Category Archives: Soccer

Men’s Soccer Edges Vermont in Physical Contest

by Dillon Meehan

The Central Connecticut men’s soccer team beat Vermont (5-3-1) 1-0 Sunday in a physical game that left both sides playing a man down. Ryan Taylor scored the lone goal in the 69th minute after Junior Cordeiro found him inside the six-yard box; it was Taylor’s second this season.

Both teams played with ten men after Blue Devils defender Dan Casey and Catamounts midfielder Carter Lincoln received red cards in the 44th minute for a heated exchange far away from game action. CCSU (4-3) had possession of the ball at midfield but play was stopped as several members of both teams began pushing and shoving each other. The referee called for both teams to go to their benches and then disciplined the players.

CCSU head coach Shaun Green spoke rather highly of Vermont after the game.

“Vermont is a big, strong, and very athletic team,” he said. “They are off to a fantastic start and just had a tough game against Brown. I wouldn’t consider them to be a dirty team, just physical.”

Throughout the first half, both teams were jostling for possession. There were few scoring chances, due to both teams playing tough defense. CCSU tailed Vermont in shots 5-3, and Catamounts goalkeeper Conor Leland only saw one shot on goal, which he saved. The Blue Devils goalkeeper, Josef Abele, made three saves in the first half. Late in the first half, a breakaway goal by CCSU’s Zach Zurita was negated after he was deemed offside.

Once the second half started, the fact that both teams were down to ten men had a major impact on the pace of the game. With the field more open there was plenty of space for the forwards to make their runs, which lead to five Central shots in the second half.

“Having to play the second half with 10 men really opened up the field, because we’re a very fast and athletic team, it was a great advantage,” said Green after the game.

CCSU nearly took the lead when Leland was caught out of position. However, a Catamount defender made a great save, heading the shot away from goal.

After the Catamounts turned the ball over, the Blue Devils took off down the right side of the field and crossed the ball into the box. Leland could only get a hand on the ball and it bounced directly to Cordeiro, who quickly found Taylor right in front of the net for the game-winning goal. Later in the second half Taylor nearly had his second of the game, off of a Cordeiro corner but an offside call once again negated the goal.

Catamounts defender Luke Salmon made several plays both offensively and defensively. Salmon picked up a yellow card in the 74th minute after a hard tackle on Cordeiro, who was making a run on the right side. However, the Blue Devils turned it over and the Catamounts found Salmon who tapped in the equalizer in the 75th minute, but the goal was disallowed due to an offside call.

CCSU took advantage of the open field in the second half to outshoot Vermont 5-4. Due to the pace of the Blue Devils and their attacking play in the second half, the physical Catamounts were called for nine second half fouls to CCSU’s five.

The Blue Devils play away for the next two weeks with games at Hartford on Oct. 1 and Dartmouth on Oct. 7. They open Northeast Conference play at LIU-Brooklyn on Oct. 10. Their next home game is Sunday, Oct. 12 against NEC foe Sacred Heart.

Donovan Finishes US Career in Connecticut

by Dillon Meehan

On Friday, Oct. 10, the U.S. Men’s National Team played at Rentschler Field in Hartford in a 1-1 draw against Ecuador.

The game, however, was so much more than just an international friendly: it was the last for Landon Donovan in a USA jersey. Donovan leads the USMNT in goals, assists and minutes played and was eight games away from being the most capped player in USMNT history, having appeared in 157 international matches.

In the 40 minutes Donovan played, he set up the lone goal for USA, crossing the ball to Jozy Altidore, who dished it to emerging star DeAndre Yedlin. Yedlin found Mix Diskerud at the top of the box who put the ball into the back of the net.

In the 25th minute Altidore held the ball and gave Donovan a perfect scoring chance after a back heel pass. Donovan rocketed a shot passed the goalkeeper, but it was slightly wide and hit the post.

The game was mostly back and forth with both Ecuador and the U.S. fighting for possession until the 88th minute when Enner Valencia rifled a shot from far outside the box and into the net to tie the game.

Apart from all of the USMNT and MLS records Donovan holds, it was his never-ending dream of soccer becoming prominent in the U.S. that made his career so special.

In 2002, a 20-year-old Donovan led the USMNT to the quarterfinals of the World Cup and was named the tournament’s best young player. After that, Donovan’s national career was just starting. He captained the men’s team in the 2009 Confederations Cup, where they upset top ranked Spain in the semifinals before losing to Brazil 3-2 in the final.

In the 2010 World Cup, Donovan had his shinning moment has a USMNT player. During stoppage time in a game against Algeria, Clint Dempsey’s point blank shot was blocked and the ball bounced to Donovan who punched it in and allowed the team to win their group for the first time in 80 years. To this day, it is considered to be one of the greatest moments in American soccer history.

Shortly after, Donovan took a sabbatical from the sport and withdrew from both the MLS and USMNT. He would miss the USMNT World Cup qualifiers and, because of that, was left off the 2014 squad. The shocking decision led many to question the tactics of new manager Jurgen Klinsmann who still managed to lead the USMNT to a surprisingly successful World Cup run.

Donovan was the first superstar for USMNT, a six time National Soccer Player of The Year and the all time leader of goals and assists in the MLS. During his fourteen year USMNT career, Donovan was a key component to the rising popularity of soccer  and a role model to all of U.S. soccer’s rising stars. While the future looks bright for USMNT, there is no doubt that Landon Donovan will always be missed as a member of the red, white and blue.

Men’s Soccer Shuts Out Sacred Heart for First NEC Win

by Sean Begin

A chippy game on Sunday against Sacred Heart University worked in favor of Central Connecticut men’s soccer.

After a scoreless back and forth first half, that saw just one shot on goal from each team, Central (5-6, 1-1 NEC) took advantage of a penalty in the box late in the second half to score the lone goal of the game and shut out the Pioneers 1-0.

“Overall it was a great, great day, a great performance,” said head coach Shaun Green after the match.

With 11:52 left in the game, freshman Junior Cordeiro got loose on the left sideline, feeding the ball to senior Stephan Walmsley. Walmsley deftly heel touched the ball back to Cordeiro, who was taken down just outside the keeper box.

Senior Keir Hannity tallied his fifth goal of the season, burying the penalty kick into the lower right corner of the net.

“So creative, both of them are two of the more creative players in the league,” said Green of Walmsley and Cordeiro. “Junior’s a freshman coming in and if he’s not Rookie of the Year this year I don’t see who is.”

Cordeiro, a midfielder from Stamford, Conn., has started 10 of the 11 games he’s appeared in this season, notching one goal and two assists so far.

“He’s just so entertaining, you heard the crowd every time he got the ball,” said Green. “He’s absolutely going to be a great Division I player and he’s just fun to watch.”

At 5-feet-8-inches, Cordeiro is one of the smaller guys on the team but had no trouble playing the bigger Sacred Heart players aggressively on Sunday.

“We put an emphasis on skill over size,” said Green. “We don’t try and contain him to play one way. In the attacking third he’s got a free license to do whatever he wants and it pays off for us.”

Both defenses played well on Sunday afternoon. Central tallied just 11 shots with five on goal while holding Sacred Heart (0-11-1, 0-2 NEC) to 10 shots with only three on goal.

“We got good minutes from all our defenders so we were able to sub them at half time and rest them and get fresh defenders in the second half,” said Green.

Solid defensive games from junior Giorgi Mandzulashvili and freshman Dan Casey and Luke Albertini (who came on in the second half) helped junior goalkeeper Josef Abele record his fourth shutout of the season while saving four shots.

“The young they’re making some mistakes but today it was important that we got a shutout, and they’re learning during the process,” Green said.

The matched featured five total yellow cards and 22 penalties between the two teams. Cordeiro was the lone Blue Devil carded in the match after getting into it with Sacred Heart’s Callum Smith (who also was carded) in the 66th minute.

Both teams saw just one solid scoring opportunity in the first half. Central’s Zach Zurita had a shot to the lower left corner stopped by Sacred Heart keeper Tucker Hackett. The Pioneers just missed scoring before that on a header that went off the crossbar.

The win is Central’s first in conference play this season.

“You have to get your home games,” said Green. “If we can all the homes games and win one away we’ll be guaranteed to be in a playoff spot. So that’s our goal right now. The guys were rewarded for their efforts today.”

Central will play on the road against NJIT on Oct. 15 before returning home on Saturday to play Fairleigh Dickinson University at 7 p.m.

Women’s Soccer Blows Out Yale in Shutout Win

by Brian O’Neill

In its second game in four days, Central Connecticut women’s soccer took on Yale on Monday night, shutting out the Bulldogs 4-0 and putting the team at 6-4-3 on the season.

“We defended very well, we conceded a lot of free kicks and corner kicks and gave them chances from there,” said head coach Mick D’Arcy of his team’s performance. “But when we didn’t win the first ball we won the second ball and never gave Yale a chance to get back in the game.”

The first half was closely contested, but low scoring and mostly spent on Central’s half of the field, with Yale on the attack. While Yale had a majority of the scoring chances, Central’s defense and the strong goalie play of backup goalie Rebecca Lewis held the Bulldogs from scoring.

Instead, the Blue Devils were the first to break onto the scoreboard, when Claire Walsh’s pass found Alysa Christo in the far corner of Yale’s penalty box, who put it past Yale’s goalie in the 36th minute.

Statistically, Yale dominated all offensive categories in the first half. The Bulldogs had seven shots with three on goal compared to Central’s two, both of which were on goal. Yale also tallied six corner kicks in the half, most of which they turned into scoring chances.

“We just came off a game against St. Francis where we outshout them 18-3 and lost 1-0, so we’ve been on the other end of this,” said D’Arcy. “But the chances came tonight and we took them well.”

Even though the first half was controlled by Yale, the second half belonged to the Blue Devils.

Just four minutes into the second half Central’s Brianne Casey corralled a long chip pass from Brianna Scaldaferri and shot from outside the box, over the keeper, into the back of the net to make the score 2-0.

The score stayed that way for most of the rest of the half, until Tori Sousa scored on a rebound in the 82nd minute to give the Blue Devils a 3-0 lead. Sousa’s goal wasn’t her only appearance on the score sheet, as she passed to Julie Lavoie on a breakaway, whose shot beat the keeper and made the game 4-0 in the 88th minute.

At the final whistle, Central had scored four goals and recorded a shutout. Lewis, who is usually behind Nikki Turley at the goalie position, had a great game with eight saves and no goals allowed.

“We’re blessed to have more than one good goal keeper,” said D’Arcy when asked why he went with Lewis over Turley. “Tonight was a chance to prove to everybody that she [Lewis] belongs at this level and [we’re] thrilled that she got the shutout tonight. It was well earned.”

Added D’Arcy: “Nikki Turley is our starting goalkeeper but Becca pushes her in practice every day. She’s a tremendous teammate and she’s a very good goalkeeper as well, as you saw tonight.”

Central plays again next week with a conference game at home against Sacred Heart on Friday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. Then on Sunday the Blue Devils hit the road to face Wagner in another conference matchup.

Women’s Soccer Breaks Through Late

by Sean Begin

It took nearly an hour of play for the Central Connecticut women’s soccer team to break through in its match Friday night against Sacred Heart University.

After a scoreless first half that saw the team take only four shots, goals in the 60th and 88th minutes, backed by solid defense and goalkeeping, propelled the team to a 2-0 shutout of the Pioneers (6-7-2, 1-2-1 NEC).

“The first half I thought we did a little too much passing,” said head coach Mick D’Arcy. “We could have penetrated a little bit more as we were dribbling through. Second half we did a little bit better.”

Despite the scoreless first half, Central (7-5-3, 2-2-1 NEC) managed to produce a consistent attack against Sacred Heart.

“Really it was just a case of being patient,” said D’Arcy. “We had a lot of the ball. It was just a case of not panicking and keep doing the things we were doing. I figured eventually we’d come through.”

For Central, that moment came on an unassisted goal from senior midfielder Danica Foglio. With 14:36 gone in the second half, Foglio fired a shot at the top of the box from 30 yards out, beating Pioneer goalkeeper Talia Schwartz to the lower left. It was Foglio’s second goal of the season.

Central put the game out of reach with just over 12 minutes left to play. Freshman defender Jennifer Cafferky headed the ball past Schwartz off a corner kick from sophomore forward Kelly Halligan. Cafferky was named NEC Rookie of the Week for her defensive effort against SHU, Yale and Wagner and the goal on Friday.

Central doubled their shots in the second half, getting eight off against Sacred Heart. Of Central’s 12 total shots, six were on goal. Central also put up six corner kicks, including the one that went for the goal.

Sophomore goalkeeper Nicki Turley posted her fourth shutout of the season, tallying one save on the one shot on goal Sacred Heart managed.

Central spent most of the match pushing its attack repeatedly against the Pioneer defense.

“We had a lot of space once we broke their initial line of pressure in the middle of the field, there was space and time for our players to run at their defenders,” said D’Arcy.

The win provided Central with three points in the NEC standings, putting them closer to first placed Fairleigh Dickinson, whose only loss came at the hands of Central earlier this season.

“We have a pretty good record playing here, especially on Friday nights. It’s good,” said D’Arcy. “This is our home field and you really need to pick up three points when you’re at home.”

The team currently sits tied for fourth in the conference, tied with Robert Morris and LIU-Brooklyn and four points behind FDU.

“There’s a lot good belief in the team right now, they’re playing with a lot of confidence, and I think we’re going to be one of the tough team’s to play against,” D’Arcy said.

The team lost its road game Sunday against second-place Wagner on Sunday 1-0. They return to the field when they play Bryant at home on Friday, Oct. 24 before heading to LIU-Brooklyn for a road game on Sunday, Oct. 26.

Women’s Soccer Wins Again

by Brian O’Neill

Central Connecticut’s women’s soccer team took on the Bryant at home last Friday before traveling to LIU-Brooklyn on Sunday. Central won both games and improved their record to 9-5-3 (4-2-1 NEC) with just one game left in the regular season.

“I think we started the game off very strong,” said head coach Mick D’Arcy after his team’s 4-1 victory over Bryant (3-13-1, 1-4-1 NEC), the fifth win the team’s last six games.

The Blue Devils opened their match against Bryant with one thing on their mind: offense. Central’s speed and skill controlled the pace throughout the first half, with the team keeping possession and denying Bryant almost any chance to build an offensive attack.

The first goal came on a free kick from the top of the box, with Central’s Kelly Halligan beating the keeper to make it a 1-0 game 18 minutes in. In the 22nd minute Halligan found herself taking another free kick from the same spot, again beating the keeper and putting the score to 2-0.

The last goal of the period came off a late chance for the Blue Devils, with Alysa Christo scoring on an assist from Morgan Santoro with just 52 seconds on the clock to give Central a 3-0 lead going into the half.

“Couple of goals early gave us a little bit of breathing room to be able to play the game a little more confident,” said D’Arcy said about Central’s performance. “Even though both the goals came from free kicks, they were fouls in and on top of the box, and we were creating chances in a dangerous area.”

The Blue Devils dominated every statistical category in the first half. They had tallied 10 shots, with six on net while Bryant managed just a single shot in the half. Central’s control of possession was shown by the five corner kicks they racked up compared to Bryant’s zero.

The second half was much more even offensively, with Bryant giving the Blue Devils all they could on defense. But even with the Bulldog’s attack, Central’s defense held strong for almost an entire half, until the 88th minute when a hand ball was called inside the penalty box, giving Bryant a penalty kick.

Just 12 yards separated Bryant’s Emily Barbato and Central goalkeeper Nikki Turley when the whistle blew, and even with Turley diving the right way, Barbato’s shot found its way to the back of the net, making it a 3-1 game. The Bulldogs celebration was short lived, however, when just a minute later, in the last second, a Tori Sousa pass set up Kacie O’Neill on a breakaway goal for the Blue Devils.

The second half stat line showed a much closer game than the first, with shots almost even — Central putting up nine, Bryant tallying seven — and Bryant’s six corners to Central’s one. Even with the offensive resurgence of the Bulldogs, Central’s defense and counter attacks held Bryant to just one goal.

With both of the weekend wins coming against conference rivals, Central sits third in the NEC, behind only Fairleigh Dickinson and Wagner, who sit at first and second, respectively. With only one game remaining in the regular season, Central can secure their playoff spot with a win against last place Mount Saint Mary on Sunday, Nov. 2.

Women’s Soccer Ties in Final Regular Season Game

by Brian O’Neill

The women’s soccer team needed a win in its final regular season game of the year to give it a chance to have home field advantage in the upcoming Northeast Conference championship tournament.

The game against Mount St. Mary (2-16-1, 1-6-1 NEC) on Sunday would end in a 1-1 draw, however, meaning Central Connecticut (9-5-4, 4-2-2 NEC) will travel to Fairleigh Dickinson in New Jersey for the tournament.

Before kickoff, Central honored their seven seniors playing in their last regular season game: Christina Boucher, Julie Lavoie, Corey Medrano, Rebecca Lewis, Alexandria DeCaro, Danica Foglio and Tori Sousa. The seniors were joined by their families at centerfield, who gave the players flowers and posed for pictures.

In the first half, the Blue Devils were fighting not only the Mountaineers, but mother nature as well. With temperatures in the mid-40s and winds reaching 25 mph, the elements were working against both teams. Playing into the wind in the first, any aerial plays by Central lead to the ball hanging in the air or coming back at them altogether.

Even in those conditions, Central found the back of the net early, the 19th minute, when Kelly Halligan collected a ball from a corner kick by Tori Sousa and beat the Mount St. Mary goalie to the top right to make it a 1-0 game.

“Defensively we were solid. A strange game with the wind, obviously it had a huge impact. At 25 miles an hour it certainly influenced the direction of the play,” head coach Mick D’Arcy said.

Statistically, the first period was even between the two sides. Each team tallied nine shots in the period with six on goal for the Blue Devils and seven for the Mountaineers. While the shot totals were high, most of the half was spent adjusting and adapting to the weather by both teams.

The second half brought a goalie change for Mount Saint Mary’s, bringing in Vicky Cocozza to replace Rachel Bourne. This change would prove to be crucial to the Mountaineers’ game, as she turned away all 14 shots she faced in the period.

In the 66th minute, Mount St. Mary was given a kick at about five yards from the top of Central’s penalty box for the Mount’s Sam Manson. Manson’s strike beat Central’s keeper to the high left to tie the game at 1-1.

In the two overtime periods, Central dominated offensively, with nine total shots and five on goal compared to Mount St. Mary’s one shot. But between the superb goalie play of Cocozza for the Mountaineers and a few missed opportunities, the Blue Devils couldn’t capitalize on their chances. At the final whistle, the Blue Devils had tallied 32 shots with 20 on net, but had to settle for the tie.

“Overall, we had 32 shots in the game. From that, we need to do a better job at execution,” said D’Arcy. “I thought their [FDU’s] goalkeeper was fantastic today. She made some brilliant saves and kept her team in the game.”

With the regular season over, Central looks to prepare for the NEC tournament in New Jersey next week. Their first game will be against second-seed Wagner, on Friday,**[SEAN BEGIN IS THIS SUPPOSED TO BE NOV 7????? —–>] Oct. 7. Central lost on the road to Wagner 1-0 in the two teams’ only meeting this season.

If the Blue Devils win, they’ll play the winner of the St. Francis (Pa.)-Fairleigh Dickinson game on Sunday, Oct. 9 for the NEC championship. Central also lost to St. Francis 1-0 on the road but beat FDU 1-0 at home, the only loss in NEC play for the Knights.

Small in Stature, but Big in Blue: Cordeiro Shines in Freshman Season

by Sean Begin

He’d like to think his size didn’t affect a school’s decision to recruit him, but Filosmar Cordeiro, better known as “Junior”, doesn’t pretend it wasn’t a factor.

“If you look at a lot of the rosters on the top D-I teams they don’t have anybody shorter than like five-ten,” said Cordeiro. “And everyone is a lot heavier, too.”

Standing at five-feet-seven-inches tall and weighing in at around 140 pounds, Cordeiro, a freshman, is one of the smallest players on the Central Connecticut men’s soccer team. Despite that disadvantage, Cordeiro plays every opponent aggressively.

Watch him during a game as he chases down a ball on the left side of the field, fighting for control from the defender that seems to dwarf him, slipping the ball around his feet and avoiding his opponent before feeding it across the pitch to a waiting teammate.

But size is something Cordeiro has always dealt with so it’s not something he lets affect his playing style.

“I’m more or less used to it,” he said. “I always try to throw my body around even though I’m smaller. Even if I can’t get the ball I just let them know I’m there.”

While Cordeiro is willing to attack players bigger than him, it’s his speed, quickness and acceleration that are his biggest assets on the field.

“When I go out onto the field I try to be as evasive as possible,” he said. “You can’t really hit what you can’t catch, so I try to be as shifty as possible and move around on the ball a lot.”

His size may have affected how many schools recruited him but it didn’t mean he was ignored. And while Cordeiro chose to stay closer to his family home in Stamford, he did look elsewhere at first.

“I wanted to go a little bit further but after talking to my parents and everything, they told me the best bet would be stay closer, see how I feel and if I don’t like it I can always transfer but I’m loving it at the moment,” he said.

For Cordeiro, though, the proximity of Central to his home was just as important as the freedom head coach Shaun Green was ready to give him.

“Coach told me ‘I’m not going to stop you from playing,’” said Cordeiro. “So I was definitely interested in a coach that wouldn’t hinder my growth as a player. And Coach Green told me that right off the bat.”

“We put an emphasis on skill over size,” Green said after a game earlier this year. “We don’t try and contain him to play one way. In the attacking third he’s got a free license to do whatever he wants.”

That freedom is something Cordeiro is used to from previous coaches, who saw his dribbling skill and ability to draw fouls as advantageous when attacking the net.

Cordeiro began playing soccer as young as four, when he was still living in Brazil with his parents and older sister, his father introducing him to game that is the country’s national sport.

English wasn’t Cordeiro’s first language and he grew up in a bilingual home, speaking Portuguese in his house and sometimes translating for his parent’s if they needed the help. Neither his father, a carpenter, nor his mother, a stay-at-home mom, went to college, making Cordeiro and his sister – who attended school in Brazil – the first in his family to do so.

“It was definitely a dollar and a dream situation coming from Brazil, moving most of the family out here and just trying to make a living,” he said.

Cordeiro doesn’t remember much from his short time in Brazil, mostly just memories of his grandmother’s and aunt’s houses. But every summer until 2008, when the economy dipped, his family would return and visit.

Cordeiro’s father never played soccer, even though he was the one to introduce his son to the game. He grew up in a different time in Brazil, when people who played soccer were considered hooligans, and Cordeiro’s grandfather didn’t allow him to play, preferring to keep him close at home.

“He never actually played soccer himself but he showed the passion for it,” said Cordeiro. “My dad has been a big influence in me playing soccer now.”

Cordeiro started playing competitively on a Greenwich recreational team soon after coming to the U.S. He moved on to travel soccer, playing for Eastern FC in the Premier League before playing high school soccer for Westhill in Stamford, where he was named All-Conference in 2012 and 2013.

In his first season with the team, Cordeiro has started 14 of the 16 games he’s played in. It wasn’t something he expected.

“Definitely not,” he said when asked if he thought he’d see as much playing time as he has. “I wanted to play and I knew I could.”

“The day before I came [to Central] my dad told me, when my parents dropped me off, to just be calm. Play my game and the things will come,” Cordeiro added. “So that’s exactly what I did throughout preseason. I just showed [the coaches] what I had to offer and ultimately it was their decision to give me the playing time that I’ve had.”

Playing time isn’t guaranteed for anyone, a fact Cordeiro is well aware of. But he knows the experience he gained this season will help him next year, as he continues to work and train to help the team succeed.

And even with the playing time, it’s still been a period of adjustment for Cordeiro, who faces a level of competition he didn’t see in high school, not only from his opponents but from the players on his own team.

“Coming here I knew it’d be a lot more competitive so it took me a while to get used to the quick pace and get used to the physicality too,” Cordeiro said. “It’s just like being a freshman on a varsity team in high school. You’re 14 and you’re playing against kids who are 17, 18. Same thing here. You’re adjusting to playing against grown men, basically.”

With the team’s final game coming against Bryant at home on Sunday, Cordeiro will soon be focusing on the classes he’s taking for his biology major while starting gym work to try and add some weight to his frame.

“I definitely want to get some more weight on me but also focus on not losing my acceleration and speed because that’s basically my game,” he said.

But the goal next season for Cordeiro will be helping the team reach a playoff berth, something they were unable to do this year.

“I feel bad for a lot of the seniors. They work really hard and they deserve a playoff spot,” he said. “But it just wasn’t our year. Hopefully next year we can show them we can play better and get into playoffs.”

Men’s Soccer Falls in Final Home Game

by Sean Begin

It wasn’t the season head coach Shaun Green was expecting but that doesn’t mean he’s unhappy with the effort his team gave all season, an effort that was echoed Sunday afternoon.

Despite battling hard all game and having a chance to take a 2-1 lead, the Central Connecticut men’s soccer team fell 2-1 to Bryant on a penalty kick in the second overtime, coming just short of upsetting the undefeated Bulldogs.

“It’s been tough,” said Greene. “We’ve never been able to establish any consistency because we lost a lot of key players who were projected starters on the team, to the point that at the end of the season we’re decimated with injuries.”

Bryant broke onto the scoreboard first in the 24th minute, Connor Norat headed the ball into the net after a long feed from outside the box. It wasn’t long after that Central responded.

Junior forward Zach Zurita scored unassisted in the 29th minute on a breakaway, beating the keeper to the lower left corner to tie the game at one. Zurita had another breakaway scoring chance just a few minutes later with a wide open net in front of him, but his shot sailed wide right.

The second half was a back and forth battle for position and scoring chances between the two teams, with Bryant edging Central seven shots to six in the half. Each side had a decent scoring opportunity but stingy defense or bad shooting sent the game into overtime.

After another back and forth in the first overtime period, Bryant was awarded a penalty kick in the second overtime period after Norat was brought down on a breakaway by a Central defender, a call that brought cries of outrage from the assembled crowd.

Norat poked the ball towards the upper left corner of the net, Central goalkeeper Josef Abele got his fingertips on the strike but not enough to deflect it away, giving Bryant to 201 double overtime road victory.

The injuries that have plagued the team all season may have sunk the teams chances this season but it can prove to be a boon to future squads. With so many players hurt, it gave younger members a chance to see some playing time.

“It’s allowed our kids who don’t normally play the opportunity to play against the best teams,” said Green. “And the last two teams, [St. Francis] Pa. and Bryant, they’re top two teams and we took them both to double overtime. So we’re not far off. I thought we we’re the better team today.”

The Blue Devils managed to play well in every game this season, losing by two goals only once in Northeast Conference play despite the reduced lineup.

“They don’t understand the word quit. They’re like that in practice, they’re like that everyday. They’ve got a great attitude in terms of just believing in themselves,” said Green.

It’s an attitude that will help the group of young freshmen and sophomores set to take over the team going forward.

“We’ve got a great young core of players, freshman that we recruited this year that are going to be the nucleus of the team in the future and we’re really excited about that,” The seniors have been fantastic for the program and they’re going to be missed, tremendously.”

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.