Women’s Soccer Draws Tie In Interstate Showdown

Ryan Jones, Sports Editor

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Central Connecticut’s women’s soccer team has a long rooted history against UConn. Sixteen years ago, the Huskies took the Blue Devils to double overtime in the NCAA Tournament before defeating CCSU 3-2. Thursday’s game against UConn also went to double overtime, but the Blue Devils were not focused on history and certainly did not repeat it.

The interstate rivals fought toe-to-toe throughout the first half of play. Both offenses were held without a goal and were unable to gather much momentum. The Blue Devils only had two shots in the period, still one more than the Huskies. Just nine minutes into the game, the Huskies were awarded a corner kick, but were unable to get anything going with it. Offside calls stalled the Blue Devil offense twice in a three minute span, but as head coach Mick D’Arcy puts it, “if you play too cautious and try to stay onside the whole time, you never get the benefits of it.”

The Blue Devils came out of the half recharged, with Junior Erica Bardes throwing a shot on goal just three minutes into the period. She would finish the day with a team high four shots, including one as regulation ended that almost secured a Blue Devil win. Both teams were more aggressive, with CCSU again landing one more shot than UConn with six, while Central had three on goal to UConn’s one.

With 12 minutes remaining in regulation, sophomore Jamie Collimore finally broke the stalemate, scoring her first goal of the game and season. While Central was quick to celebrate, UConn got themselves on the board just three minutes later. Both teams had opportunities to seal the victory as the clock winded down, including a shot on goal from Tess Atkinson in the final two minutes of regulation.

“We stood up and took control of the game in the second half,” D’Arcy explains. “If you look at the amount of chances we had compared to what they had, we were the better team in the half.”

Both offenses had their chances throughout the two periods of overtime, with both teams totaling six shots in extra time. Despite the chances, neither team was able to score in the final 20 minutes.

“It was a battle today, we had some great chances.” D’Arcy said. “You could see the emotion from the team, they were pumped up, they wanted to win this one.”

Playing in its second overtime game in three games, the Blue Devils had “a lot of wear and tear on the body” according to D’Arcy. While the level of play never took a hit, some players had to use substitutions late as a result of cramping up, a common occurrence over the course of a 110 minute game.

“You move forward to the next game…you have to learn but then quickly you have to put that in its own little box, that game is done and on to the next one which is Albany on Sunday,” said D’Arcy.

In Sunday’s game against Albany, the Blue Devils appeared to be feeling the wear of a few long games in a row. The Great Danes started off the scoring in the 32nd minute, and quickly gained a 2-0 lead out of the half. Central would fight back in the second half, as sophomore Roma McLaughlin scored her second goal of the season (a team high).

Central Connecticut was not without its chances. Through the game, CCSU totaled seven corner kicks to Albany’s one. This marked the Blue Devils’ second loss of the season, matching their total from last year.

They’ll look to bounce back against Iona Sept. 5 in their final home game before a grueling six game road stand.