Men’s Soccer: Tough start for the Huskies

By Matt Nielsen

The Northeastern men’s soccer team (2-5-1) lost twice last week to remain winless in September. Northeastern’s offensive problems manifested themselves once again Friday night in a 2-0 loss to New Hampshire (4-2-2). The Huskies followed that up with a tightly contested 3-2 defeat at the hands of Holy Cross (4-3-0) Tuesday night.

UNH got the scoring started early Friday night when sophomore midfielder Scott Rowling received a pass from senior forward Ross Fishbain and put it past Northeastern’s freshman goalkeeper Mahmoud Talaat in the 15th minute. It was all the Wildcats would need, but they kept the pressure on, putting three more shots on goal before halftime. The Huskies never got into an offensive rhythm, putting only two shots on goal all night.

“We just couldn’t put anything together,” said freshman defender Brendan Ennis. “The biggest thing we need to improve on is finishing our plays. We get some good looks, but can’t put it in the net.”

Ennis and fellow freshman Lars Okland were the only two Huskies to put a shot on goal.

“[The freshman] are playing well right now. We just need to start gelling,” Ennis said.

The second half began with a change in the Husky net as redshirt freshman Joe Monthey, a transfer from American University, took Talaat’s place. Monthey stopped a shot early in the half, keeping the Huskies in the game. However, UNH put the contest to bed in the 89th minute when freshman forward Chris Banks scored with an assist from senior midfielder Geoff Sanford. The Wildcats improved to 17-6-1 all time against Northeastern, including a 1-0 win last season over the Huskies.

“We were battling out there, we just couldn’t connect,” Ennis said. “Unfortunately, we broke down a couple of times defensively, as well.”

The Huskies’ loss on Friday night continued a stretch of four straight games in which they had been out-shot by their opponents. Northeastern hoped to shake off their offensive struggles against a team they have dominated in past years. The Huskies came into Tuesday night’s game with a 14-4-1 all-time advantage against in-state rival Holy Cross. The Huskies hoped it would be more of the same. However, just two minutes into the contest, Holy Cross senior forward Josh Trott scored on a breakaway to put the Crusaders up 1-0. Northeastern answered with a goal of their own ten minutes later on a direct kick by junior forward Greg Kilkenny, tying the score at 1-1. Kilkenny’s goal was only the Huskies’ second this month.

The match had a different flavor than most of Northeastern?s games so far this season and the goals continued to come. At 26:30, Trott scored again, this time on a penalty kick, poking one past Monthey to put the Crusaders up 2-1. It was Trott’s seventh goal of the season. Again the Huskies answered, tying the game on a header by sophomore midfielder Nicholas Patrikis. He was assisted on his first goal of the season by freshman defenseman/midfielder Matthew Laning.

Both teams came out aggressively in the second half, hoping to capitalize on the wet conditions, which altered the pace of the game. However, nobody was able to find the net for the next half hour. Just when it appeared the game might end in a tie, Crusader sophomore forward Pelipe Castrillon scored for the fifth time this season. His breakaway goal put Holy Cross up for good.

“We just ran out of time,” Kilkenny said. “We got back into it twice. We showed a lot of character, and I think that’s something to take away from it.”

The Huskies are 0-5-1 in September after beginning the season 2-0. They begin their Colonial Athletic Association schedule with a visit to George Mason, Friday at 7 p.m.

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