The Central Connecticut women's soccer team received five major Northeast Conference postseason awards Thursday night at the 2018 Northeast Conference Tournament banquet held on the eve of the league championship. Senior Ashley Cavanauagh was named the NEC Goalkeeper of the Year for the second time, while head coach Mick D'Arcy, the most winningest coach in CCSU history, was named the NEC Coach of the Year for the fifth time. Senior Charlotte Maurer, junior Shauny Alterisio (Defensive Player of the Year), and freshman Roma McLaughlin (Rookie of the Year) rounded out Central's major award winners.
D'Arcy has lead the Blue Devils to a 14-1-2 overall record this season as they enter the NEC Tournament as the number one seed after going a perfect 8-0 in conference play. He has led CCSU to eight straight wins and has his squad ranked No. 8 in the latest United Soccer Coaches North Region poll.
This is the fifth-straight year a Blue Devil has been named the Goalkeeper of the Year (Nikki Turley, 2014-16). Cavanaugh, a three-time NEC Defensive Player of the Week, backed a solid defensive line anchored by Alterisio. The senior keeper is No. 3 in the nation posting 11 shutouts over the course of the regular season. Cavanaugh leads the NEC with a 0.48 GAA and .886 save percentage.
Maurer was honored as the league's second ever NEC Midfielder of the Year. The Northampton, MA native leads the Blue Devils with 20 points on eight goals and four assists this season. The midfielder earned the NEC Player of the Week honor on Oct. 2 after scoring one goal in CCSU's 1-0 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson and adding a goal and assist in a 6-1 win against Wagner.
Alterisio was named Defensive Player of the Year, making it the fifth consecutive year a Blue Devil has won the award (Jennifer Cafferky, 2014-17). The co-captain has played in all 17 games and is a key member to the Blue Devils defense, which has only allowed three goals from NEC opponents this season and posted five shutouts in league play. She scored one goal this season against Mount St. Mary's off a long shot from 40-yards out that bounced over the keeper's head.
McLaughlin is Central's seventh freshman to be named Rookie of the Year. McLaughlin has played in 15 games this season posting two goal and four assists. The two-time NEC Rookie of the Week, scored her first and second collegiate goals less than two minutes apart in CCSU's 4-0 shutout against Mount St. Mary's on Oct. 19. The Donegal, Ireland native was also one of three Blue Devil newcomers named to the NEC All-Rookie Team.
Joining Central's major award winners, senior Danielle Pearse and junior Emily Hogan were also named First Team All-Conference. Pearse ranks second on the team in points (17) with seven goals and three assists on the season. She has notched three game-winning goals on the year. Hogan has played in all 17 games this season and is a force in the Blue Devil backline. The Warwick, RI native was also named to the All-Rookie Team in 2016.
Joining McLaughlin on the All-Rookie Team were freshmen, Delaney Lawler and Tiegan Ruddy. Lawler has been a valuable contributor to the Central defense, seeing action in nine games and making two starts for the Blue Devils. Ruddy has played in nine games, including eight starts. She scored her first collegiate goal in Central's 2-0 win over Yale on Aug. 30 off a give and go play with sophomore Carla Jackson.
The Blue Devils seek the program's ninth title this weekend, beginning with a semifinal match against fourth-seeded Fairleigh Dickinson on Friday, Nov. 2 at 1:00 p.m. in New Britain, CT. Second-seeded Saint Francis U. will take on the third-seeded Mount St. Mary's at 4:00 p.m. in the day's other matchup The winners of Friday's matches will meet for the NEC Championship on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.