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Men’s soccer comes out of the past week with even record

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Men’s soccer comes out of the past week with even record

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By Mike Puzzanghera, news correspondent

Over the past week, the Northeastern men’s soccer team came out of a tough stretch of three conference games with a win, a draw and a loss, keeping the Huskies primed for a playoff spot in the Colonial Athletic Conference, or CAA, without playing as many games as some of the teams ahead of them.

 

William and Mary:

On Oct. 6, playing in hostile territory down in Williamsburg, Va., the Huskies (4-6-1, 2-2-1 CAA) pulled off a 2-2 draw against William and Mary (3-7-2, 1-2-2 CAA) thanks to a free kick from fourth-year defender Martin Nygaard, whose shot went in at the right post to give the Huskies a 2-1 lead in the second half. Though the William and Mary Tribe equalized a few minutes later, the Huskies held on and escaped Virginia with a point on the road.

Northeastern fell behind in the first half when Tribe senior forward/midfielder Antonio Bustamente hit his free kick in at the left post.

The Huskies’ first goal came from an own goal by the Tribe, as first-year forward-midfielder Tyler Welch’s cross was put into the net by a Tribe defender.

Nygaard’s free kick from the right corner of the penalty box took a small deflection off the wall, and went in under the crossbar to put the Huskies up 2-1.

But only a few minutes later, senior forward Ryder Bell side-footed his effort home from 15 yards out to level the score for the Tribe.

Next up for the Huskies is two consecutive road matches against Boston University (3-7-3) on Tuesday and College of Charleston (3-8-2, 0-4-1) on Saturday.

 

Hofstra:

The Huskies broke through a strong Hofstra (6-5-3, 3-2-1) defense in a huge way on Wednesday, winning 3-0 for the first time over conference rivals Hofstra since 2013 (0-2-2).

Fourth-year defender Moustapha Samb scored from the penalty spot in the first half to give the Huskies an early lead, as Martin Nygaard and fifth-year forward/midfielder Harry Swartz added goals in the second half five minutes apart to put away the visiting Pride.

After first-year midfielder Jacob Marin-Thomson was taken down in the box after receiving a short corner, Samb hit his first-half penalty kick straight down the middle of the goal, sending the keeper the wrong way.

Samb’s goal was his second of the season and the Huskies’ first in the first half of a game all year.

In the second half, Nygaard whipped in a free kick from the right side after a crafty routine. It made its way through the crowd of defenders and into the back of the net for the Huskies’ second goal of the evening and Nygaard’s second in two matches.

Minutes later, a counter-attack granted the Huskies the ball in a great position and Swartz, after receiving a pass from first-year forward/midfielder Ryan Massoud on the right side of the box, cracked a bullet of a shot across the keeper and into the top left corner.

The goal was Swartz’s first of the year, and his fifth in Husky red-and-black.

“It was definitely a great job by everyone,” Nygaard said. “Hofstra came in with eight clean sheets in a row, and we came here and put in three on them, holding a clean sheet, and just showing how good we are.”

Nygaard noted that the Huskies knew that Hofstra would attack them all game.

“We knew before the game they were only going to throw people up. They were going to have long throws and they were going to have free kicks from midfield,” Nygaard said.

Samb was impressed by the team’s defensive performance.

“As a defender, anytime we get a clean sheet it’s just a great satisfaction, so we’ve just got to keep it going,” Samb said.

Samb said that all he had to do when taking his goal was stay calm.

“It was just a penalty, it’s not my first one, I’ve taken a few. So, you’ve got to just keep calm, pick a side and hit it,” Samb said.

Head coach Chris Gbandi said that the team’s defensive focus is paying off.

“I think our biggest thing is we gave up a lot of goals last year, so we’ve been really focused on [our defense] and the guys have been doing a good job with that,” Gbandi said. “So I think defensively, once we knew we were solid there, that we had enough guys that would create chances and ultimately put the ball in the back of the net.”

Gbandi said that there’s nothing special driving the run that the team is on.

“There’s not a magic formula, it’s just guys working hard and getting opportunities and putting it away, coming down the field and helping us as much as they can,” Gbandi said.

 

Drexel:

The Huskies opened their senior day ceremonies by honoring the team’s six seniors prior to facing off against the visiting Drexel Dragons (8-4-2, 2-4-1) on Saturday.

The Huskies’ seniors, midfielder Kevin Carvalho, midfielder Chris Flores, midfielder Gerardo Milano, defender Martin Nygaard, defender Moustapha Samb and forward/midfielder Harry Swartz, were each presented with a framed jersey as they made their way out to midfield. The seniors posed for a picture with the coaching staff and their escorting family members. The commentator read a recap of each of the seniors’ Husky careers and included defining moments for each player.

Unfortunately, the Huskies had their hearts broken on the pitch Saturday night as Drexel’s sophomore forward Laolu Daranijo put a volley into the back of Northeastern’s net in the 98th minute, giving the Dragons a 1-0 win at Parsons Field.

With two minutes left in overtime, Drexel’s junior forward Kwesi Allen put in a cross towards the left side of the box which was met by the left leg of Daranijo, who hit it into the ground and bounced it in over Northeastern freshman keeper Chandler Cree at the near post.

Arguably, the Huskies’ best chance came in the first half, when second-year midfielder Frankie de la Camara hit the crossbar with a curling strike from outside the box. The Huskies had two shots on target and 9 shots total, hitting the woodwork twice.

“For some reason we just couldn’t get going, and at the end of the day those losses kind of hurt,” Gbandi said.

Gbandi said that the team’s growing frustration with not being on the board as the game went on is due to their competitive drive.

“We tell our guys to demand the most and the best from each other and I think they were trying to do that here today,”Gbandi said. “It was just a little bit unlucky. We couldn’t get going. And give credit to Drexel. They pushed forward and got the goal when they needed it.”

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