File photo by Mike Puzzanghera

Nonconference games

The Northeastern women’s soccer schedule is split in half this season, with eight nonconference games to open the year and nine conference matches to close it out.

The Huskies start their season with three of their first four games coming against fellow Boston schools. 

The season opens Aug. 18 when the Huskies hop over to Boston University and take on the Terriers, a team that put together a strong season in the Patriot League last year and have beaten Northeastern in their last two matches.

The Huskies then play their first home game of the season when Boston College comes to Parsons. The Eagles had a record of just 3-24-1 in the ACC over the past three seasons, but also have never lost to the Huskies in their 17 matches against each other.

On Aug. 25, Northeastern gets another game at home against Rhode Island, which played well in the A-10 last season, achieving its first winning conference record since 2007. The Rams, however, haven’t beaten Northeastern since 2003.

Sept. 2-4 will be the toughest nonconference stretch for the Huskies as they face off New Hampshire in Durham and have a short turnaround before their home match with UConn. Both teams are set up to be top competitors in their respective conferences with UNH predicted to finish third in America East in the upcoming season and UConn returning all five of its All-Big East selections from last season. 

The final nonconference game for Northeastern comes at home against a formidable Brown squad Sept. 11. The Bears were the top team in the Ivy League over the past two seasons and return both Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year Brittany Raphino and Defensive Player of the Year Kayla Duran.

Conference games

The first CAA game of the season for Northeastern comes Sept. 22 when they head down to North Carolina to face the Elon Phoenix. The Phoenix have left quite a mark on the Huskies in recent years, knocking them out of the playoffs two seasons ago and winning in overtime in their lone match last season.

The match with Elon is closely followed by another road game, this time in Towson against a Tigers squad which has been slowly building itself up from the bottom of the table over the past few seasons and is returning star juniors Nia Christopher and Jasmine Hamid. 

The first home conference game comes against new CAA foe Stony Brook Sept. 29. The Seawolves do not look to present much of a threat to the Huskies as they come into the season without their only two all-conference selections from last year. 

Following the match with Stony Brook, Northeastern is slated to take on Hofstra, the top team in the conference over the past few years. This Pride squad, however, is without three All-CAA first team selections from last season — Miri Taylor, Lucy Porter, and Jordan Littleboy. Both teams have statements to make; Northeastern wants to move in as the team to beat and Hoftsra will be battling to hang on to their title hopes. 

The next four games for the Huskies should be an opportunity for them to lock into form and make a strong push towards the top of the table. They are set to travel to William & Mary Oct. 6 and extend their winning streak over the Tribe to five games. 

Following their trip to Williamsburg, Virginia, the schedule gets even easier for the Huskies as they take on the Hampton Pirates, the least competitive of the new additions to the CAA. They have not won a game in the Big South over the past three seasons. 

Northeastern then plays their last two home games of the season against two of last year’s bottom three teams in the CAA and neither look like they will improve much this year. Their match with Drexel takes place Oct. 13 and their Delaware contest is three days after.

The last regular season CAA match for the Huskies comes Oct. 23 at Monmouth, the MAAC’s best team over the past decade, going 75-6-6 in the conference since 2013. The Hawks look to again be a formidable opponent despite losing four of their top players including the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year Sarina Jones. 

While Northeastern won’t be playing their recent rival UNCW in the regular season, both the strength of their team and relative weakness of conference opponents during the season should allow them to get a shot at the Seahawks in the playoffs for a third straight year.