Story by Josh Chaskes and Peyton Doyle
BROOKLINE — The CAA women’s soccer championship game went beyond anyone’s imagination, providing drama that would wow any film fanatic.
The match began with an unlikely pairing, a No. 3 seeded Northeastern squad vs No.8 Hofstra. It ended with the Pride defeating the Huskies in the finals for a second straight season, securing their 2-1 victory on a rebound with a minute and a half left in double OT.
From the offset, the match looked to be like many others between the two programs over the past half decade – war. As soon as the ball was kicked off every player was going for blood, putting in every ounce of effort their bodies could muster. However, neither side could find the back of the net, and an action-packed first half finished 0-0.
To start the second half, the Huskies stuck with the lineup they had ended the first with, which included some players normally in reserve rolessuch as freshman defender Sabrina Araujo-Elorza and junior midfielder Eleanor Fisher. They were ready for the big moment, though, and added a burst of energy to the Northeastern side, picking up right where their teammates had left off.
The Husky defense stood firm to begin the second half, cutting down on the mistakes they had made in the first, but the atmosphere of the game changed in the 61st minute. Hofstra freshman midfielder Wictoria Fronc wriggled in between a couple of Northeastern defenders on the touchline and blasted a shot on target from a tight angle. Graduate goalkeeper Holland Stam made the initial save, but it fell right to the outstretched boot of senior forward Ellen Halseth, who gave Hofstra the first lead of the game.
After going down, the Huskies were determined to not let the game slip away from them. Their lights were dimmed momentarily though two minutes after the Pride scored. On a play in the corner, star junior midfielder Jessie Hunt went down with a leg injury and came out of the match.
Hunt, the driver of the Husky attack, attempted to come back in a few minutes later but had to be replaced once again and it seemed as if the team would be without one of their best players down 1-0 with 25 minutes left to go.
These Huskies, though, let very little stand in their way.
Around the 78 minute mark, following a flurry of fouls by Hofstra, Northeastern set up a free kick in an incredibly threatening position. Senior defender Jane Kaull stepped up to take it and sent the ball into the box.
Senior midfielder Alexis Legowski rose, as she had done dozens of times before on set pieces, and pounded the ball with her head, beating the keeper and tying the game at one.
Over the final 10 minutes both teams had fire in their eyes, doing their best to steal the game before overtime hit. Northeastern ripped off four shots, including two in the final minute while Hofstra tried to capitalize on corner kicks.
In the 83rd minute Legowski received the only card of the game, going in the book with a yellow after missing the ball on a sliding challenge.
Stam and the defense stopped four corners over a span of three minutes, including one that was narrowly saved by Legowski on the line.
Following defensive heroics on both sides, the Huskies went to overtime for the first time all season. It was familiar territory for the Pride, who won their first tournament game over Monmouth following double OT and penalty kicks.
To start overtime, the teams ran aground into a stalemate, each time a ball was played forward a defender would race to cut if off. Each team took just two shots in the first 10 minutes but as the period winded down, the Huskies gained new hope as Hunt reentered the game.
In the game’s 109th minute, with only 90 seconds remaining, freshman midfielder Thorhildur Thorhallsdottir skipped away from a few challenges and blasted a shot at goal from outside the box. It hit the bar, with Stam unable to get a touch on it, and rebounded directly to graduate defender Krista Agostinello, who headed home to give Hofstra the final word in the game, and ultimately the trophy.
It wasn’t the end to the season the Huskies were hoping for, experiencing a repeat of last year’s finals defeat, but the team can take pride in their hard-fought campaign; and there is hope for the future. Stars like Akyirem, Hunt, and Stam will all be returning next season with a vengeance. Along with the other veterans and a new class of recruits, they’ll lead the charge to bring Northeastern its first CAA soccer championship since 2016.