Kyle Taylor, deputy sports editor
The Huskies are hitting their stride at just the right time, defeating the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) on senior night Oct. 22 to achieve their first three-game winning streak of the season as they gear up for the conference playoffs.
Northeastern University’s (NU) men’s soccer team is currently the fourth seeded playoff team with nine points, but is in no position to relax, with three teams tied for the fifth seed at eight points.
Head coach Chris Gbandi praised the boys for keeping their focus from one game to the next, regardless of whether they were on a losing or winning streak.
“The guys are in a good place and we have some confidence,” Gbandi said. “The group has been working hard, which is one of the things that we really focused on as opposed to focusing on winning or losing. We’re just focused on going out there and working hard and doing our job.”
NU capped off their senior night with a 1-0 win against a very good Seahawks team. Fans didn’t have to wait long for action, with the Huskies’ deciding goal coming just eight minutes into the game. After a shot by junior midfielder David Arvidsson was saved off of the cross bar, junior midfielder Gaku Lange cleaned up the loose ball for his first goal of the season. Sophomore forward Khori Bennett led the Huskies on five shots with three on target, while junior goalkeeper Jonathan Thuresson notched his fifth clean sheet of the season with three saves.
The Huskies are now 6-9 for the season and 3-4 in the conference after defeating two teams within the Colonial Athletics Association (CAA) in their last three games. NU has won four out of their last five games since the huge 1-7 loss suffered at the hands of William & Mary on Oct. 1.
“From talking to [my players], I think that game kind of humbled us,” Gbandi said. “I think in the William & Mary game we just had to figure like, ‘Hey, let’s start from the ground and work our way back up.’ The guys really bought into just playing hard, really. Just playing hard and working for each other and I think that’s a testament to all the guys in the group. We’ve been through a crazy season, and for them to put themselves into a situation to at least compete for the conference championship—in terms of getting into the CAA tournament — I think it says a lot about the group and their mentality.”
Gbandi’s team will next play away at the College of Charleston this Saturday, Oct. 29.
“For sure we have to be ready to go out and compete,” Gbandi said. “It’s a good opportunity for our guys, late in the season to have something to play for. In years past, or even last year, we didn’t have much to play for at this time of year. So I think the guys are gonna be really excited to go out there and play for something. Charleston’s a very good team, but I think for us it’s about going out there and competing.
Their final game of the season will be home at Parsons Field next Tuesday, Nov. 1 against Dartmouth University.
Photo courtesy of Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics