Huskies get revenge against Seahawks in women’s soccer


Riley Robinson

The Northeastern Huskies against the Drexel Dragons in spring, 2021

Peyton Doyle, deputy sports editor

The taste of revenge is wonderfully sweet when it replaces the sourness of defeat. While the hunger for vengeance was satisfied with a win in the semifinals against the top-seeded University of North Carolina Wilmington (11-4-1, 7-3-0 CAA), Northeastern’s women’s soccer team (9-8-1, 6-4-0 CAA) is not done yet.

On Thursday night, the Huskies’ desire for revenge propelled them to the CAA championship game. The match was the second meeting in the semifinals over the last two seasons between NU and UNCW, and the Huskies were able to let out an incredible sigh of relief when the clock finally ran out this time around.

This tournament hosted by Elon University falls just over six months after last season’s playoff loss, and was the first time ever that the Huskies faced the UNCW Seahawks in back-to-back postseasons.

NU knew how difficult it would be to take on UNCW, who beat them twice over the last two seasons. This year was a 2-0 loss at home in the regular season delivered by the Seahawks. It was last year’s playoff match, however, that left the Huskies with the real sour taste in their mouths. NU led that matchup 2-0 going into halftime. UNCW quickly showed why they were the top team in the regular season and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. In a 21-minute span in the second half, the Seahawks scored three goals, putting a cruel finish on the Huskies’ 2021 spring season. 

This season, the Huskies made sure that they grabbed the game by the reins and never let go, controlling the match from the start. NU landed three shots on goal in the first 30 minutes compared to none for UNCW, and the Huskies deftly fended off their opponents’ attempts on goal at the end of the first half.

Junior goalkeeper Angeline Friel helped hold off the late assault.

Northeastern Women’s Soccer on Twitter: “40′ | FRIEL‼️ The #HowlinHuskies goaltender dives to stop UNCW’s shot and we’re still tied here. 0-0 | 1st @FloFC_ ?⚽️” / Twitter

The majority of the second half of the match was a similar stalemate to the first half. The Huskies landed a singular shot on target in the final 45 minutes, but it was quite a fateful one. 

With just three minutes remaining in the game, graduate student forward Kayla McCauley found a way to reach the back of the net, leading to an explosion of celebration from herself and her teammates and a gripping sense of defeat for her opponents.

Northeastern Women’s Soccer on Twitter: “?MCCAULEYYYY!!!? IN THE 88TH MINUTE!! Kayla McCauley gives the #HowlinHuskies the lead LATE in the @CAA semifinal. 1-0 NU | 2nd @FloFC_?⚽️” / Twitter

After the game when asked about the winning goal, McCauley acknowledged the excitement of the goal, but also set her focus on Sunday’s championship game.

“Honestly I was shocked,” McCauley said with a smile. “I am just so excited for the team and looking forward to Sunday.”

McCauley also spoke on the team effort and determination that led to the long awaited victory that put them in the CAA championship game for the first time since 2017.

“We just worked our butts off the whole game,” McCauley said. “We just gritted it out, the backline, the midfield, all of the forwards. It was just grit, and we knew that it was do or die.”

Their result in the postseason is not the only impressive part of the Huskies’ season. Their path to the conference tournament was equally valiant and full of the same grit that the team preaches. 

With the pressure mounting and the holiday looming over, NU was not spooked by their Oct. 31 matchup against the College of William & Mary. Huskies’ junior forward Nina Dooley smashed home the lone goal in the match and her second of her career to make it quite a happy Halloween for her squad.

(2) Northeastern Women’s Soccer on Twitter: “?NINA DOOLEY GOAL!!? The #HowlinHuskies get the first one of this match off the foot of Nina Dooley! Her 1️⃣st of the season in the 36th minute‼️ 1-0 NU | 1st ?⚽️” / Twitter

That singular goal was the difference in making the postseason tournament for the Huskies. After losing to the Drexel University Dragons (6-8-3, 2-5-2 CAA) in double overtime Oct. 28, NU needed to beat the Tribe on Sunday in order to advance to the CAA tournament. Despite getting just two shots on goal as a team, Dooley preserved the season in the 36th minute. 

The victory locked them into the final playoff spot in the CAA, setting them up to take on the UNCW Seahawks in the first round, which in a four-team field, is also the semifinals. 

Following the win, NU’s assistant coach Ryan Goggs applauded the spirit that his team showed down the stretch.

“It was brilliant all around today from start to finish,” Goggs said. “Our girls stepped up to the plate today, we are very proud as coaches that they made it to the playoffs.”

A Halloween game is quite a rare occurrence for the Huskies: this match marked just the second time this century they have played Oct. 31. Both holiday matches have provided quite the treat for the Huskies, however. Prior to this one, their last Halloween game was a 4-0 win against Hofstra University to end the 2009 regular season. 

The match this year, however, was far more important than the one 12 years prior. In 2009, NU had already secured a spot in the CAA tournament. Sunday’s win was required if the Huskies wanted to keep on playing. 

The last three games of the regular season were emblematic of just how trying and uneven this season has been for the Huskies. NU played the three worst teams by record in their conference, the College of Charleston (3-12-3, 2-6-1 CAA), Drexel and William & Mary. It should have been an easy slate for the team that was 3-1 over their previous four games including a win against nationally-ranked Hofstra (15-3-1, 7-2-1 CAA). 

Rather than sweeping their opponents and coasting into the tournament, the Huskies needed a come-from-behind win against the Cougars, lost in double overtime to the Dragons and registered just two shots on goal against the Tribe.

Overcoming challenges and streakiness was a point of emphasis for this team over the course of their season. They started off the year with a 3-1 record in August, which led into a win-less September. The team extended their four-game non-conference losing streak into the CAA schedule where they started off 0-2 including their loss to UNCW. From Oct. 3 on, however, the team went 5-2 in the CAA and showed that you can never underestimate a Huskies’ team under head coach Ashley Phillips.

Following NU’s game against UNCW, Hofstra took on James Madison University (9-9-1, 6-4 CAA) and topped the Dukes 1-0 to advance to the conference finals. With the Huskies emboldened going into Sunday’s championship game, the Pride should watch out, as they have already seen once so far this season how difficult it can be to take down this squad.