The Central Connecticut women's soccer team was bested by the University of South Florida in the first round of the NCAA College Cup on Tuesday. It was the first loss of the season for CCSU, who won its third consecutive NEC title this season. USF will move on to play Texas A&M on Friday, April 30 at 3:00 pm.
Central finished the regular season allowing just one goal, but were unable to withstand USF's second half push. The Bulls scored all three goals in the second half, while holding CCSU scoreless. The Blue Devils ended the year at 7-1 and went undefeated against all Northeast Conference Opponents.
Score: Central Connecticut 0, University of South Florida 3
Records: CCSU (7-1, 6-0 NEC), USF (10-0-2, 6-0-1 AAC)
Location: Bryan Park | Greensboro, NC
The first scoring opportunity in the game came off a free kick just outside of the box for USF. Paula Leblic's shot hit off the crossbar and went for a CCSU goal kick.
The Blue Devils finally got in position with just 4:25 remaining in the first half. Midfielder Roma McLaughlin sent a pretty pass to Erica Bardes in the box that found Abbey Chase. Chase sent a shot with her right foot, but it was saved by the USF goalkeeper Sydney Martinez. The game would go into the half tied with no score.
The Bulls quickly put pressure on CCSU, sending a shot towards the top of the goal just under four minutes into the half. Amanda McQuillan leaped up and made a spectacular save to keep USF scoreless.
Central had been backed up on their own end to begin the second half, and USF finally capitalized. Kate Kitching sent in a pass towards the box from the near corner and Chuara Hahn scored on a header. The goal put USF up 1-0 and marked the first time CCSU trailed in a game the entire season.
The Bulls added two more goals before the 80th minute and grabbed a commanding 3-0 lead.
Central saw a chance with under ten minutes to play, after Roma McLaughlin snuck into the box. However, she had no angle to fire off a shot and Central could not take advantage of the opportunity.
"It's takes a while to absorb today, but all of the accomplishments we had this season were fantastic. We'll use this experience to learn for the fall."
-Head Coach Mick D'Arcy
NUMBER TO KNOW
4 – The Blue Devils finish the season allowing just 4 goals in 8 games played . CCSU outscored its opponents 19-4 for the season.
USF put up 8 shots on goal while CCSU put just 2 on net, a new season low.
Junior goalkeeper Amanda McQuillan recorded 5 saves in 8 attempts.
This was the first meeting between CCSU and USF, with the Bulls coming out victorious.
Central is 1-1 in the team's last two NCAA First Round appearances, after upsetting Rutgers in 2019.
The Blue Devils will get back to play in the fall and look to win a fourth straight Northeast Conference championship.