Fresh off of a program record 10-0 win, Northeastern shipped down to Newark to face off against Delaware in yet another CAA matchup.
The Huskies entered the match loss-less in conference play, while the Blue Hens still sought their first conference win of the year. As the favorites, it was up to Northeastern to control the pace of play.
They opened up the game doing exactly that. Tight possession play down the wings, anchored by graduate student fullback Addison Davis and junior fullback Natalie Olsen, led to the Huskies moving deep into attacking territory. The Huskies were peppering the opposing net, slotting three shots towards goal in the opening 20 minutes.
The focal point of Northeastern’s attack was sophomore forward Vivian Aykirem. As any well-versed Husky fan already knows, there are few players in the NCAA that possess the dynamic talents displayed by her on the pitch. Her speed was causing massive issues for the Blue Hens, whether it be on or off the ball. Her ability to dribble behind defenders led to space being made elsewhere on the pitch for her teammates to exploit. In the 23rd minute, Aykirem’s speed off the ball saw her sprint into open space in the penalty area, and head home the cross sent in by junior winger Megan Putvinski for the goal.
After the score though, the momentum seemed to shift. Delaware stopped spinning their tires in the mud and were able to mount some offensive pressure of their own. The defense held strong, with Olsen and Davis holding down the flanks. Senior Faith Rosenblatt and junior Katherine Marchessault held down the middle of the defensive end and were stellar in their efforts. As the half wound down, however, cracks began to show. The Blue Hens ended the half with back-to-back corner kicks, showing their commitment to the attack as they continued to search for their first conference win.
Despite their efforts at the end of the opening frame, the Blue Hens were on their back feet again to start the second. Aykirem was a thorn in the side of the Delaware defense, penetrating behind the defense and pounding the goal with several shots. By the final whistle, she would accumulate seven shots, three of them on target, each of which would lead both sides.
The Huskies were able to parry the repeated attacking efforts from the Blue Hens, the back four doing their jobs well to relieve any pressure. For 89 minutes, the defense was nearly perfect, limiting the Blue Hens to only two shots in the entire lead up. However, a botched clearance by Northeastern saw the ball fall at the feet of junior midfielder Sydni Wright. Wright’s first touch took her just in front of the penalty spot inside the Northeastern box, and her shot sent Husky goalkeeper graduate student Holland Stam in the wrong direction, giving Delaware the equalizer with nine seconds left on the board.
The Huskies were out of time, and the points were shared between the two sides. It was a result neither side wanted, but one they had to accept.
For Northeastern, it was a lesson in playing the full 90 minutes. For one second, they took their mind off the game and failed to clear the ball. This resulted in the lone scoring chance Delaware had, and they took full advantage. Eighty-nine minutes of stellar play was erased with nine seconds on the clock.
Northeastern will travel to Hempstead, New York for a match against the Hofstra Pride Oct. 1, before returning to Parson’s Field for their Mental Health Awareness Game Oct. 5. Jack Sinclair will call the latter match live on WRBB Sports+.