Story by Peyton Doyle
Photo by Mike Puzzanghera
Northeastern women’s soccer’s senior night presented an important opportunity for the Huskies (3-6-1, 0-2-0 CAA) who are looking to establish themselves among the top-tier of CAA teams this season. The match on Oct. 3 was against the UNCW Seahawks (6-1-1, 2-0-0 CAA), the same team that ended NU’s season the year prior in the conference semifinals.
The Huskies entered the day on a five-game winless streak, with their last victory coming at the end of August against the University of Rhode Island. The game against the Seahawks was a chance for the Huskies to both end their winning drought and enter their names into the conversation as one of the top teams in the CAA. Prior to the matchup, the coaches in the East region released their rankings of the top teams. Hofstra University landed at number one, and UNCW was placed at number nine, as the only other CAA team in the top ten.
Early into this matchup the Seahawks outplayed the Huskies, forcing their way into the box often and locking down in the defensive midfield. 11 minutes into the game, UNCW had a numbers advantage, and junior Jordan Faveri found the ball at her feet as she burst into the box and snuck one past senior goalkeeper Megan Adams for the Seahawks’ first goal.
The early deficit though was not a death sentence for NU, who showed life after conceding the early goal. While the Huskies struggled to work their way into their offensive box at first, they were still able to find opportunities on goal, outshooting their opponents 9-4 in the first half and 14-8 overall. Many of the team’s chances came from shots at the top of the box and headers and volleys off of crosses and lobs.
Junior midfielder Nina Dooley was a main source of this revitalization, providing a much-needed spark off the bench for an offense that was struggling to start off the game. Dooley often found her twin-sister Porter on passes into the box or was herself the recipient from players like senior Mikenna McManus.
McManus, who was honored prior to the game as a senior, had an up-and-down first half. She found success with crosses into the box but struggled to produce with her bread and butter, set pieces. While the Huskies are usually successful off of their crosses deep into the box from corner kicks, their first two corners of the game against the Seahawks were short passes that resulted in nothing.
Following the halftime break, the two teams came to a tactical stalemate with most of the play stalled in the midfield and few opportunities created for either side. NU continued to challenge UNCW with their crossing and lob passing but nothing posed too great of a challenge for the freshman keeper Kaylie Bierman as she stopped every shot that came her way throughout the match.
Adams too proved stout for the Huskies for the majority of the game and in the middle 70 minutes of the match halted each attempt that got through her strong backline. The finishing blow for NU came with 10 minutes left in the match. A free-kick set up an opportunity for UNCW as they launched a perfectly placed cross to freshman Sohpie Trepohl who hit an untouchable header into the back of the net for her first career goal.
The match against the Seahawks was emblematic of the Huskies’ season so far. Again the defense was strong but they failed to convert on more than a dozen chances on goal. NU has scored more than one goal just once this season and has been shut out in four of their 10 games.
While there is still plenty of season left, the Huskies need to find their bite if they have hopes of competing in the CAA tournament. Over the next two weeks, NU will be playing four games including matches at Hofstra and at Towson University — that stretch may make or break the season for this squad.