Hofstra defeats Huskies in CAA Women’s Soccer Championship with overtime goal


Kayla Shiao

Sophomore forward Megan Putvinski slide tackles Hoftra’s Thorhildur Thorhallsdottir Nov. 5. Putvinski ended the season with seven points.

Lauren Salemo, news correspondent

The third-seeded Northeastern women’s soccer team (10-6-4, 5-2-2 CAA) was defeated 1-2 by eighth-seeded Hofstra University (10-7-4, 3-4-2 CAA) in the second overtime of the CAA Championship Nov. 5 in front of packed stands at Parsons Field. This was the Hofstra Pride’s fifth CAA Championship title in the past six seasons. The Huskies haven’t won since 2016. 

Northeastern pressured hard from the kickoff. Its first offensive drive came in the second minute as freshman forward Vivian Akyirem dribbled the ball from the midfield to the top of Hofstra’s 18-yard box, unable to shoot after falling from a tackle. 

The crowd was on the edge of their seats anytime the ball was at Akyirem’s feet. The freshman was named CAA Rookie of the Week twice along with being on the all-CAA all-rookie team and all-CAA first team. Akyirem has also recorded 13 goals this season, making her the seventh player in program history to record at least 10 goals in a single season. 

In the 22nd minute, Akyirem struck a ball on-frame low and center, finding the hands of Skylar Kuzmich, Hofstra’s senior keeper. A few minutes later, Akyirem saw another chance to score after junior midfielder Eleanor Fisher sent a ball deep, only for Kuzmich to beat Akyirem to the ball. 

With 13 minutes to go in the first half, sophomore forward Megan Putvinski sent a pass down the line to Akyirem who was uncontested and looking to send in a cross. This offensive opportunity was halted as Akyirem was quickly called offside. 

As the game neared the 45 minute mark, Hofstra sophomore forward Mathilde Braithwaite had a chance to score around the six-yard box, but Northeastern’s defense proved resilient. Sophomore defender Katherine Marchesseault remained strong and secured a goal kick for the Huskies.

The first half ended 0-0 as both teams held equal possession. Looking ahead to the next half, the Huskies needed to capitalize on counter attacks to come out on top. 

Northeastern came out hungrier in the second half, with senior forward Nina Dooley taking a shot just 30 seconds in. In the first seven minutes of the second half, the Huskies took three free kicks from the middle third, but were unable to come away with any shots on goal. 

The Huskies seemed to transition more effectively into their attacking third in the second half, spending more time around the Hofstra goal, but were unable to turn their final passes into shots. 

In the 60th minute, Hofstra’s freshman midfielder Wiktoria Fronc drove the ball to the endline, making her way through three Northeastern defenders, and sent the ball into the six-yard box. Fronc’s cross was tapped into the back of the net by senior forward Ellen Halseth, putting Hofstra up 0-1.

Five minutes later, Northeastern commanded offensive control, connecting a string of passes across Hofstra’s 18-yard box. Unfortunately, one too many passes gave the Pride defense a chance to step in and kill the Huskies’ opportunity. 

With 11 minutes left in the half, Northeastern saw its chance at redemption with a free kick from the right-side corner by senior defender Jane Kaull. Kaull’s cross soared into the box, looking for senior midfielder and assistant captain Alexis Legowski, who had been dominating the middle third of the field with headers the entire game. Legowski jumped for a header, striking the ball with precision and placing it in the back of the net, putting Northeastern on the board. 

Now a tied game, Northeastern’s momentum continued as the team drove straight towards Hofstra’s goal right from the kickoff. The Huskies took another free kick, giving Akyirem a shot that was saved by Kuzmich.

Although there were 30 fouls between both teams throughout regulation and overtime play, the only yellow card came in the 82nd minute to Legowski. Shortly after, two uncalled fouls by Hofstra squashed the Huskies’ offensive push for a game-winner with four minutes to go.

In the 87th minute, Hofstra had a chance to score with two corner kicks, but they were successfully cleared by Northeastern’s backline, keeping the game tied.

Northeastern saw one last opportunity at winning in regulation in the 88th minute with a give-and-go between Akyirem and freshman forward Lauren Ahles, setting up Akyirem with a clear shot that was saved by Kuzmich just below the crossbar. 

After 90 minutes of regulation play, the game was tied 1-1. The Huskies would continue the fight for the CAA title in overtime. Two 10-minute halves needed to be played in full, without a sudden-death victory per NCAA tournament rules. 

Neither team dominated the first 10 minutes of overtime as both the Huskies and the Pride recorded two on-target shots. In the last three seconds, Hofstra’s sophomore forward Olivia Pearse took a shot that looked as if it went in, but sailed just above the crossbar, ending the first half of overtime scoreless.

The first five minutes of the second half of overtime resembled the 90 minutes of regulation: the game resided mostly in the midfield and each team’s offensive transitions ended with a save by the goalies or a clearing by the back lines. 

The Pride had two plays in the 106th and 107th minutes, where a smooth string of passes led to two on-frame strikes. Both shots at victory were stopped by Northeastern’s keeper, graduate student Holland Stam, who had been solid all game, recording seven saves in total.

With two minutes to go, a handball was called against the Huskies, allowing Hofstra to send a ball into the top of the 18-yard box off of a free kick. After the shot ricocheted off the crossbar, Hofstra’s graduate defender Krista Agostinello headed the ball in, putting the Pride up 1-2.

With roughly 90 seconds left to play, the Huskies quickly moved the ball up the field and held possession in their attacking third, but were unable to take any shots for an equalizer.

In the end, the Pride outshot the Huskies 21-16, although both teams had 9 on-frame shots. Northeastern put up a tough fight in 110 minutes of evenly-matched play, but Hofstra came away with the victory in the last two minutes of double overtime. 

Northeastern’s diligent work did not go unnoticed. Legowski, Akyirem and senior midfielder Porter Dooley were selected for the 2022 CAA Women’s Soccer all-tournament team. Although they fell one goal short of the CAA title, the Huskies had a stellar season, boasting an overall record of 10-6-4 and conference record of 5-2-2.