The Central Connecticut women's soccer team collected four of the six major individual awards and saw five players receive all-conference honors at the annual NEC pre-tournament awards banquet Thursday night. Tori Sousa was named NEC Player of the Year, Jennifer Cafferky was named both NEC Defensive Player of the Year and NEC Rookie of the Year, and Nicki Turley was named NEC Goalkeeper of the Year.
Senior captain Tori Sousa becomes the eighth Blue Devil in program history to be named NEC Player of the Year and the first since Leah Blayney (2009) . The forward from Nashua, NH leads Central Connecticut with five goals, six assists and 16 points to pace a Blue Devil offense that ranks third in the NEC in goals per game (1.56). Sousa, who tallied the game-winning goal against Fairleigh Dickinson on Oct. 10, ranks fourth in the league in assists per game, sixth in points per game and ninth in goals per game. Sousa was a first team All-NEC honoree in 2013, her first season as a Blue Devil after transferring from UMass-Amherst. As the 2014 NEC Player of the Year, Sousa also earns first team All-NEC honors again this season.
Freshman Jennifer Cafferky becomes the first player in NEC history to be named NEC Defensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year in the same season. She also joins former CCSU standout, Jane McFarlane, as the only other Blue Devil to earn two major individual awards in the same season. Cafferky anchored a Blue Devil defense from the center-back position that allowed less than one goal per game during the regular season. Likewise, the Blue Devils have turned in eight clean sheets this season, including four in Northeast Conference play. The two-time NEC Rookie of the Week posted two goals in her rookie campaign, including the game-winner in double overtime against LIU Brooklyn on Oct. 26. With the honors, Cafferky also reserves a spot on the All-NEC first team and the NEC All-Rookie team.
Sophomore stopper Nicki Turley is just the second Blue Devil to be named NEC Goalkeeper of the Year and is the second in the past three years. Turley ranks second in the NEC with a 0.97 goals against average and her five shutouts is the third best mark on the circuit. In her first season as CCSU's primary net minder, Turley has posted a .793 overall save percentage, and an even better .865 save percentage mark against league opposition. Turley also earns a spot on the All-NEC first team as the NEC Goalkeeper of the Year.
Other than the major individual award winners, the Blue Devils also saw two more players honored by the NEC.
Sophomore midfielder Kelly Halligan earned her first all-conference appearance and was tabbed to the All-NEC first team. Halligan finished the regular season with five goals, five assists and 15 points. She ranks in the NEC top-10 in goals, assists and points. Halligan also delivered a team best two game-winning goals.
Freshman Brianna Scaldaferri was recognized on the NEC All-Rookie team finishing her freshman season with two assists. The rookie has seen action in 17 games for the Blue Devils, making 14 starts as part of CCSU's back four defenders.
The Blue Devils enter the Northeast Conference Tournament as the third seed and will face off against the second seed Wagner tomorrow, Nov. 7. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m. and fans can watch live, for free, on NECFrontrow.com.