Northeastern women’s soccer traveled to North Carolina on Thursday in their first road CAA matchup of the season to play the Campbell Fighting Camels for the first time in program history. Campbell, in its first year in the CAA, had a slow start to the season entering the matchup, with just one goal in their last four matches, hoping to turn their offense around against the visitors from Boston.
The momentum sat clearly in the hands of the Huskies at the start of the game, as their clean passing sequences ran circles around the Camels. Northeastern forced offensive errors from Campbell to shut down their strikers, with their best chances coming from counterattacks that the Huskies were easily able to bat away.
In the 13th minute of the match, a clearance from Northeastern senior defender Faith Rosenblatt fell at the feet of senior forward Rose Kaefer, who in turn was able to find sophomore forward Vivian Akyirem. Akyirem let loose a powerful strike from well beyond the penalty box towards the bottom right corner of the goal. It struck the inside of the base of the post and ricocheted safely into the back of the net past Campbell redshirt sophomore goalkeeper JLo Varada, giving the Huskies an early lead.
The Camels did not stay down for long, though. Two minutes later, they took a throw-in from the attacking third of the field. Junior forward Sage Dougherty dribbled into the box and made a quick pass to junior forward Reagan Baiotto, who gave it right back to Dougherty. Dougherty chipped the ball into the top right corner of the open net over the gloves of Northeastern senior goalie Holland Stam to tie the match.
Campbell didn’t stop from there. In the 19th minute, they won a corner kick, taken by senior midfielder Cazzie Norgren. Her ball found the center of the box, where redshirt senior forward Laney Peabody headed it in past the full extension of Northeastern senior goalie Holland Stam to give the Camels a 2-1 lead.
Both teams continued to pile up offensive chances as the half progressed, but the next scoring opportunity would come from the Camels. They pressured Northeastern down the right sideline, where senior defender Olivia Neal sent a cross to a waiting junior forward Kaleigh Backlund, who tapped the ball into the lower left corner to double Campbell’s lead, the score sitting at 3-1.
Following Backlund’s goal, both defenses elevated their play, as the opportunities became scarce for both sides to close out a possession-filled 45 minutes.
The second half began with the Camels showing a clear intention to park the bus and slow down the game speed, but Northeastern came out hungry. Three minutes into the second half, the Huskies won a corner. Senior captain Jessie Hunt stepped up to take it, but the Camels deflected it out of danger. Hunt collected the loose ball and passed it to Rosenblatt at the top of the box. She fired in a low shot, but it was once again deflected in front. It bounced in front of junior defender Katherine Marchessault, who stumbled over the ball but managed to get a shot off. Varada made the save, but it barely trickled loose in front of sophomore forward Lauren Ahles, who was finally able to finish the Huskies’ effort, bringing them within one.
The goal gave Northeastern the boost they needed, and their high-octane offense sparked quite a few more set-piece opportunities, but the Campbell defense remained stalwart. The physicality ramped up as the second half progressed, with the game coming to a stop 10 minutes into the half after Campbell freshman midfielder Addie Schwab attempted to tackle Akyirem, whose cleat clipped Schwab in the nose as she tried to get to the ball. Following the stoppage of play, both coaches, as well as Peabody were shown yellow cards.
Shortly after, another collision in the exact same spot between Campbell redshirt senior captain Amber Liston and Northeastern fifth-year midfielder Alexis Legowski. Both teams racked up two fouls between them in the entirety of the first half but recorded six in just the first 20 minutes of the second half.
. The increased physicality came to its climax when a tackle from Baiotto on junior forward Megan Putvinski resulted in a set piece just past midfield. Rosenblatt sent the ball into the box, and a shove from freshman defender Megan Bernetti on a Huskies attacker gave the Huskies a chance to equalize with a penalty kick. Hunt showed no remorse at the spot, slotting it perfectly into the top right corner of the goal over Verada to tie the score at 3-3 in the 74th minute.
Both teams were electric in the closing minutes of the match as they hunted down a winner. Campbell’s passing looked fantastic as a sequence from Neal to Liston to freshman forward Alyssa Tucker resulted in a cross into the box, where Norgren sent in a curling header. Stam made a sprawling reach to punch the ball over the crossbar to keep the Huskies in the game.
Northeastern came back with a counter of their own, stemming from a run by Akyirem down the right side of the field. She sent in a cross for junior forward Avery LeVangie, who missed a point-blank shot, skying the ball over the top of the goal.
With 6 minutes remaining in the game, a Campbell turnover in the midfield gave Northeastern numbers in the attacking third. Hunt chased after an aerial ball just at the edge of the box, but she was tripped midair by Peabody, who, having already received a yellow card, was issued a second and was sent off. Akyirem’s free-kick was just barely deflected wide, the Camels successfully stifling Northeastern’s forwards.
In the dwindling seconds of the game, Kaefer made a sloppy tackle on Tucker, giving the Camels a free-kick opportunity on the corner of the box with 16 seconds remaining in the match. Liston took the shot, but the Huskies were able to clear the ball, and the buzzer sounded to signal the end of the high-intensity clash between the budding rivals.
Northeastern will carry a five-game unbeaten streak into their next match. They will stay on the road in North Carolina, facing Elon on Sunday, Sept. 17 at 1 p.m.