Women’s Soccer Earns Home-Field Advantage In NEC Tournament

George Attwood, Social Media Editor

Central Connecticut continued their impressive run to end their season, winning their seventh straight game and beating Sacred Heart 2-1 on Sunday. With the Blue Devils winning against the Pioneers, they are officially regular-season champions of the Northeast Conference.

Central earned the number one seed in playoffs and will host the NEC women’s soccer Tournament for the second straight year. CCSU closed the regular season with a 10-4-4 overall record and 8-1-1 in NEC play. The Blue Devils will look to win their 10th NEC Championship and their third title in the past four years.

Central continued to start their games strong, breaking the deadlock just seven minutes into the game, thanks to the penalty kick of senior Emily Hogan, the NEC Defensive Player of the Week. Hogan earned the title as a result of three assists in two games.

Head coach Mick D’Arcy was impressed with the way his side was able to start the game.

“We started off well and got another early goal,” D’Arcy said. “[The] first half was pretty much under our control, we got the second goal and looked comfortable. We probably should have got a third goal before half time. Like the first half, we started the second half strong and could have probably scored two more goals.”

Freshman Giavanna Inzerillo put the Blue Devils ahead 2-0 going into the halftime break with her fourth goal of the season.

CCSU did concede after the Pioneers fought back and tallied in the 78th minute with a goal from Meadow Mancini but Central was able to grind out a result. Sophomore goalkeeper Amanda McQuillan had four saves against five shots faced for the Blue Devils.

D’Arcy admired the way his side were able to win, guaranteeing a home-field advantage.

“15 minutes left and Sacred Heart starts to throw a few more players forward and had a few chances, scored a goal. In the last 10 minutes, we had to dig in and grind out a result.”

D’Arcy loved the way his players fought for the team.

“They had grit in the end, Ally [O’Rourke] made a save on the goal line and there were several good blocks, players like Emily Hogan had several huge blocks throughout the game.”

The Blue Devils played 18 games this year and scored a total of 39 goals, the most in the NEC, up from the 37 goals they scored last season.

D’Arcy stressed how much the team wanted to play at home in the tournament after last year’s success.

“Hosting the NECs after the success we had here last year was a big thing for this team. The successful tournament last year in the sense that we won the tournament, but also the huge crowds at both the semi-finals and the final,” D’Arcy said. “That was a great environment for the players to play in and they wanted to do that again and they know the only way to do that is by hosting.”

The Blue Devils went through a rough patch when a lot of their players were injured. D’Arcy stressed how difficult this run of games was for the team.

“If you go back through the earlier games this season, the amount of transition we had to go through because of injuries,” D’Arcy said. “We went through a period of four/five weeks where we couldn’t get a settled team, we were constantly losing players during the games to injuries and it got to the stage where we only had four substitutes and fortunately a lot of players have come back. We were able to get the stability back into the side and then with stability came the good results.”

Central Connecticut will host the 2019 Northeast Conference Tournament on Nov. 8 and 10. The Blue Devils will take on #4 Sacred Heart and #2 Fairleigh Dickinson will face #3 Bryant in the semifinals.