By Bailey Putnam, deputy sports editor
Expectations were high for the Northeastern (NU) women’s soccer team coming into the 2015 season. After a school-record of 15 wins, the Huskies dominated their way to the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) title in 2014. NU nabbed another historic milestone when it toppled Boston University (BU) in the first round of the NCAA tournament for the first tournament win in program history.
Their achievements landed the Huskies at the top of the preseason CAA coaches’ poll for the 2015 season.
Over the past several weeks, the budding squad has lived up to the hype. After falling to No. 11 University of South Carolina on Aug. 21, NU has won five straight, including its latest 3-0 victory over the University of Maine.
The Huskies’ success this year is complementary to an emerging trend: an offensive explosion among the sophomore class.
Sophomores midfielder Hannah Lopiccolo and forwards Carly Wilhelm and Kayla Cappuzzo currently sit atop the NU scoring chart. Cappuzzo and Lopiccolo, who combined for ten goals in their freshman season, have already netted four goals apiece in just six games. Wilhelm sits just below them with three goals and three assists.
The 654 fans who came out to Parsons Field on Sunday witnessed firsthand just how deadly the second-year Huskies can be. Lopiccolo got things started when she blasted home a goal just inside the left post in the 28th minute. Early in the second half, she set up classmate Cappuzzo on a low cross through the box for the tap in. Just for good measure, Lopiccolo launched one late in the game over the heads of the pressing Maine defense and scored from over 30 yards out.
Cappuzzo’s time to shine came in the game prior when she stunned rivals << BU with a double-overtime goal that ricocheted off the post and in the net.
Junior Mackenzie Dowd, who buried the overtime winner in week three against St. Joseph’s College, is fourth on the scoring chart with two goals. Her heroic overtime header was set up by none other than Wilhelm, who sent a cross into the box after a corner kick.
The three leading sophomores play with poise and intensity and they deliver when their team needs them most. The way the young leaders have responded to the pressure of the tough matchups early in the season bodes extremely well for the remainder of the games.
Their next big challenge will be Thursday night’s matchup with crosstown rivals Boston College. After that, they’ll have three more non-conferencegames before finishing off the season with nine straight CAA matchups.
If the rising stars continue to play with the intensity they have thus far and the Huskies can keep their momentum rolling into the next four games, there is no reason why NU won’t be able to breeze through the chunk of conference tilts with relative ease.
Pay attention to this women’s soccer squad – they may just have another record-breaking year in the works.
Photo courtesy Northeastern Athletics