All posts by Evan Sobol

Women Fall In NEC Semifinals

by Evan Sobol 

The Central Connecticut State University Women’s soccer team fell 2-1 to conference opponent Saint Francis on Friday in the Northeast Conference Semifinals. The Blue Devils pushed for a comeback late but fell short. They finished the season 10-8 with a 6-2 record in the NEC. All six of their conference wins were consecutive.

The game was scoreless until the second half. The Red Flash got on the board in minute 56. Midfielder Mariana Jaleca scored from inside the box into the left side of the net, her second goal of the season. Alyssa McGhee provided the assist. Saint Francis scored again just ten minutes later in minute 66 when Gabi Morales scored off a corner kick for her seventh goal of the season. These are the first goals Central’s Ashley Cavanaugh gave up since Oct. 1. She recorded six straight shutouts in this span.

Central’s lone goal came in minute 84 when freshman forward Jenna Rae Covello found a through pass in the box. It was her fifth goal of the season. Laura Casanovas Diaz provided the assist, her third of the season.

The Blue Devils’ 10-8 record is their best since 2014. During their six-game win streak they outscored opponents 13-0. Numerous players earned awards as well.

Cavanaugh was awarded the NEC Goalkeeper of the Year award. In 17 games this season, she recorded 62 saves and allowed less than a goal per game with a 0.72 goal allowed average. Her record this season was 9-7 with nine total shutouts. Head Coach Mick D’Arcy recollected on her play this season. “She did not record a lot of saves, but one or two big saves in each game, especially during the win streak. She’s also a good leader to have.”

Senior defender Jennifer Cafferky was awarded NEC Defensive Player of the Year for the fourth time. The Boras, Sweden native has played in 67 games for the Blue Devils and has scored 6 goals. “Winning the award four years in a row is unprecedented. She is a fantastic player overall and I enjoyed to coach her,” said D’Arcy.

Cavanaugh and Cafferky were named to the NEC First Team All-Conference along with fellow Blue Devil Kelly Halligan. In 17 games the senior scored two goals and recorded four assists.

Even though the offseason is approaching, D’Arcy pointed out it is an important time for the players. “It’s important for players to look at the offseason not as a break but an opportunity to get better.”

The women will have a couple games in the spring to help bolster their skills before the regular season starts up again.

Men Fall Short Of NEC Tournament

by Evan Sobol 

The Central Connecticut State University Men’s Soccer team ended their season with a 0-0 draw at NEC opponent Bryant on Friday in a game that lasted two overtimes. Central finished the season 5-8-4 overall with a 2-3-2 record in the Northeast Conference.

The Blue Devils got off to a good start offensively, recording 10 shots in the first half and forcing four saves. Andres Albino, Sean Gannon and Ryan Taylor each recorded a shot on goal. Junior forward Louis Beddouri recorded three shots on the day and five total.

Bryant recorded a total of 17 shots, including two in the second overtime.

Central’s Carson D’Ambrosio sealed the shutout with a save on a shot by Bryant’s Felipe Cypriano in minute 107. D’Ambrosio finished the day with six saves. It was his second clean sheet of the season. He finished the season with 54 total saves in 14 games played after replacing the injured Nick Velleca in goal. The junior finished the season with a 3-5-3 record as goalkeeper.

Sophomore midfielder Andres Muriel Albino finished the season as the Blue Devils’ highest scorer. He totaled 16 points after scoring six goals and recording four assists. His best game of the season was in CCSU’s lone home victory on Oct. 8 against St. Francis when he scored two goals and had an assist. The Sevilla, Spain native looks to come back strong for his junior year.

This was the last game for seniors Luke Albertini, DeShawn Parker, Ryan Taylor and Nick Velleca. Albertini started every game for the Blue Devils the past two seasons at the midfield position. He finished his career at Central with two goals. Parker finished the season with five goals and one assist. He played midfielder in 30 games total for the Blue Devils over the past two seasons. Taylor finished the season with three goals and six assists. It was one of the forward’s best seasons as a Blue Devil. He appeared in 67 games total for Central, recording 13 goals and 11 assists. Velleca finishes his career at CCSU with 34 total games in goal. He had a goal allowed average of 1.86. He also had 141 total saves.

Central finishes the regular season at tied for sixth in the Northeast Conference. Their 2-3-2 conference record is tied with Bryant’s. No. 1 seed St. Francis Brooklyn plays No. 4 Robert Morris and No. 2 LIU Brooklyn will take on No. 3 Fairleigh Dickinson in Friday’s conference tournament. The finals will be played on Sunday, Nov. 12.

Men’s Soccer Wins Shootout over Saint Francis

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.

Men’s Soccer Draws Last Non-Conference Game

by Evan Sobol

The Central Blue Devils wrapped up their non-conference schedule with a 1-1 draw at Atlantic 10, against opponent Saint Joseph’s on Saturday. CCSU (3-5-2) got on the board very early, but conceded a late goal that led to the draw. It was their second straight game that went into double overtime.

Midfielder Sean Gannon scored his first goal of the season in the sixth minute with a strike from close range. Gannon fired a shot from the top of the box that the goalie could not handle. The keeper fumbled the ball, resulting in the score. Midfielder DeShawn Parker assisted on the score. It was Parker’s first assist of the season.

The Blue Devils maintained control of the first half offensively. They recorded nine shots in the first 45 minutes, compared to the Hawks’ two. Louis Beddouri, Sebastian Calderon and Ryan Taylor, each recorded a shot on-goal for Central.

“Maybe some of the best soccer we’ve played all year in the first half,” Head Coach Shaun Green said.  The Blue Devils also had four corner kicks in the half, while St. Joseph’s did not have any.

The Hawks (2-5-3) looked like a completely different team offensively in the second half. They recorded 10 shots and had three corner kicks, compared to Central’s two. Saint Joseph’s Derek MacKinnon, scored the equalizing goal late in minute 89. The forward gained possession of a loose ball and fired a shot into the upper left corner of the net. It was his first goal of the season for the Hawks.

The game went into two overtimes that were both scoreless. A good game by Hawks’ goalkeeper Greg O’Connell, kept them in the competition. He allowed just one goal on seven shots on goal, recording six saves. The Blue Devils’ Carson D’Ambrosio also had a good game, recording two saves on three shots on-goal.

Central recorded nine corner kicks to the Hawks’ three, but still failed to score on these opportunities. This is something that they have struggled with throughout the season. Coach Green noted that scoring on corners are not easy to come by, especially for the Blue Devils.

“We’re not a tall team.. we’re a possession kind of team. Some of the teams in our league are very big and strong kids who rely a lot on the athletic side of it… we rely more on our skills so we’re at a disadvantage no doubt.”

Following the draw, CCSU sits at fourth in the Northeast Conference standings based on record. Only three teams in the conference have a winning percentage above .500 upon the completion of non-conference play.

The Blue Devils begin conference play this Friday, Oct. 6, when they host Robert Morris (1-7-2). Coach Green provided an outlook on the road ahead.

“Our number one goal is to make the playoffs. We’ve gotta win our home games for sure, and we’ve gotta go and steal a couple away games,” Green said. “I’m pretty optimistic about our chances in the Northeast Conference this year, for sure.”  The game starts at 2 p.m. at the CCSU Soccer Field.

9/20 Champions League Week One Recap

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by Evan Sobol

It’s that time of year again- the Champions League is back! Last week marked the first week of the group stage and featured a variety of results, including a surprising victory by a Premier League hopeful.

Tottenham Hotspur, has been one of the Premier League’s strongest clubs the past few seasons. They have consistently finished among the top four clubs, but have not been very successful in the Champions League. Last season they finished third in their group, behind French side Monaco and German club Bayer Leverkusen. The Spurs got off to a much different start this season with a 3-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund.

Forward Heung-Min Son, got the Spurs off to a hot start after scoring in the fourth minute. The South Korea international scored from close range into the far post after beating the Dortmund defense up the field. It was his second goal in all competitions this season. Dortmund quickly answered in minute 11, with a long range goal from outside the penalty area by striker Andriy Yarmolenko. The ball curled into the upper left corner of the net, beating the keeper.

Harry Kane retook the lead for Tottenham just four minutes later in almost the same spot Son scored from. The England international gained possession at midfield, finishing with a strike past the keeper. Kane completed his brace in minute 60 when he scored from close range with a low strike into the far post. It was his ninth goal in all competitions so far for the Spurs this season.

Dortmund could not make use of their advantage in possession. They held the ball for 64 percent of the game and recorded over twice as many passes than Tottenham, but could not find the net. They recorded just two shots on goal. The departure of young star forward Ousmane Dembele to Barcelona over the summer, could have had a negative impact on their finishing. He recorded two goals and six assists for Dortmund in last year’s Champions League.

Tottenham looks to continue their success when they face Apoel Nicosia next week. Apoel will be coming off a 3-0 loss to defending champions Real Madrid. Borussia Dortmund looks to earn their first points of the tournament next week when they host Madrid on Tuesday.

The rest of the results were filled with lopsided shutout victories. Paris Saint-Germain dominated Scottish club Celtic 5-0. Their new-look attack was too much for Celtic to handle. New transfers Neymar and Kylian Mbappe scored a goal each, and fellow forward Edinson Cavani scored twice. They look like a dangerous club going forward. The rest of the Premier League had strong season debuts with Manchester United winning 3-0 against Basel and Manchester City thrashing Feyenoord 4-0. Liverpool earned a 2-2 draw against Spanish side Sevilla.

Next week’s most interesting matchups include defensive powerhouse Atletico Madrid hosting Premier League champion Chelsea, and PSG hosting Bundesliga winners Bayern Munich.