BROOKLINE — All it takes is one moment to break open a close game. Tonight, that moment didn’t go Northeastern’s way as the Huskies fell 1-0 to UNCW in a CAA clash at home at Parsons Field.
The Huskies dominated the first 20 minutes, with their back four of Ahriá Simons, Ole Kjorholt, Fabrizio Cubeddu, and Zach Sauer standing tall and not allowing a single shot., While the Huskies had five shots in that stretch, only one was on goal. Much of Northeastern’s attacking pressure came down the right side of the field, with the trio of Simons, Federico Tellez, and Jacob Marin-Thompson linking up to whip some crosses into the box and create threatening runs down the wing and in the inside channels.
Tellez had some notable strikes, including the one shot on target — a curling effort that UNCW senior keeper Gabriel Perrotta stepped forward to catch. Marin-Thompson also had a sight of goal, picking up the ball in the inside channel on the right and darting inside onto his left foot before firing the ball just wide to the left of the net..
Soon after that, though, the momentum shifted and the Seahawks became much more threatening. Senior Bachir Ndiaye and junior Pep Casas were some of the main chance creators out of the UNCW midfield, beating defenders and sending in threatening passes between the Northeastern lines. On the attacking side, senior Gabe Mercer and graduate student Ryan Graham bursting down the wings and trying to funnel the ball to UNCW’s target man – senior forward Cannon Tootle.
In the 22nd minute, UNCW senior defender Jaden Strumeier found himself in a lot of space on the left side of Northeastern’s box. He danced with Simons before finding an inch of space and whipping in a low cross toward Tootle. The striker wasn’t able to get there, but it was a sign of a much more menacing pace attack from the Seahawks.
Early in the second half, Ndiaye left the field after clattering together with Northeastern sophomore midfielder Andres TorrealbaHe returned in the 70th minute however, and was able to see out the game.
UNCW’s menacing play continued well into the second half, as Northeastern’s defense stayed strong against unrelenting pressure. Cubeddu got a foot in to block a shot from freshman forward Ethan Newsome in the 61st minute, and Kjorholt timed his slide perfectly in the 66th minute to nick the ball away from Seahawk senior forward Omar Aboutaleb, who was in a dangerous area and advancing quickly.
Tempers flared and yellow cards were brandished near the end of the game, as things started to get a bit chippy between the two sides after some heavy challenges. In the 69th minute, UNCW sophomore defender Adam Hillis went down after being tripped by Tellez, then got back up and shoved Tellez to the ground with both hands as the referee arrived to break up the quarrel. Later, in the 81st minute, there was a heavy collision between Graham and Northeastern sophomore forward Sebastian Restrepo, with Restrepo exchanging some choice words with Ndiaye after the incident.
Northeastern had one last big chance in the 84th minute, with Marin-Thompson playing in redshirt senior forward Timothy Ennin with a ball over the top. Ennin used his strength to fend off surrounding Seahawk players and looked to be one-on-one with Perrotta before UNCW sophomore defender Josef Hefele made his presence known, sliding in to block the shot.
Soon after, in the 86th minute, Newsome found himself with the ball on the edge of the Northeastern box. The freshman shimmied to the left to pry himself away from multiple Husky defenders, and curled an outside of the boot right-footed effort into the top left corner of the goal, past Northeastern redshirt junior keeper Colby Hegarty’s dive. It was Newsome’s first goal of his collegiate career and it sealed the victory for UNCW as they picked up the three points.
There simply wasn’t enough time for the Huskies to fight back for the draw as the game ended 1-0. Weinrebe said his post-game speech to the team stressed the need to capitalize on big attacking opportunities, especially in a game where there aren’t likely to be many.
“It was about the importance of playing for 90 mins and taking our chances,” Weinrebe said. “I thought we did a really good job of moving the ball and creating attacking chances and we didn’t score, and they had two or three good chances and they got one of them. Soccer’s a game of moments, so they had one more moment than we did that mattered.”
Notably absent from the Northeastern lineup Saturday was sophomore forward Tobias Wangerud, who’s played in seven of the Huskies’ ten games this season. Head coach Rich Weinrebe confirmed that Wangerud is currently injured, and that the timeline of his return is uncertain.
After the loss, the Huskies moved to 3-4-3 on the season,with a record of 2-2-1 in CAA play. They’re currently placed seventh in the CAA standings, with five conference games remaining.
The Huskies will head back to training with sights set on their next game, an away matchup this Tuesday at Brown.