Women’s Soccer Win And Advance To NEC Championship

George Attwood, Social Media Editor

Central overcame windy conditions and the cold weather to beat Sacred Heart 3-1 in the first Northeast Conference semi-final. With the win, Central will now face the winner of Bryant vs Fairleigh Dickinson on Sunday for the NEC Championship.

The Blue Devils continued their streak of scoring first thanks to junior defender, Erica Bardes. After strong wing play down Central’s right-hand side from senior midfielder, Emily Hogan, whose cross into the box found its way to Bardes who stuck it into the back of the net.

The Blue Devil uncharacteristically conceded from a corner and went into the half with the scores level, 1-1.

Head coach Mick D’Arcy said he was proud of the way his side played and over the conditions.

“I thought we did very well, these are tough conditions to play in,” D’Arcy said. “I thought, again, Sacred Heart gave us some problems but we dealt with it well in the first half and then when we had the wind to start the second half there was that 10 minute period when we had a lot of chances and we took those chances.”

At halftime, D’Arcy wanted to stress to the players how well they had played despite conceding the goal just before the half time whistle.

“The message at that half was that they had played 43 minutes of really good soccer,” D’Arcy said. “You could see them walk off so disappointed but I didn’t want that to be the message, we wanted them to understand that they had been great up until that point and if we kept doing what we were doing we would get chances in the second half.”

Central retook the lead minutes into the second half after a score from senior midfielder, Emily Hogan. The Pioneers couldn’t clear their lines and Hogan dribbled past two players and shot the ball over the keeper’s head.

To start the second half Roma McLaughlin, NEC Midfielder of the Year, appeared in her first game after missing three due to injury. This benefited the side as she helped them to get back into the game with an assist for Central’s third goal. After a strong run down the right-hand side, McLaughlin squared the ball across the box and Bardes shot from 25 yards out into the top corner to make the score 3-1 for the Blue Devils.

Going forward, Hogan said she enjoyed the victory but stressed the importance of starting strong in Sunday’s final no matter who they play.

“We want to keep up a lot of energy and come out strong,” Hogan said. “Something we pride ourselves on is other teams not knowing how to handle our high pressure. So we’re just hoping whoever we’re playing to come out with a bang and bring it to them right away.”

The NEC Championship on Sunday is yet to be scheduled but the Blue Devils will look to repeat as champions.