Category Archives: Soccer

Menzies Continues To Shine On Field

By Corey Pollnow

In the waning seconds of the first half, Jesse Menzies can hear the countdown in the background. 10, 9, 8, 7… Menzies uses finesse to dribble past a Stony Brook player.

Menzies, a senior  midfielder from Prospect, Conn. was highly coveted by Siena, Monmouth, Sacred Heart and Manhattan during his senior year at Woodland Regional High School; but he opted to stay in the Nutmeg State.

“[Academically CCSU] offered a Civil Engineering program which many other schools that recruited me didn’t have. Financially CCSU made the most sense [because of] in-state tuition and the proximity of CCSU to my hometown. Also, I wanted my family to be able to watch me play,” says Menzies.

Menzies certainly exudes confidence on the pitch and has gained experience as he’s aged and matured individually. He’s not over ambitious offensively in a manner like Cristiano Ronaldo, but Menzies has certainly become more involved and aggressive offensively since he debuted as a freshman.

As a freshmen Menzies registered three shots. Fast forward to 2012 and he’s attempted 28 shots and currently has five goals with three games remaining on the schedule.

Menzies says he doesn’t have a specific player that he’s tried to mold himself after, but he credits his brothers for inspiring him on the pitch.

“I really don’t have a player to base myself upon. I watch a lot of soccer, but I never found one player that I have the same qualities as. I feel like my game changes depending on what position I play,” says Menzies.

“Growing up though, I used to watch my two older brothers play all the time.  My oldest brother John was one of the best sweeper backs I have ever seen.  He was tenacious and a great anticipator of play, and probably the most physical player I know,” continues Menzies. “My brother Brian is a smooth and creative player and faster than I will ever be.”

Earlier this season an opposing player from FDU attempted put the ball through Menzies’ feet, otherwise known as a “nutmeg.” Menzies anticipated the nutmeg and quickly regained control of the ball and attempted to duplicate the same move. Although unsuccessful, it showed imagination and wittiness on his part.

“So I guess you could say that my style of play is based off of their strongest attributes,” says Menzies.

Creativity is one of Jesse’s best qualities. Whether surveying the field to find an open teammate or deking his opponent, Menzies has the cerebral skills to accompany his physical gift.

In a game earlier this season Menzies was in a difficult situation; he was pinned near the corner flag with the ball at his feet and his back to a defender. Rather than trying to create a throw in or corner kick by playing the ball off the defender, Menzies flicked the ball with his heel past the defender, quickly turned and sprinted around the surprised defender to maintain possession.

According to Menzies, family plays a vital role in his life. He has his own cheering section and his family is decked out in CCSU gear. Menzies receives the loudest pop of all the players when the starting lineups are announced over the PA system.

“It definitely does give me a boost. It’s almost as if I play to make them proud,” says Menzies. “I guess playing with that little bit of added pressure gives me that adrenaline.  But like I said before, I chose to come to CCSU because of my family. So I’m blessed that they are able to make all the games. Not just the home games, but the away games.”

Leadership is one of Jesse’s best qualities and that’s displayed on a game-to-game basis. When the team has needed him to step-up and make a penalty kick or a play, Menzies has delivered with a calm and composed mindset.

“I’m not the loudest on the field, but I do try and pick players up when they are down, you know, positively reinforcing my teammates.  I like to think of myself more as a leader by example though,” Menzies says. “Whether it’s making a hard tackle or putting in 100 percent effort, I feel like the team is more influenced by what I do in my play rather than what I say.”

Menzies has shown a lot of character for choosing to finish his career at CCSU after the team discovered the sanctions that forbid CCSU from playing in the NCAA and NEC tournament.

“I know we had a big talk after the season last year and after winning the NEC last year it’s such a good team atmosphere that you don’t want to leave,” says Menzies. “We had that talk and we decided that we wanted to play for one another and have one more good season together.”

“It’s a hard rule, the same thing happened to UConn basketball and it was hard on them. It puts a lot more focus on recruiting better personalities on your team,” Menzies says. “You need rules put somewhere in place because you can’t come in as an athlete and do whatever you want. You have to focus on academics. Fortunately it wasn’t the recent guys who put us in this hole, it was a 4-year thing. It’s hard to put the blame on the current players, but I think it’s a good rule to implement.”

After Menzies completes his senior year, he plans to continue playing soccer in the Premier Develop League with his team, CFC Azul, while pursuing a career as a civil engineer.

“Playing at the college level, you aren’t playing at the highest Division I level conferences so it’s kind of hard to get looked at by recruits,” Menzies says. “I’m going to try and work my way up through the system and play for CFC Azul and see where that takes me.”


Blue Devils Fall Short To Fairleigh

Despite its recent success on the road in the past three games, the CCSU Men’s Soccer team struggled on Sunday afternoon losing to Fairleigh Dickinson 2-0.
The NEC matchup was a pivotal game for both squads because the teams were tied atop the standings at 10 points apiece entering the game.
Although both schools recorded 8 shots for the game, Fairleigh Dickinson capitalized on its opportunities and took full advantage of CCSU’s defensive breakdowns.
“We played a very good opponent in FDU who came out very physical. We gave away two weak goals in the first half and it gave us a hole to climb out of. It didn’t reflect the way we’ve been playing in this season. Our passing game was doing well and we had an off day, just like a bad day in the office. We weren’t composed, and they were physically intimidating up top,” said Coach Green.
Nico Wright gave FDU a 1-0 lead in the 19th minute when the ball was crossed from the right side of the box by Jeffrey Barrenchea. After a deflection in the penalty box, Wright found the ball at his feet and placed it past goalkeeper Anthony Occhiali with precision.
FDU’s second goal came in the 30th minute when CCSU lackadaisically coughed up the ball in their half of the field. Jan Aubert dribbled down the left side of the pitch and put a shot on goal that caromed off Occhiali’s gloves and slowly rolled its way over the goal line.
Fairleigh Dickinson has taken sole control of first place in the NEC standings with 13 points and a conference record of 4-0-1.
CCSU’s inability to finish their scoring opportunities cost them dearly. Coach Green reinforced that point during the game by repeatedly shouting across the pitch, “Make them count lads!”
“I think we’re mentally prepared for every game. It’s a funny thing, you go out on the field and think you’re prepared and 11 other guys have something else to say about that. You’re talking about the best two teams in the conference going at it and somebody has to give. Unfortunately it was us. I don’t think it was lack of preparation.  We had a good, inspired performance on Friday night. We rested up and that’s all you can do on a day off. We had an off day and I think at some point in the season FDU will have their off day too”, said Coach Green.
Regardless of the their NEC record at the end of the season, tip your hat to CCSU for continuing to compete despite being unable to participate in the NEC and NCAA tournament as a result of the academic sanctions brought upon them.
Freshmen Ben Knight received NEC Rookie of the Week after scoring the first two goals of his collegiate career against St. Francis (NY).
The Blue Devils’ next home game is on Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. versus Mount St. Mary’s.


Women’s Soccer Win First NEC Game Of The Season

The CCSU Blue Devils Women’s soccer team has acquired its first NEC win of the season, following a Julie Lavoie goal off of a Claire Walsh corner and Danica Foglio pass on 15 minutes.

“It was great for team morale to win our first NEC game. We’ve been very unlucky in some recent games but tonight we enjoyed some good luck,” said Coach D’Arcy following the match.

Though the game was won, the Blue Devils defense was put to the test. The Mountaineers outshot the Blue Devils 16-8. Nevertheless, the employment of the counter attack from the early minutes of the game by CCSU proved decisive as they scored off a corner kick following a counter-attack. They had a great game, forcing St. Mary’s to distance shots and only one shot on goal that was saved by Nikola Deiter.

From the onset, St. Mary’s searched for the win and accumulated four shots on goal in 10 minutes. Jackie Corley and Andrea Bujacich tormented CCSU’s Deiter and company with runs on the flank. Bujacich combined pace and vision to find passes from the middle. However, she was frustrated as the Blue Devils’ defense kept her passes limited to the 25th yard line.

CCSU resorted to counter-attacks although they are used to possession football. They employed a high line from the 10th minute on and saw a pay-off in the 15th minute. Claire Walsh stepped up for her second corner in the match and delivered a curler to Danica Foglio who expertly picked out Julie Lavoie; she placed the ball in the bottom left corner of the goal to give CCSU a 1-0 lead.

D’Arcy explained that, “Injuries to DeCaro, Been, Cavallari, Christo, O’Leary, Kelley and Robinson forced us into some changes,” however, the team has been resilient,  “the players on the field were determined not to let their teammates down,” he concluded.

The lead would stick, but St. Mary’s tried its best to get back in the game but couldn’t as CCSU crowded the midfield. With a high defensive line and three midfielders to account for, CCSU forced St. Mary’s to long shots, many of which did not trouble Nikola Deiter.

The Australian keeper didn’t have the busiest of matches, but was forced into a splendid save in the second half. St. Mary’s wing back Brinley Watts ran the ball down the left flank and crossed it for Jackie Corley who controlled the shot with her right foot before firing. The astute Deiter, however, dove in on the ball moments before the shot and kept her side in the lead.

On the search for an equalizer, St. Mary’s gained a yellow card but accumulated 13 fouls. The match ended CCSU’s losing streak and St. Mary’s felt like they deserved more. This match gave the Blue Devils their first win of the NEC Season but remained at the bottom of the league with three points from six matches.

Coach D’Arcy reiterated the team’s desire to end the season with strong performances and that good performances have just started: “The overall mood is that the team want to finish the season as strong as possible. We will take the games one at a time and right now our focus is solely on performing well against Wagner on Friday.”

They will travel to Wagner on Oct 19, a team they’re tied with, before taking on LIU Brooklyn two days later.

Menzies Penalty Kick Gives CCSU Blue Devils The Win

By Corey Pollnow

After a tough loss earlier in the week at Rutgers, the Blue Devils hosted 5-2-1 Monmouth on Sunday afternoon. CCSU outshot Monmouth 10 to 4 with Jesse Menzies accounting for four of the shots. The Blue Devils defense and senior goalkeeper Anthony Occhialin held Monmouth scoreless through 90 minutes.

The lone goal of the game came when Jesse Menzies put the pressure on  Monmouth by dribbling past their defender and forcing an ultimatum: let Menzies put a shot on goal or tackle Menzies and hope the referee doesn’t blow his whistle.

Menzies was tripped up in the penalty box and awarded a penalty kick. Calm and composed, Menzies used technique rather than power and struck the ball with the inside of his foot to the bottom right corner of the goal. The goalkeeper guessed the wrong way and the Blue Devils were up 1-0 in the 38th minute.

Coach Green preaches to his players to not second-guess their decision and be confident when stepping up to take penalty kicks.

In the second half Monmouth was unable to capitalize on a flurry of crosses, including four corner-kicks. CCSU defended their net well in the late minutes with Thomas Obasi using his height advantage at 6’ 3” to head the ball away from the goal.

Coach Green was specifically pleased with forward Reece Wilson’s display of leadership and Occhialin’s protection of CCSU’s goal.

The Blue Devils next game is on October 5th at 3 p.m. against the 4-5-1 St. Francis Terriers in Hackensack New Jersey.

Blue Devils Fall To Bryant

By Danny Contreras

A lone Jewel Robinson goal was not enough to propel the CCSU Blue Devils Women’s Soccer team to victory over Bryant University.

The Blue Devils entered the game with two NEC losses so far in their campaign, and could not capitalize on massive amounts of possession with Bryant outdoing them in the counter-attack.

The Blue Devils began the game positively, participating in multiple pass and run movements that almost unlocked the Bryant defense before the tenth minute. Marissa Quesnel would try her luck from 20 yards but her shot went high off the bar. Minutes later, the Blue Devils would gain a corner kick that resulted in nothing. Shortly thereafter, Danica Foglio beat the keeper with a powerful header that bounced painfully close to the post but eventually went wide.

CCSU was outdone on thirteen minutes, however, when a Bryant attack produced a corner kick from the right. Shana Follette curled the ball directly at Carolyn Giuliano who was in front of the goal, and cooly scored the first goal of the game by beating Nikola Deiter.

Similar to the Bulldog’s goal, Kerriann Welch lofted a corner kick to Robinson, who patiently waited for the ball to arrive and equalized by sending the ball diagonally to the bottom left corner of the goal.

CCSU came close to doubling their lead on 23 minutes when Welch’s shot was kept out by the posts. Minutes later, Welch and Robinson would test the Bulldog keeper, Lauren Viverito, with two well taken shots on goal, forcing Viverito to save both shots as her defenders failed her over and over. CCSU searched for another goal for the remainder of the half, stopping all counter-attacks and producing a 5-10 shots-on-goal ratio before the half time whistle.

The team entered the second half in search of a winner and early on accumulated three shots on goal through Walsh, Allison Kelley and Egan. The efforts were in vain because in 57 minutes Bryant gained the lead, after a moment of brilliance from Shana Follette.

One goal down, CCSU began playing a more attacking formation and crowded the midfield with players in order to exert more dominance and create more chances. It almost paid off when Kerriann Welch took a dipping shot on goal from the right, but the outstretched Viverito managed to keep it out, resulting in a fruitless corner for the Blue Devils. CCSU then allowed five shots on goal from the Bulldogs in 10 minutes, exposing their backline too often, and relying on Deiter.

The intensity increased with 15 minutes to go when Jewel Robinson forced a save from Viverito with a powerful line driver from the left. CCSU then gained a corner kick off a deflection, but ruined their chances by committing a foul in the penalty area.

The Blue Devils were poised to score the equalizer that would take them to overtime and almost broke through the Bryant defense when Rachel Cerrone’s shot rattled the crossbars, beating the keeper but not the post.

Welch and Cerrone forced two saves from Viverito. Allison Kelley earned a yellow card on 89 minutes due to aggressive play. With one final move left the Cerrone tested her luck exactly at 90 minutes, but her shot was poor and it went wide of the post, effectively concluding a game that was already won by the astute Bryant defense.

The Blue Devils are currently last in the NEC with a 0-3-0 record, allowing 17 goals in the process and registering a sole win against New Hampshire.

Their next NEC game will be against St. Francis on Oct 5, 2012. The Blue Devils and Coach D’Arcy will be keen on getting at least a point from this match as they are last in the standings with zero points, and Robert Morris has acquired one following a draw in their fixture.