By Chris Judd & Jake Fischer, News Staff
After putting together a four-game winning streak, the Northeastern men’s soccer team dropped two straight contests this week, losing its first conference game of the season on Saturday before dropping their final non-conference bout on Tuesday. The Huskies fell to the College of William & Mary, 1-0, in Virginia before dropping a 2-0 decision to the University of Hartford back home at Parsons Field.
The lone goal in Saturday’s game came during the first minute of play. The Tribe’s Jackson Eskay passed to Ryan Flesch for a score in the lower right corner of the goal just 46 seconds into the match. This was the first goal allowed by sophomore goalkeeper Dylan Faber in 377 minutes of game time — dating back to the team’s 1-0 loss to Stony Brook on Sept. 28.
Senior Dante Marini got the first Northeastern shot on goal 14 minutes into the first half. The Tribe then quickly sent the ball back the other way, resulting in Faber’s first save of the night during the 14th minute of action.
The Huskies also struggled early in the second as the defense forced Faber to make a pair of saves in the first two minutes of the half, one of which resulted in a corner kick for William & Mary.
Northeastern continued to earn scoring chances, but could not find the net. The Huskies got two corner kick opportunities within the span of a minute at the end of the game from freshman Robbie Schallmo. Unfortunately, the resulting shots were stopped, giving William & Mary the victory.
The Husky’s offensive woes continued on Tuesday as the Huskies again came out slow against the University of Hartford. Northeastern coach Brian Ainscough debuted a new starting lineup for the match, with senior Conner Alexander and freshman Matt Callahan on the sideline. Alexander caught a red card during the team’s loss to the Tribe, resulting in a two-game suspension. Callahan was out with an upper-body injury.
Ainscough responded by giving freshman Darek Wajda his first career start and inserting Laurence Braude, Nikko Lara and Marc Greenblatt into the starting lineup. He also sent redshirt-junior Jacob Aduama into goal for the first time this season.
“Jacob has just come back from a broken hand and we need to see what he would be like if needed down the road,” Ainscough said of the decision. “But we still expected him to do well and he actually had a very good game. He didn’t get any help on the first goal — with his two defenders bumping into each other — and after that he had some heroic saves for us. It’s nice to see that if Dylan happens to come up short with an injury or something like that, we’ll be able to put Jacob in.”
“That’s the only positive thing I can take away from the whole night,” he said with a laugh.
Ainscough was also impressed with the play from redshirt freshman reserve Jorge Acosta’s craftiness up front.
But the Huskies appeared to lack energy throughout the game on a drizzling Tuesday evening. Surprisingly, it wasn’t Northeastern’s inexperienced starters that caused Ainscough’s disappointment.
“We had an awful performance tonight,” Ainscough said. “The commitment from our players —our senior guys, our upperclassmen — was not so good. Check the record books for the last nine years and I don’t think there’s a game where we didn’t have a shot on goal at home.”
The Hawks out-performed the Huskies in nearly every aspect of the game, leading the way in shots on goal (8-0) and in overall shots (14-7). After going nearly two years without being beaten at home, the Huskies have now lost three contests at Parsons Field and are just 4-3 at home in Brookline.
Moving forward, the Huskies will have 10 days off before they close out their season with a pair of conference matchups against the College of Charleston on Nov. 2 and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington on Nov. 6. With a successful end to the season, Northeastern could ultimately host the conference championship tournament after securing the league’s best record.
“The good news is, I don’t think it can get any worse than it was tonight,” Ainscough said.