When Northeastern traveled to New York to face Hofstra on Sunday afternoon, it was the first time they had taken on a team ranked higher than them in the CAA all season. In the end, the Pride proved their place in the rankings, handing the Huskies their first conference loss of the season in a narrow 1-0 defeat.
The ball bounced back and forth for the first couple minutes, both teams seeking a way through, and Hofstra was the first to forge a path toward goal. Two minutes in, the Pride took the ball in deep, dancing around the penalty box, testing the Huskies’ walls and showing their strength early.
Feeling the pressure, Northeastern was quick to make its own attempt at offense. Five minutes into the game, junior defender Katherine Marchessault sent a cross to the center of the goal box, sending graduate student goalkeeper Skylar Kuzmich racing to make the quick catch as Northeastern crashed the net.
Throughout the period, Kuzmich worked to prevent, not to save. She wasn’t afraid to come all the way to the edge of the penalty box to grab the ball, and was part of the Pride defensive efforts that kept Northeastern from notching a single shot on goal in the half.
Meanwhile, the Huskies’ defense worked just as hard, if not harder. Hofstra was quick to create rebound opportunities, and their one-touch shots spelled danger for Northeastern. Miscommunications between the Huskies contributed to the offensive successes of the Pride, and with nine corner kicks in the half, the Pride had a relentless presence in the Huskies’ zone.
In the 32nd minute, Northeastern was awarded a free kick and they finally picked up some momentum.
However, their efforts were cut short by Hofstra sophomore midfielder Wiktoria Fronc. Fronc carried the ball deep into Husky territory, leading the rest of the Pride down the field. With the Pride juggling the ball in the penalty box, Fronc and junior forward Mathilde Braithwaite weaved through a cluster of Northeastern defenders, and Fronc finally freed herself up with just Northeastern graduate student goalkeeper Holland Stam between her and the goal. Braithwaite sent the ball past the Husky defense, where Fronc took an easy shot to the bottom left corner of the net to put Hofstra on the board.
After a disappointing first half, Northeastern came back ready to fight. In the 57th minute of play, the Huskies got their best opportunity of the game when Northeastern senior midfielder Jessie Hunt took a free kick just outside of the arc. The attempt flew right into Hofstra’s wall, but the Huskies continued to attack the rebound.
A minute later, the Pride took its first of a series of yellow cards. Northeastern took the free kick, staying in control of the ball, which only added to Hofstra’s frustrations. Less than two minutes after the first, Hofstra saw the second yellow card, this time pulled for sophomore midfielder Dagny Run Petursdottir.
Finally settling into offensive control, Northeastern earned its first corner kick of the game with 30 minutes remaining.
As their attempts to reach the Hofstra net fell flat, batted away by the strong Pride defense, the home team regrouped and retaliated.
Northeastern earned a yellow card of its own, on junior forward Megan Putvinski, but a series of substitutions helped them avoid any further damage.
Seven minutes of nearly constant possession had given the Huskies back hope, and in the 81st minute, they tallied their sole shot on goal of the game.
Junior forward Megan Putvinski ran the ball down the pitch, support trailing her. But as she sped toward the goal, the Hofstra Pride closed in around her and she slid between two defenders to push the ball out of their reach and towards the awaiting Kuzmich.
With less than six minutes left, Petursdottir was shown a red card, taking her out of the game and leaving the Pride down a player. It was Hoftra’s first red card since 2016, but the team didn’t falter; they held onto possession, unwilling to give the Huskies a single opportunity.
Northeastern continued to fight until the final whistle. They earned a corner kick with three minutes to go, but couldn’t generate any quality scoring chances, and were left without a mark on the board as the final seconds ticked down.
The Huskies have a few days to recover from the 1-0 loss, returning to home field Thursday to face the College of Charleston in a mid-week matchup. Jack Sinclair will have the call on WRBB Sports+ when Northeastern seeks CAA redemption during its Mental Health Awareness Game Oct. 5 at 6 p.m.