By Ethan Schroeder, news staff
The Northeastern University (NU) men’s soccer team was unable to capitalize on a strong start in a road game with a 2-1 loss against the Elon University Phoenix, falling to a season record of 0-7-2.
Northeastern’s matchup with the Phoenix, in Elon, N.C., was originally scheduled for last Saturday. Due to inclement weather involving Hurricane Joaquin, it was pushed to Wednesday.
Entering the matchup, NU Head Coach Brian Ainscough spoke highly of Elon – the Phoenix were ranked No. 13 in the nation by a National Collegiate Athletic Association poll at gametime.
“With an experienced squad like they’ve got, heavy with juniors and seniors, they’ve been really competitive,” Ainscough said. “They’re in a position to do a lot of damage this season.”
Despite Elon’s level of success, however, Ainscough envisioned the matchup as an opportunity to finally get things back on track for the Huskies.
“Their recent loss to James Madison shows that they’re beatable,” Ainscough said before the game. James Madison University (JMU), currently 4-4-2, beat Elon 4-1 on Sept. 30.
“Combine their loss with the fact that our team is comfortable in [Colonial Athletic Association matchups] and extremely hungry for that first win,” Ainscough said. “We believe we can get this one and start turning things around.”
Even with high hopes for success motivated by the fast-approaching Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) tournament, Elon managed a victory with a scoring surge in the game’s latter half.
The Phoenix started the matchup on a physical note, garnering five fouls in the first 10 minutes. Physicality did not lead to opportunities on either side, however. The game’s first shot was not recorded until the 11th minute. A corner kick from NU redshirt sophomore midfielder Daniel Arvidsson resulted in sophomore forward Frantzdy Pierrot’s third goal of the season and put the Huskies in the lead for only the third time this season.
Desperately holding on to its single-goal lead, Northeastern’s luck ran out just as the first half came to a close. Pierrot received the team’s second yellow card of the game with only five seconds left in the half. The half’s last play was a midfield free kick that was deflected numerous times before being guided into the net by the head of Elon redshirt junior defender Jonathan Wenger. The teams headed into halftime tied at one.
Elon took its last-second goal and ran with the momentum, peppering Northeastern sophomore goalkeeper Jonathan Thuresson with shots. Then, 27 minutes into the half, the Phoenix went ahead for good. A finish from Elon freshman midfielder Amir Berkane off of a corner kick gave the home team a 2-1 lead.
By the game’s end, the air of an upset had completely dispersed. The Huskies remain winless after nine games.
Moving forward, Ainscough remains more than optimistic about the Huskies’ postseason chances. With eight games remaining in the regular season, six of them conference matchups, he points to last season’s finish as reasoning for his beliefs.
“It took us four wins to get the fifth seed [in the CAA tournament] last year,” Ainscough said. “Looking at the schedule and knowing what it takes, we still believe in a chance at the postseason. With a few good home games coming up, the semifinals and finals are always in sight.”
In the upcoming week, the Huskies take on JMU and Hofstra University. The matchup against JMU will be on Saturday at Parsons Field, and the matchup against Hofstra will be in New York next Wednesday.
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics.