November 4, 2012

CCSU Stunned By Bryant on Senior Day

The Central Connecticut men's soccer team dropped a heartbreaking 2-1 decision to Bryant in the final seconds of the second overtime period Sunday afternoon.  Central ends their season 8-8-2 overall and 6-3-1 in Northeast Conference play.  Sunday's match was Senior Day for the eight 2012 Blue Devil seniors.

Seniors James Perkins, Ben Walsh, Mamoudou Dioubate, Thomas Obasi, Steven Bailey, Anthony Occhialini, Reece Wilson, and Jesse Menzies were all honored before the match as it was their last game in uniform for the Blue Devils.

Wilson wasted no time getting Central on the board in the first half quickly scoring his ninth goal of the season just two minutes into the game.  Menzies pushed the ball up the center of the field before sending a pass to sophomore Tiago Martins down the right side.  Martins drew Bryant keeper Chris Knaub then fed a cross to the left side of the box where Wilson tapped in the goal.  The assist was Martins' first of the season and Menzies' fifth.

The Blue Devils overwhelmed Knaub in the first half firing 12 shots at the keeper compared to the Bulldogs' two.  Both of Bryant's shot attempts in the first period were denied by Occhialini who picked up a pair of saves before the break.

Early in the second half, Central was called for a hand-ball inside of their own goal box which awarded the Bulldogs a penalty kick in the 46th minute.  Connor Norat of Bryant lined up to attempt the free kick and fired a shot past Occhialini to knot the game at 1-1.

Just 10 minutes later in the period, Menzies was fouled hard in the Bulldog's goal box and a second penalty kick was awarded, this time to the Blue Devils.  Menzies placed his shot to the right side of the goal but the attempt was stopped by Knaub.  Menzies was a perfect two-for-two shooting penalty kicks this season before the failed attempt.

The two teams wrapped up regulation tied at one apiece and 20 more minutes were needed to decide the match.  Central out shot Bryant once again in the second period 10 shots to five.

After a scoreless first overtime period, the two squads remained even at 1-1 and entered the second and final overtime period of the match.

In the closing seconds of the game, Brett Larocque sealed the victory for the Bulldogs punching in the game-winning score with three seconds left.  The goal came off of a Bryant throw-in with 15 seconds on the clock.  The ball was batted around inside of the box until Larocque took advantage of the vacated goal and put the Blue Devils away with the hearbreaking score.

Occhialini finished the game with four saves and played every minute in the box for Central in his final game as the Blue Devil's keeper.  He ended his 2012 season with an 8-7-2 overall record.

The Blue Devils finished their 2012 campaign 8-8-2 overall and 6-3-1 in NEC play.  Their 19 points was good for a fourth place finish in the regular season.