BROOKLINE — After dropping a disappointing match against the Campbell Camels, Northeastern came back home to Parsons Field for a matchup against a New Hampshire side that received ranking votes. After 90 minutes of lopsided action, the Huskies would find themselves on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline.
The match opened with UNH dominating the ball. Their back four was oozing composure, simply playing the ball horizontally across the pitch using one another. Northeastern implemented a high press, but it couldn’t break the cool heads in the Wildcats defense. This high press also opened up gaps down the pitch, which allowed New Hampshire to use their speed to progress the ball vertically. Northeastern center backs Jack Monte and Mathias Hille did an excellent job at escorting the Wildcats away from the middle of the pitch, but the pressure was too much for two alone to bear.
Graduate student Atila Ashrafi positioned himself at the top of the penalty area, where he received a perfectly weighted pass from fellow graduate student Bilal Kamal. Using his left foot, Ashrafi slid the ball towards the far corner of the net. His shot made it through traffic, and bounced off the inside of the back post and into the net. Seven minutes in, and the Wildcats led the Huskies 1-0.
Despite the early score, Northeastern seemed relatively unfazed. They actually picked up the intensity, and started to hold the Wildcats back in a more concrete fashion. For the remainder of the first half, Northeastern would keep UNH shotless. The Wildcats’ only shot of the first half was Ashrafi’s goal.
Early in the second half, it was clear that the Wildcats were hungry for a second goal. The pressure was mounting on the left side, as UNH looked to exploit that end of the pitch. A good cross came in from the far left, but it was deflected into the air by Monte. Northeastern was unable to clear the ball, and it fell at the feet of Kamal on the top of the penalty area. Kamal fired a shot through traffic into the bottom right corner of the goal, past the outstretched hands of graduate goalkeeper Gregor Shaw.
Fifteen minutes later, and it was still all UNH. They were still playing the ball around their back four, and patiently waiting for Northeastern to overcommit on the press. Kamal recognized an opening, and slid a through ball to leading goal scorer and graduate student Eli Goldman. Goldman received the ball at midfield, scorched down the sideline and into the penalty area. A left footed shot towards the back post was all it took to beat Shaw for a third time to give the Wildcats a commanding 3-0 lead.
The rest of the match played out in much the same way, Northeastern chasing while New Hampshire played around in their defensive end. It was clear the Wildcats’ appetite for scoring had been quenched, and they were no longer actively seeking a goal. Northeastern put up a valiant effort, but the reality was they produced no identifiable scoring chances. The offense simply was unable to get past the New Hampshire back line, and that was that. After 90 minutes, the Huskies had produced only one shot on goal, an uninspired long-range effort off the foot of junior Tobias Wangerud that was easily saved.
As the final whistle sounded, the Huskies suffered their second defeat in as many games.
Northeastern will look to stop the skid with a home game Saturday against Elon. WRBB will provide written coverage of the match.