being named NEC offensive player of the week.

However, it was the defense that propelled the Blue Devils to victory. They limited the Pioneers to just ten shots on the day, with none on goal, leaving D’Ambrosio to record zero saves in the shutout effort.

Following the pair of games, the Blue Devils are now 5-7-2 overall, and 2-2 in NEC conference play, placing them right in the thick of things.

Looking forward, Green believes they are contenders in the NEC and that they need to stick to their game plan. “Our goal is to get in the playoffs. Once we get in the playoffs, we’ll reestablish our goals. But all those goals are secondary until we reach the playoffs.”