By Ethan Schroeder, news staff
The Northeastern University (NU) men’s soccer team continues to search for its first victory of the season after a 0-0 tie against the Fairfield University Stags at Parsons Field on Saturday night.
Returning to Boston after a two-game road trip in California, the Huskies (0-2-2) took to the pitch against the Stags (1-1-3) in front of a crowd of 753 spectators. NU fans made their presence known early on with a barrage of chants supporting their team. Though Northeastern was unable to build on its home advantage and earn a win, the team displayed a strong showing of defensive ability.
NU sophomore goalkeeper Jonathan Thuresson needed only three saves in net to earn his first shutout of the season. Fairfield freshman midfielder Diego Casielles led the visiting team with three shots, but due to the efforts of the Huskies’ back four, only one made its way to Thuresson. Freshmen Martin Nygaard and Andrew Lombard, junior Marc Greenblatt and redshirt senior Mike Lobben started at defense for Northeastern. Fairfield’s seven total shots are the least the Huskies have allowed thus far this season.
“We’ve got a great back four,” Thuresson said, impressed by the defensive effort. “I think Saturday night really proves that we’ve been working on our defense. It feels good to see the practicing pay off, and it really boosts our confidence.”
Saturday was Thuresson’s second start of the season. He and senior goalkeeper Dylan Faber have been splitting games in net this season- part of a coaching move that Thuresson believes has helped the team.
“Dylan and I both carry ourselves professionally,” Thuresson said. “We know that just because we’re not playing, we’ve always got to prepare properly. In practice, we’ve been pushing each other to be better because each week, we are not sure who is going to get the start.”
Head Coach Brian Ainscough said that he was happy with Thuresson’s performance on Saturday and throughout the season thus far.
“Jonathan played well, even though I’ve been using him and Dylan both in games so far,” Ainscough said. “His organizational skills back there have really improved this year, and that helps.”
The Northeastern attack was led by freshman forward Khori Bennett and sophomore transfer forward Khesanio Hall. The two newcomers recorded four and three shots, respectively. Only two of the team’s nine total shots were on goal, however, making for a game of minimal offensive production.
Bennett nearly broke open the scoring soon after the game’s start with a seventh-minute bicycle kick, but the strike missed wide right. In the 23rd minute, Bennett struck again with a headed ball off of a corner kick, but the attempt suffered the same fate as his first. The Huskies earned five corner kicks in the match.
“We brought in a big class this year, and we knew that about five of the guys were special and would make an impact right away, which is not always the case,” Ainscough said. “We haven’t had Khesanio and Frantzdy [Pierrot] play together yet, but Khesanio and Khori have played together and I was pretty happy with how they played Saturday. Obviously I would have liked to see a score, but they still played pretty well.”
It appeared that a victory was not in the cards for Northeastern in the 64th minute. A through ball from Hall found Bennett in an optimal position of attack, but Bennett sailed his shot over the net. With only one shot apiece in overtime, NU and Fairfield brought the game to an anticlimactic finish.
The Huskies will have to put in a formidable effort in their next game if they hope to earn their long-awaited first victory. They take on the Providence University Friars (3-2-1) this Saturday. Providence made the semifinals in last year’s Division I National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament and is returning a large portion of players to this year’s squad.
“[The Providence game] will show what we’re capable of,” Thuresson said. “We just need to find the level of playing we had against Stanford and Cal Berkeley [Califonia Berkeley] and push from there. We need to be more efficient and focused in final third. Once that first goal comes, I really think everyone will get going.”
Photo by Ethan Kaley.