Women’s Soccer Beats Albany in OT

The Blue Devils before the game. Photo: Kenny Barto

By Danny Contreras

The Central Connecticut Blue Devils women’s soccer team defeated the Albany Great Danes 3-2 in overtime following the completion of Brittany Jackson’s hat-trick.

“Content-wise a win is always good. We didn’t feel too good after the Holy Cross game, and we came back against Syracuse, and we had a lead and gave it up; but to tie it up in the last minute gave us the confidence for today’s game,” said Head Coach Mick D’Arcy.

Jackson scored twice in the first half before the Great Danes equalized in the second half with goals from Aubrey Vangorder and Shayla Bergeron.

“We were all pumped for the game and after we scored the first two goals it gave us confidence,” said Jackson. “But after they scored their two goals we just needed to keep our composure. And it paid off.”

Following the end of regulation time, and with just a minute remaining of the first half of overtime, Jackson completed her hat trick and won the game for the Blue Devils with the rule of golden goal applied.

Brittany Jackson celebrates with her teammate, Rosie Maguire. Photo: Kenny Barto

The match started with an amorphous CCSU midfield, losing possession in the midfield. It was Jewel Robinson, the standout star in the backline, who kept the team composed and on the ground with some spectacular defending. Rosie Maguire dropped back a couple of times to provide an extra woman on the defense as the Great Danes kept pushing on from the middle to the Blue Devils’ final third.

However as the game wore on, CCSU started to settle in, and begun some wonderful runs down the left, right and center to unsettle the Albany backline. The Great Dane keeper, Dani Britt, was tested and defeated on 13 minutes when Julie Lavoie played Jackson on the right with an incisive through pass that latched on to Jackson who put it past Britt. The white-and-blue striped Blue Devils were ahead and imposing themselves on the Great Danes, who could not respond to the possession style D’Arcy employed against them.

Three minutes later, on 16 minutes, Jackson braced the game with another goal. This time it was Maguire at the heart of the action as she played Jackson down the center of the field, into the final third of the Great Danes with a perfectly lofted high ball, which Jackson finished coolly.

Britt should’ve done better with this effort as Jackson’s ball slipped off her hands and rolled behind the goal line.

The intensity never let go from the Blue Devils and Robinson returned to her fullback ways sprinting down the center, past three players, but her speed disallowed her teammates to catch on and a cross to Maguire went out wide.

The Great Danes never gave up and continued to press on the midfield, and actually won a couple of battles but could not create chances for their lone striker, Chelsea DeVerna.

The first half soon ended with the Blue Devils leading 2-0.

The second half started in similar fashion to the first one, and CCSU paid the price as they allowed Albany back into the game. At 53 minutes, Aubrey VanGorder found some space after a misplaced pass by CCSU’s Nikola Deiter and rebounded off an Albany forward and to VanGorder, who capitalized and cut the lead in half.

The minutes passed and the CCSU looked to extend its lead, which almost happened when Maguire saw her shot blocked by Britt.

Albany kept pressing on wholeheartedly in the CCSU final third, and it paid off when a solo effort by Bergeron cut down the left flank and took her shot just off the left post.

Deiter managed to get her hand on it but could not prevent it from going in, tying the score 2-2 with just twenty minutes to go.

The game finished in regulation time at 2-2.

“It’s a young team and we live off our emotions a little bit, and you could tell that at 2-1 we were a little rattled, and after they scored the second goal it was game on for them. They were a team that looked out of it in the first half, and they were very much back into and we needed to find ourselves again,” said D’Arcy.

The Blue Devils came close to finishing Albany off early in overtime but Allison Kelley’s shot was saved by Britt who could only deflect it for a corner.

On the other end, Bergeron tried doing the same, but it was saved by Deiter, who had become a wall. Her performance started off a counter attack that was picked up by Danica Foglio who threaded a run down the center with a perfectly weighted through pass for Jackson,  who finished it even better and won the match with the completion of her hat trick.

“It was a great one for all of us. We’ve got stuck a couple of times; going into overtime, we’ve ended our last two in a draw. We got sick of the ties and we stepped it up and we kept the intensity up,” said hat-trick hero Jackson soon after the game ended.

The Blue Devils will go on a three-game road stint before returning to home play on Oct. 7 against St. Francis (PA). The game will be held at 7 p.m. at Willowbrook park.