By James Duffy, sports editor
After being plagued by inconsistency in the first half of the season, the Northeastern University (NU) women’s soccer team is hitting its stride. The Huskies had two of their strongest wins of the season last weekend, defeating the College of William & Mary on Friday, Oct. 7 and Elon University on Saturday, Oct. 8.
NU now boasts a 10-5-1 record and the team is riding a season-high five-game winning streak that has propelled them to the top of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) standings. The five-game unbeaten streak is the longest for the program since 2014.
“We’ve just had a good determination to finish games,” Northeastern head coach Ashley Phillips said. “We’ve found our stride lately.”
The Huskies started the weekend with a gritty win against William & Mary, coming back to win in overtime after falling behind by two goals in the first half. Sophomore forward Hannah Rosenblatt netted a pair of goals to force an extra frame, where senior midfielder Carina Deandreis ended the game for a 3-2 victory.
The goal was the first of the season for Deandreis, one of three team captains, and came less than 10 minutes into overtime.
“We were disappointed in how [the team] started,” Phillips said. “At halftime, we kind of challenged them to step up.”
Against Elon, the Huskies battled rain and played one of their best games of the season, dominating in a 3-0 win.
NU was scoreless in the first half once again, but sophomore goalkeeper Nathalie Nidetch kept Elon blanked as well. Senior defender Mackenzie Dowd broke through less than five minutes into the second half. Her goal was followed by two insurance goals.
Junior forward Kayla Cappuzzo ripped one of the most impressive goals of the season, rifling a laser off the crossbar and into the back of the net. Rosenblatt tacked on her eighth goal of the season to put the game out of reach.
Nidetch made one save in the contest and recorded her fifth clean sheet of the season. She now ranks third in the conference in shutouts and saves.
Rosenblatt, who scored three goals on the weekend, was named CAA Player of the Week for her efforts.
“It was a great performance start to finish,” Phillips said. “It was one of our better games to date.”
Moving forward, the CAA-leading Huskies will travel to Long Island to take on Hofstra University on Saturday, Oct. 15. Hofstra has just one in-conference victory, but Phillips says the team isn’t taking the matchup lightly.
“It’ll be a really tough game,” she said. “It’s hard to play at their pace, but we expect to come out and perform and compete against them.”
Conference play rejuvenated the season for NU. After a mediocre 5-4-1 start to the season, the Huskies have taken their play to the next level in the CAA.
“I think the level of play in our conference makes it a lot more exciting,” Phillips said. “They obviously know there’s a lot riding on this.”
With three games left before the CAA tournament kicks off, the Huskies have a chance to control their own fate and enter as the top-seeded team in the conference.
“I think [the players] know they get to set their own destiny now, and it’s really up to how we perform,” Phillips said.
The team is aiming beyond the CAA however, and Phillips said that the team has national aspirations this season.
“We have to win our conference to even see the NCAA tournament,” Phillips said. “I think the team knows that and they’re hungry to get back there.”
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics