Story by Catherine Morrison
After defeating Towson in second overtime and snapping their four game losing streak, the Northeastern Huskies looked to build on their momentum at Parsons Field when they faced the James Madison University Dukes. Sunday’s game was not pretty for the Huskies. They only had seven shots, all in the first half, and gave up all seven corner kicks in the second half. But sometimes, you don’t have to play amazing, you just have to win, and that’s what Northeastern did.
JMU and Northeastern were fairly evenly matched, both battling for possession of the ball. However, Northeastern looked more confident in the first half. Jane Kaull looked like she was going to score when she had a corner kick, but couldn’t quite get the angle right and was blocked by the Dukes. Then, midfielder Gaby Scarlett looked like she was going to get the Huskies first goal when she broke away and sped down the field, but missed her kick and instead hit the top of the net. However, Northeastern was due for a goal after so many close chances, and midfielder Rose Kaefer was ready. A scrum broke out in front of the net and Kaefer was perfectly placed to kick the ball into the net for Northeastern’s first goal of the game, and her first of the season.
Head coach Ashley Phillips was proud of Kaefer’s progress over the season, saying, “We’ve been creating a lot of set pieces in that first half that were really dangerous. Faith was ripping them some good balls so we just kind of knocked the ball back down and Rose stayed alert and buried it. I think it’s really exciting to see someone like Rose reap that reward. She was coming off the bench and she wasn’t getting that many minutes and she’s really come alive in the last couple of games.”
The first half finished on a sour note, with Jualiane Ross going down hard and having to walk off the field. However, it seems she was able to shake it off as she started the second half. That was about the only bright spot of the second half, along with some really excellent goaltending by Angeline Friel. The Huskies needed Friel to be on the top of her game, since they spent almost the entire time on defense against the Dukes. The Dukes were constantly pounding the goal, trying to take advantage of an astounding seven corner kicks in the second half after having exactly zero into the first. Meanwhile the Huskies weren’t exactly helping their cause, with zero shots for forty five straight minutes. James Madison University just seemed to have more energy, not allowing the Huskies to break away and really putting the pressure on them at every opportunity. Despite this, Friel was able to keep the Huskies in the game, making save after save.
Coach Phillips acklowded how much Friel contributed to today’s win, stating, “We’ve been creating a lot of set pieces in that first half that were really dangerous, Faith was ripping them some good balls so we just kind of knocked the ball back down and Rose stayed alert and buried it. I think it’s really exciting to see someone like Rose reap that reward, she was coming off the bench and she wasn’t getting that many minutes and she’s really come alive in the last couple of games.”
In the end, JMU was unable to score and the Huskies extended their winning streak to two. Despite not playing the way they wanted to, Northeastern was able to stay in the fight and grind out a win, and sometimes that’s all that matters.
Coach Phillips agreed, stating, “ It wasn’t pretty in the second half, we didn’t really get the ball down and try to fight, but sometimes that doesn’t really matter at the end of the day if you get the results. To our girls, they bought in to the defending and we changed systems three times and we sat in and it was kind of unique for us to not play the way we typically play. [JMU] got to come in here fresh and so we knew they’d have a little bit more life at the end of the game than we did, so I’m just super proud of the girls and how we stuck with it.”
The Northeastern Huskies look to get some rest and come back ready to fight on Thursday against Hofstra in New York.