Category Archives: Soccer

Women’s Soccer Extends Unbeaten Streak

by Brian O’Neill

Rounding out their five game home stand, Central’s women’s soccer played the University of Maine and the University of Fairfield over the weekend. The Blue Devils split the games between a win and a tie, increasing their win/tie streak to four games. putting their overall record at 4-3-2.

The Blue Devils faced off first on Friday against the Maine Black Bears. Central struck first, when Danica Foglio rose above the Black Bears’ defense on a header off a corner kick from Kelly Halligan in the 14th minute. Maine evened the score in the 38th minute, when Jordan Pellerin scored from inside the box, beating the keeper to the bottom left, with the assist going to Ashley Robinson.

The second half was full of scoring. Halligan started it off, beating the Maine keeper on a free kick from the top of the box in the 63rd minute.

While Halligan’s goal put Central ahead, the lead was short-lived.

In the 64th minute, Charlene Achille scored on a Pellerin cross to tie the game for the Black Bears. Just four minutes after, Achille scored again to give Maine a 3-2 lead with just over 20 minutes left in the game.

With just eight minutes left in regulation, though, Central’s Tori Sousa scored off a pass from Cailynn Harding to tie the game. In the 20 minutes of overtime played, both Central and Maine didn’t allow a goal. At the final whistle the score was 3-3.

“Positives we scored 3 goals, negatives we conceded 3 goals,” head coach Mick D’Arcy said. “With the amount of chances that we had in the first 20 minutes of the game we should’ve done better with those, we didn’t. Once they got the equalizing goal, it gave them a lot of encouragement from there.”

The Blue Devils and Black Bears ended even in just about every statistical category, except offsides. Central was called offside 13 times, while Maine didn’t a single time.

“They played with a bit offside trap, kept stepping out, not something that we’ve really seen a whole lot of this year, and it caught us a little bit off guard,” said D’Arcy of the difference after the game.

Central squared off against the Fairfield Stags on Sunday for their second game of the weekend. The Blue Devils came out early, when Julie Lavoie scored in the 15th minute on a pass from Harding. At the end of the first half Central had nine shots with five on net, almost doubling Fairfield who tallied five shots with two on goal.

The second half opened with a bang. Central scored a goal in just the third minute from Claire Walsh, who put a shot over Fairfield’s keeper on a pass from Sousa. Sousa would add to her stat line when she scored on a free kick from the top of the box in the 79th minute.

At the end of the second half, Central had racked up 13 shots, with nine on goal while Fairfield totaled eight shots, with just three on net. Credit for the shutout goes to Central’s keeper, Nikki Turley, who clocked just under 80 minutes in net while making three saves, with backup goalie Corey Medrano between the pipes for the last 10 minutes of the game.

“Don’t be fooled by the score line, Fairfield is a very good team,” said D’Arcy. “The 15 minutes I thought they did real well, they had us under a lot of pressure. After [the goal] you could see the shift [it] made in the game. It gave us a boost of confidence. I thought that really hurt [Fairfield] psychologically. After that I just think we were the better team.”

The Blue Devils have a 12 day break before traveling to Pennsylvania to play Robert Morris University on the October 3 and St. Francis University on the fifth. The two games are the first Northeast Conference games of the year for the women’s team.

Women’s Soccer Dominates Weekend Games

by Brian O’Neill

The Central Connecticut women’s soccer team continued their five game home stand this past weekend with a pair of wins over both New Jersey Institute of Technology and Lehigh Univeristy, improving their record to 3-3-1.

The first game of the weekend was on Friday night; the Blue Devils edged out the NJIT Highlanders (2-7) by a score of 2-0.

The Blue Devils struck first with a goal in the 28th minute with Cailynn Harding scoring on a header in the box off a corner kick by Kelly Halligan.

The first half was won by Central, offensively and defensively. In the first 45 minutes, Central took 15 shots with six on net, and didn’t allow New Jersey a single shot. The second half yielded the same result, with the Blue Devils controlling possession. They tallied 14 shots in the second half; six on goal and one into the back of the net.

That goal came in the 57th minute when a cross from Julie Lavoie through the box found Morgan Santoro in front of an open net for an easy score.

The second half also brought goalie changes for both teams as Central’s Nikki Turley substituted for Rebecca Lewis, and New Jersey’sSamantha Bersett replaced Karen David.

“Rebecca’s been training very well,” said head coach Mick D’Arcy when asked about the change. “We’ve got four goalkeepers and the competition at practice is very good every day. So we thought it was time for Becca to be in net. She hasn’t played yet this year, she’s a new transfer from Ithaca, and we thought today was her day to get some minutes on the field.”

When asked on what could be improved upon after the game, D’Arcy summed it up simply: “Finishing.”

He added: “We had a lot of chances during the course of the game. And to win the game two-nil, it’s nice to get a shutout, it’s nice to score some goals, but I think we could’ve been more ruthless in front of the goal. It’s something that we’re working on, and we know we have to get better at it.”

The Blue Devils returned to the pitch Sunday against the Lehigh Mountain Cats (2-2-1) for the win.

Lehigh scored for the first time in the 19th minute when Grace Correll took a shot that deflected off the back of Central’s Danica Foglio.

It didn’t take Central long to answer.

Not even a minute later, Tori Sousa chipped the ball over Lehigh’s keeper to tie the game — 1-1, with the assist going to Halligan. The go-ahead goal came off Halligan’s strike in the 42nd minute from long range, beating the keeper to the top left.

At the end of the first half, both Central and Lehigh’s shots were even at four with possession for both teams relatively even.

In the second half however, Central played a more defensive game, which gave Lehigh the time to attack. The Mountain Cats racked up 10 shots in the half, putting eight on goal. Even with the attack, the Blue Devils held their 2-1 lead thanks to good defense and goalie play throughout.

“[We] scored a couple of good goals for one,” D’Arcy said after the game. “I thought our defending was good in the second half… I thought we were pretty dangerous countering them a couple times; we just weren’t able to get the final execution on it.”

He added: “I thought we sat back in a little bit more in the second half and tried to hit them on the counter attack; and, defensively, I thought we absorbed their pressure really well.”

Central’s extended home stand concludes next weekend with two games in three days. They’ll face the Maine Black Bears on Friday at 7 p.m. and the Fairfield Stags on Sunday at 3 p.m.

Amid Rain, Lightning, Navy Sinks Central

by Sean Begin

Heading into Saturday afternoon’s game against Navy, Central Connecticut men’s soccer head coach Shaun Green felt his team had an edge in the wet and soggy conditions.

“We felt the rain was an advantage to us because we’re a high pressure team,” said Greene. “Whenever you press teams in poor conditions you’re going to force mistakes.”

Early in the game those mistakes came from Navy, with an early Central corner kick and several deep drives into the Navy defensive end. But a 13 minute lightning delay just 11 minutes into the game allowed Navy to recover.

In the 16th minute, Navy’s Matt Saunders capitalized when a Central defender slid in the wet grass, allowing a clean look at the goal from the top of the box. Saunders buried the ball into the net for his first goal of the season.

Navy scored again with exactly 27 minutes gone in the half. Jamie Dubyoski scored his third goal of the season on a shot to the lower left of the net.

Central responded with a goal of their own, from senior defenseman Keir Hannity, who beat Navy goalkeeper Mac Burke to the left from the top of the box. Senior midfielder Stephen Walmsley had the assist.

“We want to create more opportunities, and our style of play is developing in that way,” said Green of his team’s offensive attack. The goal ensured Central would avoid being shutout for the first time this season.

“We’ve played five games this season, including two scrimmages, and not one team has shut us out,” said Green. “We’re very creative up front and I think we will always create enough [chances] every game to score a goal every week.”

Senior goalkeeper Josef Abele and the Blue Devil defense buckled down against the Navy attack for the rest of the first half and most of the second, managing to come up with several key saves to keep Central close.

In the 85th minute, Navy broke through once more, when Daniel Camuti scored from the top of the box to Abele’s left on a feed from Dubyoski.

“Well, you’re never doing well if you’re conceding three goals,” said Greene. “However, with that said, our defensive shape was good, our attitude was good, it was an improvement over Penn last week.”

Penn and Navy have proven to be good tests of the Blue Devils this season. Both were the champions in their respective conferences last season. Navy also reached the second round of the 2013 NCAA tournament and came into the game against Central having already beaten #10 Maryland earlier in the season.

“I told our guys, these games are never wasted. We schedule the toughest teams we can find,” said Greene. “The big picture for us are the NECs. We won the [regular season] championship two of the last three years. A big part of that is because we have a really tough, out-of-conference schedule.”

Central will hit the road for their next three games against UMass-Lowell, Yale and Army before returning home to New Britain for a 1 p.m. game against Vermont on Sept. 28.

Huskies Bite Blue Devils

by Brian O’Neill

Despite a crowd over capacity Friday night, UConn proved to be too much for the women’s soccer team of Central Connecticut State as they fell 3-1 to the Huskies. The loss, this season’s first at home for the Blue Devils, drops them to 1-3-1.

“Great crowd tonight, [with] over 2,000 people at the game,” said head coach Mick D’Arcy. “It’s just fantastic, it creates a good atmosphere. President [Jack] Miller put this together a couple years ago and Friday night games create a bit of a buzz.”

The Huskies (3-1-1) jumped out early when UConn’s Samantha McGuire gathered a loose ball at the top of the penalty box and put it past Central goalkeeper, Nikki Turley, in just the second minute of play.

The Blue Devils answered in minute 15, with the equalizer coming from Julie Lavoie of the assist from Charlie Branch. UConn scored the final goal of the first half when Julie Hubbard scored from close range at minute 25, with the assist coming from Riley Houle.

UConn lead the Blue Devils both in scoring and overall stats throughout the first 30 minutes. The Huskies racked up 11 shots in the first 45 minutes, with five of them being on goal. In the same time, Central had five shots, with three on net.

While the first half was controlled by UConn, the second half was a back and forth fight. UConn put backup goalie Emily Armstrong in for starter Allison Saucier at the beginning of the half. UConn and Central were about even in shots on the half — UConn edging Central 7-6.

In minute 74, UConn’s Rachel Hill — who over the summer played for the U.S. Women’s Under-20 National Team when they won the CONCACAF tournament — scored, giving the Huskies a 3-1 lead. This goal proved to be the dagger into any hope for a Blue Devil comeback.

Even with the loss, D’Arcy saw good things from the team.

“There were a lot of positives,” he said. “Defensively, we had one or two mistakes on the goals, but overall I think the defensive performance was great. This is a very, very good UConn team.”

He added: “They’re always going to cause you problems, but we dealt with it pretty well. We made chances. We scored a great goal; fantastic combination play to create the goal.”

Fan turnout was huge. The bleachers, built to seat 500, were overcrowded with Husky and Blue Devil supporters alike. Fans lined the stone wall that runs the length of the field; some even spilled onto the tops of the stands at the nearby baseball field and football field. The official tally marked attendance at 2,007.

The Blue Devils look to bounce back on Friday, Sept. 12th, when they play at home against New Jersey Institute of Technology.

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Men’s Soccer Shocked In Semifinals

By Corey Pollnow
Heading into the NEC semifinals on Friday versus St. Francis Brooklyn, the Central Men’s soccer team knew they would be playing without one of their captains, Stephen Walmsley.
Then 15 minutes before kick-off, the NEC regular season champions were hit with another blow. Central’s second captain, senior Jose Gamboa, discovered he was not cleared by the trainer to play. Gamboa and Walmsley had suffered concussions in the regular season finale against Bryant.
St. Francis Brooklyn had been on the losing end in the previous two match-ups versus CCSU, and the Terriers had not won the NEC tournament since 1998. However, St. Francis Brooklyn shocked the Blue Devils 2-0, and went on to win the championship 3-2 in overtime versus Bryant Sunday afternoon.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow when you lose both of your captains,” said Coach Shaun Green.
Kevin Correa scored his second goal in the 73rd minute when Central’s outside defensive back, Neekoli Calderon, momentarily lost Correa on a give and go from Gabriel Bagot. The mental mistake allowed Correa to gain enough distance to receive the ball deep in the penalty box, dribble once and power the shot past Central’s goalkeeper, Joe Abele.
“The second goal killed us,” said senior, Manny Nobre.
In the 61st minute Correa bent a shot over Central’s wall and past Abele. It was Correa’s first goal of the game and came off a free kick from 19 yards away on the right portion of the pitch.
“I thought we left the goal a little bit too much open on the left hand side,” said Green.
Central’s best scoring opportunity came in the 54th minute when Ben Knight curled a ball over three Terriers defenders, but the ball skimmed across the top of the crossbar and out of bounds.
“I thought Central came out and played great to start the second half and put us under pressure,” said Tom Giovatto, the Terriers head coach. “But Kevin got us two big goals.”
Abele saved three of St. Francis Brooklyn’s five shots on goal. The junior finishes the season with 66 saves, a save percentage of .786 and a goals against average of 1.24.
The Blue Devils and Terriers both tallied 12 shots for the game.
“We lost two keys players, Jose and Walsmey, but the other guys have to step in and do their job,” said Eddy Bogle.
On Friday evening Conor Qualter was named to the NEC All-Conference First team and received Rookie of the Year at the NEC banquet.
Central also had five players selected to the NEC All-Conference Second Team – Zach Zurita, Bogle, Abele, Walmsley, and Gamboa.
Green was named NEC Coach of the Year and also earned his 250th victory this season.
“Were proud of the season we had,” said Green, who recorded his third NEC Regular Season Championship this season in his 29th year at Central as head coach. “We thought this would be a two year rebuilding process, losing seven starters from last year. We thought we would nearly get into the playoffs, but we really excelled in our expectations.”

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Men’s Soccer Wins NEC And Earns Home Field

By Corey Pollnow
Last season the Central Men’s soccer team was unable to participate in the Northeast Conference tournament because of sub-standard APR scores, despite finishing fourth in the standings. This year the Blue Devils were predicted to finish second in the NEC preseason soccer poll, but on Friday evening they proved the pundits wrong and defeated St. Francis (Pa.) 1-0 to win the NEC regular season championship.
As a result of winning the NEC regular season championship, Central will host the NEC tournament on Nov. 15 and 17 for the first time since Shaun Green became head coach in 1985. With an upstanding record of 6-0 in the NEC (9-7-1 overall) and one game remaining in the regular season versus Bryant, CCSU has the opportunity to finish undefeated in conference play.
“We worked so hard last year and it was sad that we couldn’t go to the tournament. It means a little bit extra to win it tonight,” said Steven Walmsley after clinching the first seed and home field the Red Flash.
The game winning goal versus SFU was setup by a sequence of passes which led to Zach Zurita being fouled in the penalty box in the 56th minute. The referee awarded Central a penalty kick and Green chose his sure footed senior Manny Nobre to seal the victory under pressure. Green knew all along that Nobre would be taking the penalty kick. “I texted Manny last night and I told him I had a dream he was going to score. I wanted to beef him up a bit, but I knew he was going to take the kick anyway because I have a lot of confidence in him,” said Green.
“I started running up to the ball looking to the left and before I went to take it I shifted my body to the right,” said Nobre who struck the ball into the bottom left of the goal and fooled SFU’s goalkeeper, Daniel Valcicak, into diving to the wrong side of the net.
Josef Abele saved four shots to earn his seventh save of the season and he enters the last week of regular season play ranked 19th in the country with a save percentage of .831. “We’re not league champs without Joe,” said Zurita.
Seniors Jose Gamboa, Eddy Bogle, and Nobre were honored prior to their 2-1 victory on Sunday afternoon against Robert Morris. Bogle scored his fifth goal of the season and more importantly, the game winning goal in the 54 minute of play.
Neco Brett scored his 13th goal of the season for Robert Morris in the 59th minute to reduce the deficit to one goal. Despite a late flurry of shots and chances from Robert Morris, the Blue Devils were able to hold on for the victory. Abele saved eight shots in 90 minutes and has 59 saves in 13 games this season.
Follow the Blue Devils live stream on NEC Front Row as they look to finish the season with a perfect 7-0 conference record on Sunday at 1 p.m. versus Bryant.