Central Connecticut State University senior Leah Blayney, the conference's leading scorer, was named the Northeast Conference women's soccer player of the year on Thursday night. Head Coach Mick D'Arcy earned his fourth NEC Coach of the Year honor after leading the Blue Devils to a 9-0-1 conference record and the top seed in Friday's NEC Tournament. Senior Karise Hilt and junior Beth Lloyd were named to the NEC First Team, while senior Caity Casey and sophomore Brittany Jackson were named second team All-NEC. The Blue Devils play fourth seed Long Island at 11 a.m. on Friday morning in New Britain.
Blayney's impressive senior campaign was highlighted by her
success in her opponent's half of the field. The midfielder earns
CCSU an unprecedented eighth Player of the Year honor all-time and
its first since 2005. Hailing from Katoomba, New South Wales, the
overwhelming vote-getter for this honor ranks second on the team
and in the league with 10 goals but tops the leader board with 13
assists, eight of which came during conference contests, and 33
points. She recently was named adidas/NEC Player of the Week and is
tied for 16th nationally in points per game (1.83). Her tallies for
goals and assists helped pace the Blue Devils for a league-leading
mark of 46 goals and 2.42 per game as well as 49 assists and 2.58
per game. This is Blayney's third all-NEC first team selection.
D'Arcy earns NEC Coach of the Year accolades for the fourth time since he joined the head coaching ranks at CCSU in 2000. Since his inaugural season, D'Arcy has led the Blue Devils to four regular season first place finishes, eight straight postseason appearances and five conference tournament crowns, four of those won at home in New Britain, CT. CCSU notched an undefeated regular-season NEC slate (9-0-1) that marks its fifth time in history doing so. CCSU outscored their conference opponents 33-8 in 10 games as it enters the postseason ranked first in shots (282), points (141), goals (46), goals per game (2.24), assists (49) and assists per game (2.58).
In addition to Blayney, Lloyd and Hilt earned places on the all-NEC first team. Lloyd, a two-time adidas/NEC Player of the Week selection, recorded a league-leading three-way tie for goals scored (11) and ranks tied for 44th with .579 per game. She also added five assists and ranks 50th in the NCAA for points per game (1.42). Hilt anchored a defense that posted four shutouts. This is the senior's second first team honor.
The Blue Devils find two more players taking home all-Conference honors as Jackson and Casey earned a place on the second team. Jackson tallied five goals and seven assists for 17 points during the regular season, while Casey notched four shutouts and boasted an undefeated record in the conference in goal.
The Blue Devils host Long Island at 11 a.m. on Friday morning. Fans who cannot make the game can watch the action live on Northeastconference.tv.