By Patrick Burgard, news staff
The Northeastern University (NU) women’s soccer team clinched its third regular season championship in program history on Sunday, solidifying its status as top dog in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).
The Huskies, who earned the number one tournament seed on Sunday, ended the regular season with a two-game winning streak that improved their record to 12-6-1, earning them their second regular season conference championship in two years. The team also nabbed a first-round bye to the conference semifinals and home-field advantage.
“We really wanted to bring the CAA championship back here, and we knew that was on the line,” Northeastern head coach Ashley Phillips said. “Kudos to our team for gritting it out.”
Sophomore forward Hannah Rosenblatt’s three goals in two games led the Huskies over the weekend. Rosenblatt, the Huskies’ top scorer with 11 goals, was honored Monday as a CAA Player of the Week for the second time this season.
The team secured its spot in the conference semifinals with a decisive 2-0 victory over Towson on Friday night, in a game that was almost canceled due to lighting.
Junior midfielder Hannah Lopiccolo scored the first NU goal of the night, booting a 35-yard free kick into the top left corner of the net in the 25th minute.
After a long lightning delay in the second half, the Husky offense remained strong. A beautiful string of passes was rewarded when sophomore forward Nicole Gorman connected with her classmate, forward Hannah Rosenblatt, who scored her ninth goal of the season and first of the weekend. It was Gorman’s first assist of the season.
This kind of teamwork has been a trademark of the women’s soccer team this year.
“A huge component of our success is chemistry,” senior defensive back Mackenzie Dowd said. “We have a group who is extremely dedicated to winning the championship, and our cumulative work ethic is second to none.”
On Sunday, the Huskies honored their 11 seniors in a pregame ceremony. They include Caton Beaulieu, Carina Deandreis, Mackenzie Dowd, Breeana Koemans, Skylar LeBlanc, Krista Meaglia, Jill Quinn, Haley Sinclair, Jenny Sinclair, Kimberly Slade and Nicole Watkins.
NU bested second-ranked James Madison University (JMU) in front of a packed house, clinching the number one seed for the tournament and ensuring that the regular season championship would belong to NU outright. A loss would have meant sharing the title with JMU.
“We really stuck to our game plan,” Phillips said after Sunday’s win. “We’ve talked about being confident in front of the goal, trying to keep the ball and playing at a high tempo. I think we did that today.”
The Huskies were dominant in the first half, and much of the period was spent on the JMU half of the field.
Less than three minutes into the game, NU drew first blood when Hannah Rosenblatt took on two defenders and roped a low, powerful line drive from the left side of the field across the goal inside the right post.
In the 36th minute, redshirt-junior midfielder Taylor Caparo fed Rosenblatt a pass, who blasted the ball into the back of the net for her 11th goal and 26th point of the season, putting the Huskies up 2-0.
Though JMU began to liven up in the second half by putting more pressure on the NU defense than the first half, the Dukes only scored one goal and fell to the number three seed while the Huskies walked away victorious and proud.
“You think about your senior day the whole time you’re here,” Dowd said. “To have it finally come and to win the regular season championship on that day was really the icing on the cake.”
The conference semifinals will take place on Nov. 4 at Parsons Field, and the Huskies’ opponent is yet to be determined.
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics