NEW BRITAIN - Following an eight-game season in the spring, the Central Connecticut State womenâ€™s soccer team will look to extend its three-year run of dominance over the Northeast Conference in a more complete fashion.
The Blue Devils played six regular season games last year, going undefeated against a series of NEC opponents with a goal differential of 15-1. A 4-0 win over Long Island University earned CCSU its third conference title in a row before it swept the postseason awards.
The Blue Devils hold a 1-1 record after two matches in the 2021 season, most recently taking a victory over Albany with a goal from Kelly Brady in the final minute of play.
Central Connecticut returns three of its award-winners and three first team all-conference selections from last year as head coach Mick Dâ€™Arcy looks to continue adding wins to his resume after eclipsing 200 wins 2019.
â€śWeâ€™re definitely looking to keep our winning streak going,â€ť junior goalkeeper Amanda McQuillan said. â€śHopefully [have] some clean sheets in the future because we had six out of seven clean sheets last year.â€ť
Leading the way for the squad on the field will be junior midfielder Roma McLaughlin. She led the team in goals each of the past two seasons and earned third team all-American honors along with her second NEC midfielder of the year award and third selection to the all-NEC first team.
Anchoring the Blue Devilsâ€™ defense will be McQuillan, the reigning NEC goalkeeper of the year, who did not allow any goals in six matches against conference opponents last year. The only scores against McQuillan last season came in the teamsâ€™ 3-0 loss to South Florida in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
â€śThereâ€™s a confidence back there with her,â€ť Dâ€™Arcy said. â€śSheâ€™s an excellent distributor and she makes the saves sheâ€™s supposed to make.â€ť
CCSU opened its 2021 campaign with a 2-1 loss to UConn on Aug. 21. McLaughlin netted the first goal of the game to give the Blue Devils the lead, but the Huskies answered back by halftime and then took the lead with 10 minutes left in the match to grab the win.
Central Connecticut returns to the pitch Aug. 29 to host the University of New Hampshire. The Blue Devils begin conference play Sept. 19 on the road against Mount St. Maryâ€™s and finish their regular season Oct. 31 at home against LIU.
â€śThereâ€™s no rush to get to the finish line here,â€ť Dâ€™Arcy said after the win. â€śWeâ€™ve got New Hampshire over the weekend, weâ€™ll get through that and then we start a fresh week again on Monday. Then we have two big games with Colgate and Oregon State. Itâ€™s a process and you donâ€™t want to rush it. Weâ€™re in a good place now, this was a really good team win and I think we can build off this.â€ť
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org.