Huskies’ resilient season ended in semifinal


Riley Robinson

Senior forward Chelsea Domond dribbles past the Drexel Dragons in a game earlier this season.

Peyton Doyle, news staff

The Northeastern Huskies women’s soccer team (5-5-1, 3-1-0 CAA) were 45 minutes away from their first CAA Championship game since 2017, Thursday night. The UNCW Seahawks (7-2-0, 4-0-0 CAA), however, had other plans for the Huskies in the second half of their CAA semifinal game. 

Despite NU’s 2-0 mauling of the birds in the first half, UNCW soared back and scored three unanswered goals in the second, including a back-breaking penalty kick to seal the match.

The season, however, was not a disappointment for the Huskies. The tale of this team over the course of the pandemic-scourged season was one of resilience and hope. 

After starting off the season 1-2-1 and having two of their first four games canceled, NU roared back, going undefeated at home and allowing just one goal while at Parsons Field. The team, hampered by injuries to their back line, including All-CAA centerback Julianne Ross, stood their ground in the CAA North and claimed one of the top two spots in the division, getting them into the CAA tournament for the 10th consecutive season, a longer streak than any other conference opponent.

Outside of the team’s record, the Huskies also had some impressive individual accolades throughout the squad. Senior forward/defender Mikenna McManus, senior forward Chelsea Domond and sophomore midfielder Alexis Legowski were each named to the All-CAA first team. Sophomore midfielder Porter Dooley and freshman defender Allie Vazquez were named to the third team. Vazquez was also named to the All-CAA rookie team.

Head coach Ashley Phillips was proud of the work that all of her players put in during this trying year.

“We have special players — there is no question,” Phillips said. “We have a lot of players that are super talented, super hardworking and committed to the team. To have that many kids selected [to the All-CAA teams] is a credit to them and the work they put in, we are playing against top teams in the CAA and to have that many players get selected is a great honor.”

On top of their commendable on-field performance, Phillips was just glad to be around this group of players during such a turbulent time.

“We said to the girls, ’We hope we’ll have them all back next year,’” Phillips said. “This team is fun, and they have made a pretty crappy year pretty enjoyable and seeing them every day has been a really good time.”

For the team going forward, the CAA semifinal match may only be their floor. Even if the Huskies’ seniors decline to use their extra year of eligibility in the fall, they still have a young team bursting with talent. 

Starting sophomore goalkeeper Angeline Friel averaged under one goal against her per game in her first full season of collegiate play. Three of the team’s All-CAA team selections were freshmen or sophomores and are sure to only get better with experience. Six of their 11 starters in the semifinal game were also freshmen or sophomores, including the team’s second and third leading scorers, Legowski and freshman forward Gaby Scarlett. In the semifinal game, Scarlett contributed on both of her team’s goals, netting one and assisting on the other.

There are many more incredible young players on this team, including freshman midfielders Rose Kaefer and Eleanor Fisher, who each started eight games for the Huskies over the course of the season. 

The Huskies just scratched the surface of their potential during this season where they saw their patience tested day after day by the pandemic. After having their traditional fall season postponed, the team also saw their winter practice facility, the Cabot Center, ripped away from them and converted to NU’s COVID-19 testing center. 

Once it was announced that the season would be rescheduled to a shortened format for the spring, the team had to practice at night at Parsons Field, sometimes in sub-zero temperatures. Despite COVID-19 constantly breathing down their necks, threatening to derail their season, the team only had three games canceled in the spring. 

Phillips said she appreciates the work that the players and the administration did to allow the season to be as successful as it was. 

“I think for us, we were just really happy and thankful for the university, allowing us to get out there and play games,” Phillips said. “I think we played the most games out of any CAA team, and we were really blessed to get those opportunities and get the kids back to just some normalcy in their lives. I think to get here, in that kind of year, is a big feat on its own, and what we told the girls is that we are really proud of that.”

While the Huskies had their season ended in a cruel fashion, they still have plenty that they can be proud of from this strange year. In the fall, this team will come out barking even louder and will be a team to fear within the CAA.