By ADMIR DURAKOVIC
The women’s soccer team came out on top of a physical contest on Sept. 29, winning 1-0 against the Central Connecticut Blue Devils. The result improved the teams overall record to 3-7-1 and started their NEC campaign with a 1-0 record. Overall, Central Connecticut fell to 4-6 and 0-1 in the NEC.
The Knights dominated the first half, keeping the ball in either in the central or attacking third. They applied most of the pressure with a series of shots from outside the box. Sophomore mid elder Stasi Torchia started the half with two first shots from outside the box, the first of which was red high over the goal. Torchia came close to scoring ten minutes into the first half when her second shot from outside the box was tipped over by CCSU junior goalkeeper Ashley Cavanaugh.
FDU came close to scoring once more when a free kick from senior mid elder Dara Battistoni forced another save from the CCSU keeper. CCSU responded two minutes later with a shot from outside the 18-yard box, but sophomore keeper Amanda Fitzgerald was able to match the shot with her only save of the first half. Fitzgerald put in an impressive display in goal, coming away with a total of five saves, and was effective in stopping crosses and distributing the ball to start counter attacks.
With nine minutes remaining the Knights put together an impressive counter-attack play to open the scoring. After Knight’s keeper Fitzgerald claimed a cross she distributed the ball down the right flank of the eld. A couple of quick passes led to freshman mid elder Viktorija Misljic receiving the ball near the center of the pitch. Miseljic was able to quickly turn and switch the ball over to the left-hand side of the eld with a long pass finding its way to senior mid elder Jessi Reinhardt. Reinhardt whipped in a cross toward the back post, over the CCSU goalkeeper, and found freshman forward/ mid elder So a Albertsson, who headed home her fifth goal of the season.
Knights head coach Eric Teepe described his team’s first half performance as, “our best half of the year.” The Knights controlled the first half getting the ball into wide areas of the opponents final third easily for a majority of the period. The Knights delivered a total of nine crosses into the box, much to the pleasure of Coach Teepe.
“We are always working on playing the ball wide to create chances,” Teepe said. “We have one of the biggest fields in the conference and we can turn that into a real advantage for us.”
Both periods of the game were a highly physical contest, but the Knights proved to be up to the challenge, winning a majority of 50/50 challenges throughout both periods. The second best chance for the Knights came 70 minutes into the game and featured a similar style of build-up play compared to their goal in the first half. FDU keeper Fitzgerald collected another deep long ball in her box and launched the ball down the right-hand side of the eld where it eventually found its way to Reinhardt on the left wing. Reinhardt sent in a low cross which eventually found its way to Torchia near the edge of the box, whose shot hit the frame of the goal and bounced back into play. Knights sophomore Daria Jones was able to collect the rebound and fire a shot, but was blocked by a CCSU defender.
Reinhardt was the target of two harsh challenges from two different CCSU players, both of which resulted in a yellow card. The first challenge came in the 76 minute from CCSU junior Danielle Pearse and her two-legged slide tackle on Reinhardt, who was able to continue playing despite the challenge. The second tackle focused on Reinhardt came two minutes later which unfortunately ended her night early. A harsh tackle from CCSU sophomore Shauny Alterisio earned her the second yellow of the match and forced Reinhardt into signaling the bench for a sub. Despite being subbed o because of an injury, Reinhardt was able to walk off the field.
Coach Teepe praised Reinhardt’s performance after the game.
“She missed 5 games already this season and she’s one of our best players,” Tepe said. “So of course we’d like for her to play a full 90 minutes. If there is a silver lining, it’s that when she does miss a game it gives other players a chance to play and for the team to build confidence to be able to play without her, so that when she does get back its a boost for the team.”
Other key performers coach Teepe singled out when asked were #19 Sofia Albertsson and #15 Stasi Torchia.