By Kyle Taylor, deputy sports editor
The Northeastern University (NU) men’s soccer team were unable to grab their first winning streak of the season this weekend, losing on Saturday to Elon University 1-0 during the Huskies’ alumni night.
“Alumni night was good. We got about 16 alums back and in the middle of the year it’s difficult to get that many people back.” Gbandi said. “It’s obviously unfortunate that we couldn’t do more to get them a little bit happier in terms of the game, but yes it was good for the guys to see the alumni and to see that there’s more support out there.”
Despite the loss, the game was one of Northeastern’s best offensive showings of the season. The Huskies outshot the Phoenix 16 to 13, their second-highest total of the season, with seven shots on target. This is the most total shots that NU has registered against Elon across five meetings all-time. The game was hard-fought and scoreless until the 35th minute, when Elon was awarded a free kick on the left side that sophomore midfielder Jack Willbye curled into the top right corner for the only goal scored in the game.
Sophomore forward Khori Bennett led the Huskies with six shot attempts, tying his season high, while senior forward Khesanio Hall had three during the match. Junior goalkeeper Jonathan Thuresson had six saves in the Husky loss.
“It was a hard-fought game and we just didn’t take care of opportunities. We gave up a real bad goal,” Gbandi said. “When you give up a set piece goal like that it’s pretty deflating, especially when we defended pretty well in the first half. Anytime you lose a game like that at home it’s pretty deflating for the group, but we pick it back up because we have an important one against James Madison University this weekend.”
Gbandi raved about how hard his team works, calling their work ethic and focus his favorite things about coaching the team.
“You can get a group that when you’re not going through a good time, those guys are a little bit down and aren’t good to be around, but this group always seems to find a way to come out and train hard,” Gbandi said. “As a coach, it’s rewarding to come to practice and to be around them.”
He also said that the biggest challenge the team has faced this season has been mentality. While the whole team has been doing the best they can, a new coach with a new vision will surely bring some kinks with him.
“I think they went through a lot in the past, and I’m just about trying to make sure they understand that this is a new year and this is a new program, so it’s just been a little bit challenging,” Gbandi said. “We have the pieces and we have the players but in terms of just not being able to put together some wins, some of that is my fault along with some other things.”
This loss brings the Huskies to seventh place in the Colonial Athletics Association (CAA) with a conference record of 1-4 and only three CAA games left. Only the top six teams make the playoffs for a shot at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament.
The Huskies will play the first of their final three conference games away against James Madison University this Saturday, Oct. 15.
“[The final conference games] are all important and really make or break,” Gbandi said. “It’ll be a good opportunity to step up and see what we’re made of. I think we’re ready.”
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics