Category Archives: Soccer

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.

Women’s Soccer Gets Tight Win Against Temple

by Humera Gul

The Central Connecticut State University women’s soccer team improved to 4-5 overall on the season with a win over Temple. This was CCSU’s second win in the last three games and they shutout the Temple Owls 1-0.

The game was a very defensive game, especially in the first half. The first half was scoreless and Temple had eight shots, the blue devils had only three. The Blue Devils were aggressive on offense in the second half and opportunities opened.

“We start conference play next week, so this was our last preparation game and it’s important to win. This was our fourth win of the season and it was against a very good Temple team. I think a win like this does our confidence a world of good,” Coach D’Arcy said. Temple is ranked well in their conference and this was a good test for the Blue Devils.

“Not a whole lot of chances tonight compared to our last game, but we are strong on the defense and I think we have a good team,” Coach D’Arcy said.

CCSU junior Danielle Pearse put in the only goal of the game. It was a play that involved a quick pass from Kelly Halligan to Yo Tachibana. Tachibana than passed it to Pearse and she beat her defender to the goal.

“It felt so good to score at that moment in the game and the whole environment here was awesome. It was great and everyone was getting loud,” Pearse said. Blue Devil fans were stomping on bleachers and cheering loudly after Pearse scored.

“She took the goal very well, some good movement beforehand, Yo took the defense one way and played the ball back the other way to create the space for Danielle and her finish was really good. She had a great chance in the first half too,” Coach D’Arcy said. It was a team effort that enabled Pearse to score and the defense was quick to react to the Owls. The Blue Devils kept the ball on the Owls side, especially in the second half.

“After this game, I feel we are really ready for the NEC play. We have been playing and had ups and downs but to finish on this high note was great. I think we’re ready,” Pearse explained. This game enabled the blue devils to start league play with a lot of confidence.

“I’ll find out next Friday, it’s going to be tough, were playing FDU, who are one of the top teams in the NEC. It’s going to be at their place and our first three games for the league play are all on the road. So, we’ve got three tough battles and we will take them one at a time.” Coach D’Arcy concluded. D’Arcy was confident in the team and felt proud of the girls.

CCSU will go on to three road games to start the NEC play and the first game will be on Friday.

The Blue Devils will open league play at Fairliegh Dickinson on Friday, September 29.

Men’s Soccer Falls To Columbia, Loses Team Leader

by Patrick Gustavson

Central Connecticut’s men’s soccer team could not muster much offense as they fell to Columbia by a score of 2-0, falling to a record of 3-4-1 on the season.

However, the Blue Devils might have suffered a worse loss than the scoreboard indicated. They were forced to play the entire second half without goalkeeper Nick Velleca, who was injured with just minutes to play in the first half. The injury occurred when he aggressively left the goal on a corner kick and collided with a Columbia player, re-injuring his ACL, an injury which he had just returned from, per Green.

Following the game, it was feared that Velleca would be lost for the season. “It might have finished his college career today. I thought he had a great chance to go pro this year, too,” said Green.

Velleca, a fifth year graduate student, is a team leader both on and off the field. He had started three games prior to Friday night, most notably shutting out Florida Gulf Coast.

Seeing action in all four of his seasons with the team, perhaps his best was in 2016, when he led the conference in saves per game, in in-conference games and was second in total saves.

More importantly however, are his contributions off the field. “He’s the heart of the team: he’s our leader, he’s our motivator, he’s our captain, he’s our motivator in the locker room,” Green said. “We haven’t had a chance to take in how bad this is going to put us back.”

Velleca was replaced in the second half by junior Carson D’Ambrosio, who shut down the Columbia offense, saving all six shots on goal. He also received a vote of confidence from his coach for the rest of the way.

Both of Columbia’s goals were scored by forward Arthur Bosua, one on a pass from Danny Laranetto in minute 21, and with a header on a corner kick from Beto Carillo in minute 34.

Blue Devil’s head coach Shaun Green, sang Bosua’s praises following the game. “The number nine (Bosua) up top is a very intelligent player, and we had to shut him down, and that was the game plan,” he said. “The difference today was number nine; he is a top-class, quality player, and a professional quality player, for sure.”

The Blue Devils failed to capitalize on opportunities to score, including eight corner kicks and 14 shots on goal. After allowing the two first half goals, the defense tightened up, holding the Lions scoreless in the second half.

Despite the loss, Green was pleased with his team’s performance, particularly taking Columbia’s undefeated record into consideration: “It may sound a bit strange, but take away those two goals, those couple seconds in the game, and we matched them,” he said.

“We gave it as good as we’ve got today. We created opportunities, we matched them in possession time. I thought we were as good as Columbia tonight, regardless of the score line.”


9/20 Champions League Week One Recap


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.

Women’s Soccer Splits Last Two Games

by Evan Sobol

CCSU vs Vermont

The Blue Devil Women’s Soccer earned their first home victory of the season in a 2-0 shutout against Vermont on Friday. Central dominated on defense, holding the Catamounts to just one shot on goal.

Midfielder Charlotte Maurer scored the first goal for the Blue Devils with a header in minute 47. It was Maurer’s first goal of the season. Midfielder Yo Tachibana, assisted on the play with the cross from a corner kick. It was Tachibana’s first assist of the season.

CCSU scored again just 10 minutes later in minute 57, when Kelly Halligan scored with a mid-range shot into the upper left corner of the net. It was the forward’s first goal of the season.

The visitors had trouble offensively all night. They only forced one shot, by midfielder Colby Snyder, giving Central goalie Ashley Cavanaugh an easy night. Vermont also forced just one corner kick to the Blue Devils’ seven.

Central recorded 10 total shots on goal. Vermont goalie Coco Speckmaier, finished the night with eight saves. A total of seven Blue Devils finished the game with at least one shot on goal.

CCSU vs Brown

The Blue Devils (3-5) fell 2-1 at Ivy League opponent Brown (6-2), on Sunday afternoon.

Central got off to a hot start offensively. Yo Tachibana scored her first goal of the season in minute 11, with a strike from short range. “She’s quite a versatile player, she’s got great mobility and she pops up all over the place,” said head coach Mick D’Arcy of Tachibana. “I think she’s a good player to play with because she’s constantly making herself available to get on the ball.” Kelly Halligan and Charlotte Maurer each recorded an assist on the play. “Kelly, Charlotte, and Yo, all three of them are good passers of the ball so they’re always looking to combine,” said D’Arcy.

Brown answered with a goal in minute 24. Midfielder Celia Story, met the ball at the edge of the box and scored from close range. It was Story’s fourth goal of the season.

The first half got off to a promising start for Brown. Star White scored in minute 55. The header was her third goal of the season. It was scored on a cross just like the first goal for the Bears. “Both goals came that way so we knew that was a strength and on two occasions we failed to defend it,” said coach D’Arcy.

Central had some opportunities to level the score with five corner kicks but could not capitalize. Halligan also had a goal opportunity with a shot in minute 59, but the attempt was saved by Brown’s Christine Etzel, who finished the game with four saves. CCSU’s Ashley Cavanaugh recorded six saves on eight shots on goal.

With the loss, CCSU falls to 3-5 on the season. They currently sit at fourth in the Northeast Conference standings. There are only two teams in the conference that have a win percentage above .500; the remaining seven teams have a win percentage of .389 or below. The Blue Devils will face their last non-conference opponent of the season on Saturday, when they host the Temple Owls (4-3-1). Kickoff is at 7 pm.