by Kimberly Pena
Soccer has always been a way of life for Central Connecticut State University women’s soccer team goalie, Ashley Cavanaugh. She has been playing the sport since she was six years old with two of her three sisters in her hometown Belchertown, Massachusetts.
“One of them was actually a goalkeeper too, and the other one played a little bit of goal keeper, but not as much,” Cavanaugh said. “Me and one of my other sisters went to SoccerPlus camps together for years, probably like five years and we both pushed each other so hard.”
But it was her father, Joe Cavanaugh, who pushed his daughter to reach her full potential. Cavanaugh explains it was her father’s continuous support that put her in the position of being CCSU’s goalie, succeeding former Blue Devils superstar Nicki Turley.
Cavanaugh began her first two years as a Blue Devil as a second-string goalie to Turley. In the 2017-18 season and her junior year, she took over the full-time duties as goalie. Although everything has not been perfect for Cavanaugh, it has been a learning experience that she has taken with stride.
“I grow everyday as a player,” Cavanaugh said. “I feel like I have learned a lot from her (Turley) and I kind of carried that into now my junior year and I feel like Hannah (Page) and Rachel (DeBellis), the sophomore and freshman goalkeepers, I feel that they learn from me and I learn from them and I feel like it is nice to keep that rolling.”
Cavanaugh, who is an MA native, decided to come to CCSU because several of her friends from SoccerPlus played at Central, and it was not too far away from home. It also did not hurt that CCSU women’s soccer team head coach Mick D’Arcy, was a coach of Cavanaugh during her years at SoccerPlus, easing the coach-player relationship.
One thing Cavanaugh says that she learned from D’Arcy is to keep the growth mindset, and it has been a message that D’Arcy has spread to the whole team.
“We want the whole team to come out with a growth mindset,” Cavanaugh said. “If we are down a goal, we don’t want to play like we’re down a goal. We are going to win regardless that should be the mindset there. Try hard for everything and work together.”
Cavanaugh and the team are off to a 7-7 record and are 3-2 in conference play. The team got off to a rough start within the conference, making the task of playing forward that much more difficult because the team needs to be perfect from here on out, according to Cavanaugh.
However, she feels it is a task that the team can conquer because of their ability to pull for one another. With only two seasons remaining as a Blue Devil, she hopes to end it the only way she knows how: winning.
“Ultimately the goal is to make the tournament and when we make it to the tournament, the goal is to win the tournament.”