For the second straight year, the Huskies kicked off their season against crosstown rival Boston University. In last year’s installment, BU came away with a dominant 2-0 victory over Northeastern at Parsons Field. This year, the venue had flipped, and the Huskies were looking to steal a win at the Terriers’ home turf to begin the season on a high note.
Thursday’s match was a tale of two halves. Early on, the Terriers were controlling nearly every facet play. BU forwards Sydney Fagan and Amy Thompson capitalized on their speed advantage to force the Northeastern defense to play from their heels. Possession was dominated by the Terriers, as they played excellent in the midfield to dispose of any threats made by the Huskies attack.
Northeastern Keeper Holland Stam, a transfer from Duke University, made her first appearance in the red and black, and was stellar for 90 minutes. She was tested early on by the BU offense, with a few strong chances coming from as close as six yards away. Stam was more than up to the task, stopping all six shots that BU fired her way in the first half.
By the end of the first half, the game’s pace of play had dropped off, and each side was beginning to fatigue. The Terriers, with their longer style of play that required more running, seemed to be worse for wear. Halftime came about with Northeastern only recording a single shot on goal, but the Terriers looking a little more tired.
Northeastern clearly smelled blood in the water and came out roaring for the second half. Wisconsin transfer Jessie Hunt was all over the pitch in her first game as a Husky, making plays on either side of the ball as a center forward. Hunt, standing at 5’ 9”, used her size to her advantage, pushing her back into the defense and winning time for her teammates to move up the field.
BU didn’t just let the Huskies impose their physicality, as they continued to launch their bodies at the Northeastern defense and play a physical brand of soccer. Boom ball was the name of the game for the Terriers, and it might have been successful, but the defensive efforts of Katherine Marchesseault and Jane Kaull at center back ensured that Stam was only seeing low-quality shots on her goal.
It was only two minutes into the half when the Huskies finally found their chance. A corner kick, fought for and won by Nina Dooley, bounced dangerously in the penalty area. BU wasn’t able to make a strong clearing effort, and that gave Alexis Legowski the time and space she needed to do what she does best. Legowski rifled a half-volley into the top left of the net, past a diving Gretchen Mitchell and giving Northeastern the 1-0 lead.
The Terriers were clearly shocked after the score. They added a lot of urgency to the pace of their play, but Northeastern, now playing from in front, welcomed the pressure. Getting the ball deep in their zone meant that they could play with possession using the whole field. With how solid the Huskies’ defense had been, winning the ball in the defensive third was an easy task. BU was suffering greatly from fatigue at this point, and the defensive style of play from the Huskies only made that worse. For the final 20 minutes of play, it was rare to see the ball leave Northeastern’s half. Marchesseault, Kaull, and Stam were rock solid at the heart of the Northeastern defense. As the clock wound down, BU seemed more and more desperate, opting for shots well outside of the box. Stam was all over these efforts, making every save needed.
Despite their best efforts, the Terriers were unable to crack the Northeastern defense, and the Huskies would hold on to grab the 1-0 win. They will be back in action against the Boston College Eagles Aug. 21. Jack Sinclair will have the call for WRBB Sports on Mixlr at 1 p.m.