Men’s Soccer: Huskies finish September winless

Men’s Soccer: Huskies finish September winless

By Matt Nielsen

The Northeastern men’s soccer team (2-8-2, 0-3-1) returned home this weekend after seven straight games away from Parsons Field. After starting 0-2 in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), the Huskies rose to the challenge and were competitive in two key conference games.

On Friday night, the Huskies hosted No. 7 Old Dominion (8-1-0, 3-0-0), and let the rest of the CAA know they were not to be taken for granted. The Huskies fought hard throughout the first half, suffering from momentary defensive lapses, allowing ODU senior forward Zach Kinney to score in the fourth minute off assists by senior forward Edson Elcock and senior midfielder Gregg Mottinger.

“It seems like it’s been a habit for us in the last few games,” said senior midfielder Daryl Brack, “we give up a goal right away and for the rest of the game we’re battling uphill.”

At 17:17, Elcock scored on a header for the Monarchs with an assist by senior midfielder Jared Kent. That was the end of ODU’s scoring.

The Huskies came out firing in the second half, outshooting ODU 6-5 in the second frame. The ball rarely skipped to NU’s side of the field, as the Huskies’ offense kept the pressure on ODU freshman goalkeeper Evan Newton. The freshman stopped shots from junior forwards Ahmed Talaat and Greg Kilkenny in the 65th minute, but the Huskies kept up the pressure.

When it seemed the game had at last escaped them, the Huskies closed the gap. After a corner kick was stopped, the ball changed hands multiple times in front of the net before senior defenseman Matt Handy pushed a quick pass to freshman midfielder and CAA Rookie of the Week, Alexander Volk, who shot into the upper-right corner of the net in the 86th minute. With only a few minutes remaining, the Huskies fought hard to take the game into overtime. As time ran out, junior defenseman Padraig Tangney flew down the left side of the field and launched the ball off the post for NU’s final comeback try. The Monarchs let out a collective sigh of relief, realizing they escaped.

“Old Dominion is a very good team,” coach Brian Ainscough said. “But if we had played in the first half the way we played in the second half, we would have won the game. We need to learn to play for 90 minutes.”

Sunday brought rainy weather and the Tribe of William ‘ Mary (5-6-1, 1-2-1) to Parsons Field for the Huskies’ second conference game of the weekend. Handy said the team needed to get a decision Sunday to stay in the race.

“At this point in the season, we realize that we’re behind the eight ball,” he said.

The Huskies took their inspired play from Friday night and sustained it, scoring early against William ‘ Mary. As the rain fell, Volk was able to find Kilkenny, who was streaking down the middle of the field. Kilkenny beat the only man in his path. When junior goalkeeper Brennan Wergley came out to challenge the shot, Kilkenny gently poked it past him and into the net for Northeastern’s first lead in several games.

NU continued to look sharp, in the 21st minute when the Tribe’s leading scorer, sophomore forward Andrew Hoxie, took a shot from 20 yards out. The Husky keeper, freshman Mahmoud Talaat, easily stopped the shot, but had trouble controlling the rebound that sophomore midfielder Brock Jones deposited into the net to knot the score at one.

For the rest of regulation, each team fought to set up a perfect shot, having to settle for a few weak ones instead. Then the two squads battled for two overtime periods in the pouring rain, with William ‘ Mary narrowly missing a shot as time ran out.

After earning only one point in the standings in September (a 1-1 tie against Rhode Island), the Huskies opened October with a hard-fought tie, perhaps signaling a change in fortune.

“We haven’t had a lot of luck this season,” Ainscough said. “But we got lucky on that last shot of the game, so maybe our luck is changing.”

The Huskies are back on the road next weekend, beginning with a contest at UNC Wilmington at 7 p.m. Friday.

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