Story by Catherine Morrison
Photos by Mike Puzzanghera
On a humid Thursday evening in front of a crowd of 200, the women’s soccer team’s season started with an electric match against local rival, Boston University. The Huskies put up a good fight, outshooting BU 15-5, but it wasn’t enough, and BU shutout Northeastern 2-0.
After a tumultuous and stressful last season, both BU and Northeastern looked for a fresh start in Thursday’s opener. A chance to forget about the struggles of last season and start the new one strong.
Head Coach Ashley Phillips talked about perseverance and staying the course, saying, “The message was: we need to make sure we come back in a place where we can build on last year and not have to restart and regroup, and the girls did that.”
Phillips added, “[Last] season was a little chaotic, a little strange. We hope for a little more normalcy, but we need to prepare for the abnormal still, and we need to prepare for shake ups and changes, and adjustments, and be adaptable. We’ve kind of asked that they just persevere through whatevers thrown in our face”
The game started with both teams battling for position. The ball was evenly split between the two sides, but Boston University seemed more comfortable in front of the ball, shooting less but making the shots they did make count. In the eleventh minute of the first half, BU’s senior forward, Jenna Oldham passed to senior defender Margaret Berry, who head-butted the ball into the goal with such force that it ricocheted up and down in the goal before settling on the group, getting BU’s first goal and the lead of the game. Northeastern tried to come back immediately with a big shot by defender Mckenna McManus, but the ball went just wide and missed the goal. Although Northeastern and BU were evenly split for possession of the ball, Northeastern wasn’t making it very difficult for the Terriers, giving up seven corner kicks and not making any real shots towards the goal. The tide was in BU’s favor, and they were going to take advantage of it. Just over halfway through the first half Oldham again took possession of the ball, smoothly passing to midfielder Sophia Woodland right in front of the net. Northeastern goalie Megan Adams, made a diving play for the ball but was too far away and it sailed in for goal number two.
Going into the second half, Northeastern seemed determined to keep their energy up and persevere against their cross-town rival.
Phillips knew the pressure her players were feeling, saying, “That’s what they play college soccer for, right, is that excitement, challenges, difficult opponents, and to play a cross-town rival [just adds] a little bit of bragging rights.”
However, as the second half progressed, the Huskies faced the same problems as in the first. Although the Huskies would get in front of the goal, their shots weren’t much of a challenge for BU’s goalkeeper Celia Braun, who ended the game with five saves. In the end, despite solid defensive work by Northeastern, they just weren’t able to take advantage of the goal opportunities they had, and instead kept turning the ball over to the Terriers.
“Defensively I think we did a lot of really good things and limited chances, but we gave up too many set pieces, so we have to be better in that area,” Phillips said. “I don’t think they had a chance outside of set pieces so defensively, we’re solid as a group, offensively I thought we created some great chances and just didn’t score. I just hope the group believes in themselves a little more and actually takes the chances like they want to score.”
The Huskies look to bounce back on Sunday, Aug. 22 at 5 as they take on the Fairfield University Stags at Parsons Field.