After 65 minutes, Northeastern’s new head coach Rich Weinrebe seemed well-positioned to take home a victory in his first match at the helm. But when the final whistle blew, Weinrebe was left with a 1-1 draw in the blazing sun at Parsons Field against UMass.
Despite the result, Weinrebe was encouraged by what his team was able to accomplish in its season opener.
“I’m glad to get the first one going,” Weinrebe said. “The nerves were a lot better when the game was going versus the buildup to the game. It feels good to coach here and be here, and I love our group. When we put it together I think we are going to be really good.”
There are five new transfers to this year’s squad, and four of them started the opening match. Graduate transfers Ole Kjørholt and Ahriá Simons, along with junior Fabrizio Cubbedu, shined while manning the backline in their Husky debuts. In the attack, sophomore Tobias Wangerud was one of the top performers, notching his first career assist as a Husky. Sophomore transfer Davide Romeo also got significant playing time while flowing between the defense and midfield.
The transfers were not the only players to make their Northeastern debuts. Freshman midfielder Sami Baiche started the match and fellow freshman Fraser Brown, a forward, also saw some action.
The biggest star in the first half for the Huskies was redshirt junior goalkeeper Colby Hegarty, who tallied four saves in the opening period and six overall, including a stellar leaping reach with his right hand to stop a top drawer missile.
“Colby was great,” Weinrebe said. “It’s the best I’ve seen him. He made a couple of really big saves for us. … I think he owned his box. He had a lot of big time saves for us and kept us in it when we were giving up a couple too many chances.”
In the second half it was the offense that stole the stage, as the Huskies launched seven second-half shots compared to just their two in the first.
Wangerud, as well as redshirt senior forward Timothy Ennin and graduate student forward Ryan Massoud, were key playmakers. The trio combined for the Huskies’ best run of the game,with Ennin finishing it off with a stellar goal past senior keeper Matt Zambetti.
After playing ball after ball into the Huskies’ box in the first half, the Minutemen continued to put on the pressure in the second half but kept either finding the gloves of Hegarty or the sliding legs of the defense.
When UMass finally got one past Hegarty, it was a screaming volley from junior forward Nick Zielonka.
Following the equalizer, Northeastern outshot UMass 5-1 and nearly put the match away on several occasions but just missed each time either sending it over the top or glancing the sides of the net.
The next matchup for the Huskies will be on Monday against the Eagles at Boston College. WRBB Sports will have written coverage following the game.