Late surge thwarted by UConn in Huskies’ 2-0 loss


Mike Puzzanghera

The Northeastern Huskies were unable to make a goal as they battled the UConn Huskies, losing 2-0

Peyton Doyle, news staff

The Northeastern women’s soccer team (1-2-1) entered this game against the University of Connecticut (2-0-0) coming off of their first win of the season three days earlier against the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

NU competed with their fellow Huskies for the majority of the match but again struggled to put together a full game of consistent play. Head coach Ashley Phillips said that in their match against the River Hawks, the Huskies played “45 to 50 minutes of solid Northeastern soccer,” acknowledging that it would not be enough against competition like UConn.

Despite the 2-0 final, the game came down to the very end with both teams threatening off set pieces and breakaways. In the end, however, NU could not get the ball to find the back of the net.

The majority of the first half of this matchup was a bruising defensive battle, with most of the action coming in the midfield or on the sidelines. Neither team was willing to give up the ball easily or let their opponent carry on with possession unchecked. Huskies on both sides were tossed to the ground and each matchup was one with force.

The NU attack threatened most with their deep crosses and corner kicks, finding players in the opposing box but just not getting any shots to find the target. UConn’s defenders served as an impenetrable wall, blocking any shot that dared come their way.

On the defensive side, freshman center back Allie Vazquez, sophomore wing back Halle McCabe and sophomore center back Jane Kaull led the way for NU in the first half. They had to combat the powerful trio of senior forward Yamilee Eveillard, sophomore midfielder Jessica Mazo and freshman forward Jada Konte who bullied their way onto the ball and moved with malice. The trio used their size and speed to challenge the backline of their opposing Huskies who are still without senior defender Julianne Ross.

Following a foul call on McCabe, UConn aligned for a set piece and sophomore defender Jaqueline Hartnett launched the ball into the box. Sophomore goalkeeper Angeline Friel came up to knock the ball out of harm’s way but UConn senior forward Sophia Danyko-Kulchycky got to it first, heading it past the reaching fist of Friel and into the net for the first goal of the game. 

Following the goal, NU picked up their offensive play, holding possession and making themselves at home in their opponent’s side of midfield. Senior forward Chelsea Domond shifted over to the right wing and moved with speed and menace, bursting by her mark and firing balls into the box but failed to find her teammates’ boots.

In the second half, both Husky squads pushed the ball well into their opponent’s territory for stretches. UConn came out firing to start the period, peppering the NU goal but narrowly missing their target. 

Initially, in the second half, the NU Huskies struggled to find good opportunities on goal, and it appeared as though their deficit would continue to grow against their fellow canines.

A cross by senior forward Mikenna McManus seemed to have changed the tides of the game. However, as the ball glanced off sophomore midfielder Alexis Legowski and to freshman forward Rose Kaefer, Kaefer just mishit her shot and fired it wide of the goal. Despite this, the attack showed there was still life left in NU. 

At the 81 minute mark, NU had the equalizer within their grasp. UConn’s junior defender Rachel Marchini misplayed a ball back to her, slicing it out of bounds for a corner kick instead of tapping it back to her goalkeeper. Madness ensued on the following play. 

McManus fired a ball across the field, through the outstretched paws of UConn’s goalkeeper senior Randi Palacios and to the feet of Domond standing barely a yard from the goal line, who tapped it in front of her. The ball appeared to have crossed the line before it met a wall of Huskies, but the officials determined that UConn cleared it before fully crossing into the net.

Domond pleaded her case with the referees but they did not listen. From their perspective the ball did not make it in. As NU argued, the defense raised their arms to signal that it had not crossed the line, waiving away their opponents’ hopes at a comeback. 

As if the no call was not enough, UConn drove another dagger through the hearts of their fellow Huskies. Mere minutes after the Domond attempt, Eveillard found freshman midfielder Lucy Cappadonna roaring towards the top of the box who hit a screaming one-timer off the bottom of the crossbar and into the NU goal. 

Cappadonna’s second of the season capped off the win for UConn. The two-goal deficit was too much for NU to overcome in just five minutes and the Huskies lost for the second time this season.

While there were bright spots for the Huskies at times, Phillips knows that her squad’s full potential is better than their record and this match’s scoreline suggests.

“We can’t just show up in moments if we want to win games, especially against teams like UConn,” Phillips said. “It is frustrating for us as coaches, it’s frustrating for the girls. We have to get back and figure out how we can get our foot forward in some of these games and perform to the level we know we are capable of.”

Northeastern looks to even up their record in their next game against the University of Rhode Island (0-2-0) at Parsons Field in Brookline March 7 at 1 p.m.