By Ethan Schroeder, news staff
Despite winning its first Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) game of the season last week, the Northeastern University (NU) men’s soccer team fell to seventh in the conference followinga loss to the University of Delaware (UD) on Saturday. The Huskies then beat the College of the Holy Cross in a non-conference matchup on Wednesday.
A 2-1 victory over the College of William & Mary last week reinvigorated the Huskies’ hopes of qualifying for the CAA tournament. With six out of the CAA’s nine teams making the playoffs, NU Head Coach Brian Ainscough was confident that stringing together a few wins would do the trick of extending his team’s season. A matchup at home against the UD Blue Hens resulted in a 3-2 loss for the Huskies and was a huge setback in the postseason hunt. However, the 1-0 victory over Holy Cross kept spirits high as they approach their final games.
In NU’s victory over William & Mary, each of the game’s three goals was scored in the final four minutes. On Saturday, Northeastern and UD flipped the script. Those who showed up late to the game missed out on the action as all five goals were scored by the 21st minute.
Northeastern struck first, with a deflection and a little bit of luck. A third-minute Husky corner kick bounced off the knee of sophomore forward Harry Swartz and a flurry of players, eventually finding the back of the net from the right side. The score was credited as a team goal.
Unfortunately for the Huskies, their time in the lead was cut short after only six minutes. An eighth-minute strike from UD sophomore defender Ryan Talbot leveled the playing field. From there, things went from bad to worse. UD senior midfielder Joe Dipre one-upped Talbot with a goal of his own only two minutes later. Dipre was left untouched on a run to the top of the goalkeeper’s box and put a shot past NU sophomore goalkeeper Jonathan Thuresson to give his team the one-point lead.
UD’s 2-1 advantage was stretched to 3-1 in the 18th minute. The Blue Hens were able to muster up some corner kick magic of their own as sophomore defender Thibault Philippe headed a ball from junior defender Thomas de Villardi home in what proved to be the game’s deciding goal.
Northeastern may have stumbled early defensively, but its offense kept the opponents on their toes throughout the evening. The Huskies outshot the Blue Hens 14-12, with seven shots on goal to UD’s six. Saturday night was the first game this season that Northeastern finished with a lead in both statistical categories. NU sophomore forward Frantzdy Pierrot led the charge with five shots.
Pierrot also notched his fifth goal of the season. In the 21st minute, a give-and-go resulted in a header from the center of the box, beating UD redshirt freshman goalkeeper Todd Morton. Nonetheless, despite strong defensive play from Thuresson and company for the final 69 minutes and seven shots from the offense in the second half, the score stood firm at 3-2.
On Wednesday, the Huskies remained in-state for a non-conference away game against the Holy Cross Crusaders. Riding Thuresson’s second shutout of the season, the Huskies produced a one-goal halftime lead and held on for their first non-conference win of the season.
NU continued its high level of offensive output in the game. The Huskies shined in the first half, during which they outshot their opponents 9-1. The surge proved to be the difference, as sophomore forward Khesanio Hall’s second goal of the season put the Huskies ahead for good. Hall was able to break through the line of Holy Cross defenders and chip the ball over senior goalkeeper Kevin Wright.
Holy Cross refused to go down lightly after the goal, though. Thuresson and the defense had their hands full in the second half, facing 11 shots from the Crusaders. Thuresson made two saves on the night, and the defense blocked or averted several shots from the Holy Cross attack. Northeastern countered with six shots of its own in the last 45 minutes, but neither team was able to further themselves on the score sheet. The victory is Northeastern’s second in four games, putting its record at 2-9-2.
With only two CAA games left on the schedule, the Huskies need positive results in hopes of a playoff berth. The first of the two games comes this Saturday against the College of Charleston, Northeastern’s Senior Night. Northeastern then travels to Chapel Hill for a non-conference matchup against the University of North Carolina Tar Heels before its CAA regular season finale at Drexel University.
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics