By James Duffy, sports editor
The Northeastern University (NU) women’s soccer team kicked off conference play last weekend, going on the road to take on two Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) opponents. The team lost in overtime to the University of Delaware on Friday, Sept. 23 and defeated Drexel University in overtime on Sunday, Sept. 25, splitting yet another pair of games.
Inconsistency continued to plague the Huskies, as they have yet to manage a winning streak longer than two games this season. Their record for the year now stands at 6-5-1.
“It’s good on the road to come away with at least one win,” head coach Ashley Phillips said after the weekend.
The Huskies had a shot at a two-win weekend, but late-game errors cost them a victory against Delaware.
After 90 minutes of play against the Blue Hens, the score was knotted at one, with the lone NU goal coming off the foot of junior midfielder Hannah Lopiccolo.
After picking up a pass from junior forward Kayla Cappuzzo, Lopiccolo turned and fired a 25-yard strike past Delaware junior goalkeeper Kailyn Rekos.
The game went to overtime, where Delaware senior forward Madison Brosler ended the game on a fastbreak just three minutes into the extra frame. It was Delaware’s second goal on seven shots.
“We were a little disappointed in Friday’s result,” Phillips said. “We kind of mentally made mistakes late in the game.”
The team bounced back against Drexel, this time winning in overtime.
After both teams were held scoreless in regulation, sophomore forward Hannah Rosenblatt broke the tie in the 94th minute. Rosenblatt was awarded a penalty shot after a Drexel foul and ripped a goal inside the right post to win the game.
The Huskies peppered the net in the second half, putting eight shots on goal, but were unable to break through. The team had 11 shots in the contest overall, with Lopiccolo and Cappuzzo chipping in three each to lead the team.
Sophomore goalkeeper Nathalie Nidetch made three saves in the victory, notching her fourth clean sheet of the season. Nidetch now ranks third in the CAA in shutouts and fourth in save percentage. Nidetch has allowed two or less goals in all but one outing this season.
“Nathalie has been outstanding for us,” Phillips said. “She’s come up big when she’s been tested, and she’s made some huge saves for us.”
The offense continued to struggle to find the back of the net, and now has just 18 goals in 12 games. In the win against Drexel, the team scored one or fewer goals for the seventh time this season.
“We’ve created chances, but a lot of it now is just finishing,” Phillips said. “The pressure of conference play might have gotten to [the offense] a little bit this weekend.”
Phillips continued to stress that mental, not physical, lapses have been hurting the team.
“I think for us, it’s about consistency,” she said. “When we show up and play, we’re outperforming teams and when we don’t we’re really suffering for it.”
Next weekend, the Huskies will continue CAA play and hit the road for two more games. On Friday, Sept. 30 they’ll take on the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW), before heading south on Sunday, October 2 to play the College of Charleston.
Phillips stressed the importance of conference games, saying that the team needs to treat every contest as if it were the playoffs. She says she knows UNCW and Charleston will give her squad a tough test, but believes they are up for the challenge.
Breaking down the matchups, Phillips acknowledged that both teams present unique challenges for her squad.
“UNCW is always at the top of the conference. They play a good brand of soccer and we’re looking to do the same against them,” she said. “College of Charleston plays a different style, so we’ll have to adjust against them.”
Nevertheless, Phillips is confident that the Huskies can play with either club.
“They’re both really strong teams,” Phillips said. “If we play to the best of our ability, we can give any team a run for their money.”
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics