The Northeast Conference deemed Central Connecticut senior Jennifer Cafferky the four-time NEC Defensive Player of the Year and junior Ashley Cavanaugh the NEC Goalkeeper of the Year on Thursday night at the 2017 Northeast Conference Tournament banquet featuring the pre-championship awards ceremony.
The two were honored after leading the league with six-straight shutouts and breaking the program record for the least amount of goals scored during NEC action this year, surrendering a sensationally low two goals. Anchoring the back line, one of the NEC's most decorating women's soccer standouts, Cafferky was commended with her fourth-straight Defensive Player of the Year award (2014-17).
Cavanaugh earned her first major award and is the fourth-straight Blue Devil to capture the Goalkeeper of the Year honor (Nikki Turley, 2014-16). A three-time NEC Defensive Player of the Week, formed a terrific one-two defensive punch with Cafferky. The junior keeper ranks 20th in the nation and led the NEC with nine shutouts over the course of the regular season. The Cavanaugh started every single game for CCSU and ranks second on the circuit in goals against average (0.64) and save percentage (.851).
Cafferky made history by becoming the first player in league annals to be selected NEC Defensive Player of Year four consecutive seasons, and only the second to win four straight major awards in women's soccer. The Boras, Sweden product joined four-time NEC Player of the Year Tessa McKibben (2010-13) of Saint Francis U in the conference recordbook. Cafferky anchored a Blue Devil defense that posted nine shutouts and allowed just two goals for the entirety of conference play.
Joining the dynamic duo, senior Kelly Halligan was selected to the First Team All-Conference for the second-straight season. The England native, ranks third on the team in scoring with eight points. Halligan has also recorded a team-best four assists in 17 games, two of which have come in the last three contests.
Central's other senior captain Brianna Scaldaferri won Second Team All-Conference. The Plainview, NY veteran has made an intangible impact over the course of her four-year career. Heading into the 2017 NEC Tournament, Scaldaferri has started 65 of 75 matches played in a blue and white uniform.
The Blue Devils' two true freshmen, Erica Bardes and Jenna Rae Covello, were both chosen to the 2017 NEC All-Rookie Team. Bardes, the team's point leader in NEC play, has kicked it into another gear starting the last seven games and scoring three goals in the previous three matches leading up the postseason.
Covello, is tied for the team lead in goals with four on the year, three of which were game-winners. Covello was named the Northeast Conference Rookie of the Week on Oct. 16 after netting the winning strike in a key 1-0 win at Bryant. The Plymouth, CT product sealed CCSU's double-overtime victory over SFU on Oct. 13 with a left-footed golden goal.
The talented Blue Devils seek the program's ninth title tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 3, at 2:00 p.m. at Fairleigh Dickinson against the second-seeded Saint Francis Red Flash in the second Northeast Conference semifinal of the day. First-seeded Fairleigh Dickinson will take on the fourth-seed, Bryant, at 11:00 a.m. The victor of both matches will compete for the 2017 NEC Title on Sunday at noon.