Men’s Soccer: Soccer stumped by Rhode Island

Men’s Soccer: Soccer stumped by Rhode Island

By Matt Nielsen

The men’s soccer team was defeated 1-0 by Brown in Providence, R.I. Sunday. The deciding goal came in the 56th minute when Brown senior midfielder Ian Premo collected a rebound from freshman forward T.J. Thompson and slipped it past NU freshman keeper Mahmoud Talaat. Brown out-shot Northeastern 16-6, including a 10-3 advantage in shots on goal. For the second straight game, the Huskies played a closely contested match and were shut out by an opponent from Rhode Island.

“Every time we got the ball going forward we looked pretty good,” said junior forward Greg Kilkenny. “We just couldn’t get it up there that often.”

The first four games of the season have yielded mixed results for the Huskies, who are coming off two disappointing seasons in a row. The team has been aggressive on the offensive end and has played suffocating defense, limiting their opponents’ scoring opportunities on their way to a 2-2 start. At times they have looked efficient and much improved, and at others they have been left scratching their heads on offense.

Northeastern began the season on a high note, edging Quinnipiac at Parsons Field Aug. 25, 1-0, their sixth straight win over the Bobcats. The game was a close, physical contest, with both teams drawing yellow cards before halftime.

Northeastern appeared to control the tempo of the game, out-shooting Quinnipiac 7-1 in the first half. The Huskies’ aggressive play finally paid off when Kilkenny nailed a free kick off the crossbar and senior back Matt Handy swooped in for the rebound, putting it past the Quinnipiac goalkeeper for the go-ahead goal.

“Handy and I worked on that one,” Kilkenny said. “I don’t like my goals to be too straight.”

Northeastern stayed on the attack, earning several more scoring chances before the game ended. They seemed to grasp that the only way to shrug off their offensive struggles of the last two seasons was to keep the pressure on.

“This is my fifth year here,” Handy said, “and this is only my second goal.”

The Huskies non-conference schedule continued at Maine on Aug. 29, a 2-1 Northeastern win. The Huskies put more pressure on the opposing defense, out-shooting the Black Bears 14-7. The scoring started when freshman midfielder Alexander Volk shot a Kilkenny rebound past the Maine keeper in the 28th minute. It was Kilkenny’s second assist in two games. Maine fought back and scored the game-tying goal before the half. The teams traded scoring chances throughout the second half, but it remained tied until the 86th minute, when junior forward Ahmed Talaat scored up close on an assist by freshman midfielder Lars Okland, and the Huskies were able to hold on in the remaining moments for the win. The Huskies’ 2-0 start was their best since 2001.

Northeastern faced Providence College in the third game of the season. The Huskies hadn’t played the Friars in 13 years, despite their relative proximity. However, second-year Huskies coach Brian Ainscough has plenty of experience with Providence. He coached the Friars during from 1995-99.

“It adds a little spice to the game since there are some friends over there,” Ainscough said.

Northeastern continued its trend of pressuring opposing defenses early, giving Kilkenny multiple scoring chances in the first half, all of which proved fruitless. Providence’s defense bent, but never broke.

“When you get four or five scoring chances, you have to put one in,” Ainscough said. “Otherwise, they can just get one goal and then sit on it, and that’s what they did.”

The Friars regrouped and in the 30th minute, junior midfielder Matt O’Donnell scored on a cross from freshman defender Issam Sawtarie for what turned out to be the go-ahead tally. In the second half, Northeastern had trouble setting up its offense, often playing one-on-three in Friar territory. Neither team could find the net during the second half, and the game ended 1-0. Still, the Huskies played aggressively, topping the Friars in shots, 13-10.

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