Huskies tack up six unanswered goals to crush Vermont

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Huskies tack up six unanswered goals to crush Vermont

Third-year forward Laura MacLachlan celebrates after scoring a goal against Vermont. Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics

Third-year forward Laura MacLachlan celebrates after scoring a goal against Vermont. Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics

Third-year forward Laura MacLachlan celebrates after scoring a goal against Vermont. Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics

Third-year forward Laura MacLachlan celebrates after scoring a goal against Vermont. Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics

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It was a long time coming for Kristin Abreu.

Despite starting in each of the Northeastern field hockey team’s nine games this season, the fourth-year forward had yet to tally a goal or an assist.

But on Sunday, it finally clicked for the Trinidad native. Abreu notched two of the Huskies’ six goals, including the go-ahead point in the second half, as they rolled over the University of Vermont 6-2 Sunday.

“I keep telling myself to be in the right position, to keep going,” Abreu said. “It never comes. Now, finally, it was there, so I was very happy.”

The Huskies’ win, their 25th over the Catamounts in program history, served as a needed refresher for the team as they headed home after a 4-1 loss against the University of Maine Friday.

Maine grabbed a two-goal lead in the first half and coupled it with two more in the second while holding the Huskies to just three shots on goal throughout the game, despite Northeastern holding the ball for 40 minutes of play. First-year goalkeepers Julia Gluyas and Julia Ennis split time in the net, with the former making four saves in the first half and Ennis sending away three in the second. Fifth-year forward Jamie Bartucca notched Northeastern’s lone goal with just over two minutes to play.

“I give Maine credit,” said Northeastern head coach Cheryl Murtagh. “They have good defense. We had our chances early on. We didn’t execute … and then we broke down defensively.”

Resolving to come out of the locker room strong against Vermont, the Huskies controlled the first minutes of the game before Vermont scored twice within two minutes. Catamounts third-year forward and goal-scoring leader Landon Warren slipped a shot past Ennis from in front of the goal in the 20th minute of action. Just seconds later, Vermont took advantage of having earned the first penalty stroke against the Huskies this season, notching a second goal.

But the Huskies remained relentless.

Murtagh said third-year forward Laura MacLachlan led the way in the Huskies’ turnaround, beginning as Vermont readied to take the penalty stroke. And MacLachlan wasn’t all talk — just 20 seconds after the stroke, MacLachlan carried the ball 60 yards and drove a shot into the back of the board to score Northeastern’s first point of the day.

“She’s the one that brought the team together, and she backed it up,” Murtagh said of MacLachlan. “She took the ball and she went down, she started it. You need players to do that when we’re having a tough time, so I’m pretty proud of her for doing that.”

Before the announcer could officially declare the goal to the roaring crowd at Dedham Field, Bartucca scored her 10th goal of the season thanks to a rebound pass from third-year forward June Curry-Lindahl, tying the game at two-all heading into the half.

After a halftime ceremony honoring members of the 1988 Final Four team and other field hockey alumni, the Huskies crept back out of the locker room to finish the job.

Abreu grabbed the rebound after shot attempts by first-year back Aniek van de Graaf and first-year forward Camille O’Conor on the Huskies sixth penalty corner of the game, sending it flying past the Vermont goalkeeper to push the Huskies on top.

First-year graduate back Ffion Thompson headed to the line in the 59th minute to successfully take her second stroke of the season and put the Huskies up 4-2. Her teammates rallied around her to add several insurance goals as the clock wore down — Abreu and O’Conor each tallied a goal for the Huskies in the final minutes of play.

“We got into our game,” Murtagh said. “Vermont is a good team. They’re aggressive and they’ll just nail balls down the middle of the field, and I don’t think we handled that well initially. Once we started handling those balls and intercepting those, that’s when the game changed.”

Ennis saw all 70 minutes in the net, with the exception of the penalty stroke when Gluyas subbed in for her. Ennis made three saves on the day.

Abreu said having the 1988 alumni on hand and attending the program’s Celebration of Legends dinner the night before served as a motivator for the team throughout the meeting.

“Being there and hearing their stories and hearing their emotions about leaving it all on the field, that was so inspiring,” she said. “All of us were talking in the room before this and we were telling ourselves we need to be more passionate, we need to leave it all there, and we definitely did.”

The Huskies will take the week to prepare for conference play, which opens up at Towson Friday.

“It’s so important for us to come out with a conference win, and we know that,” Murtagh said. “I think we’ll get on the road and we’ll stay mentally tough and try to go after it.”