Men’s soccer starts conference play

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Men’s soccer starts conference play

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By Kyle Taylor, deputy sports editor

The Northeastern men’s soccer team won their first conference game of the season in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) at home against Drexel on Saturday, snapping a three-game losing streak, before losing to the University of New Hampshire (UNH) on Wednesday. The Huskies’ record is now 2-5 after splitting their last two games.

Men’s soccer coach Chris Gbandi spoke about how it felt coming home following a four-game road trip.

“It felt good to be home,” Gbandi said. “It felt like we were on the road forever, so anytime you can come home and play in front of your own crowd and get that extra energy you’re going to be fired up.”

The Huskies were certainly energetic to start against the Dragons, wasting no time in scoring their first goal within the first 18 minutes.

Sophomore forward Khori Bennett assisted senior forward Christian McKenna on a curler that found the back of the net. The Huskies scored again just 23 minutes later when junior midfielder Ackim Mpofu nailed a shot that went in off the left goalpost, assisted by freshman midfielder Brendan Massie.

Those were the first assists of the season for both Massie and Bennett. Northeastern went on to win the game 2-0, converting their only two shots on goal, while junior goalkeeper Jonathan Thuresson earned a clean sheet on three saves during the game to secure the 2-0 shutout win.

“Anytime you get a conference one, especially the first one, it now gives you the confidence to move on to the next one,” Gbandi said. “It’s always good to get our first conference win at home and the confidence it gives us going forward is important.”

However, Gbandi and his team were unable to get a winning streak going after losing to UNH last night 3-0. The Huskies held the Wildcats to just one goal on five shots on net in the first half, but gave up two more goals in the second half despite outshooting UNH five to two.

NU’s nine shots in the second half is the second most attempts they’ve tallied in a half this season. Bennett had three of Northeastern’s five shots on goal, while freshman goalkeeper Matt Dabrowksi had seven saves during the contest.

The Huskies now will play three Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) teams in a row: University of Delaware, Hofstra University and the College of William & Mary. Gbandi believes they have a real shot at the NCAA tournament this year, but for that to happen, Northeastern has to win their conference.

“Delaware is right around the corner,” Gbandi said. “The CAA games are so important because it’s an opportunity to get into the NCAA tournament, which is something we’re capable of doing, but in order to do that we have to win our league. For us, that’s the most important thing for us this year.

The team’s next game will be against Hofstra on Sept. 24, when the Pride comes to Parsons Field to take on the Huskies.

Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics