In a crucial match on the road at Bryant the Central Connecticut women's soccer team earned its fifth straight victory and advanced to 9-7 and 5-2 in the Northeast Conference after shutting out the Bulldogs 1-0 on Sunday afternoon. With the win, CCSU clinches a NEC Touranment berth and advances to to first place in the league standings with 15 points.
The Blue Devils handed Bryant its first loss on its home field and falls to fourth place at 4-3 in the NEC and 10-4-2 overall.
The Blue Devils haven't surrendered a goal in the last 495.29 minutes of action. Junior goal keeper, Ashley Cavanaugh, recorded her eighth shutout of the season and fifth straight with a total of five saves for Central.
Early on, senior Kelly Halligan nearly gave the Blue Devils the lead with a 25-yard shot with 12:47 left in the first half that bounced off of the crossbar. CCSU applied pressure against the Bulldogs with an aggressive style of play from the opening kickoff.
In the game's 61st minute, Blue Devil head coach Mick D'Arcy called up freshman Jenna Rae Covello looking for a spark off the bench. A spark is just what Covello gave. On the initial play following the dead ball, sophomore Emily Hogan received the ball off the far sideline and launched it ahead to a bolting Covello who beat her Bryant defender and the keeper notching her fourth goal of the season in stride. The heads-up play from the rookie gives her three game-winning goals on the year.
Bryant earned themselves a good free kick scoring opportunity with just 12 minutes to go, but the shot was rejected from the Central wall of defenders. As time expired the Blue Devils calmly maintained possession and ousted all chances that the Bulldogs had for the equalizer.
Central women's soccer will celebrate its senior class on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. prior to the Blue Devils regular season finale at CCSU Soccer Field against the visiting LIU Brooklyn.