Men’s Soccer: Huskies win five straight games

Men’s Soccer: Huskies win five straight games

By Matt Nielsen

On Oct. 7, the Northeastern men’s soccer team was 2-9-2 and winless in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). They were all but eliminated from conference tournament contention. Some players, like senior defenseman Matt Handy, said in order to extend their season the team would have to win the rest of the games.

“We’re behind the eightball at this point in the season,” Handy said after a tough loss to Old Dominion, the final game in a winless September. “It’s must-win from now on.”

And, as if somebody suddenly flipped their switch, the Huskies haven’t lost since. NU took two giant steps toward the playoffs this weekend, beating Delaware (5-8-2, 3-7-0) at Parsons Field Friday and winning on the road Sunday at Drexel (6-10-0, 2-8-0) to extend their winning streak to five games.

The Huskies and Delaware played a tough first half Friday, with neither team gaining the advantage during the first frame. Both teams had chances, however. Junior forward Greg Kilkenny had three opportunities in the first 15 minutes for the Huskies, but a combination of wet field conditions and solid defense kept him off the scoreboard. The Blue Hens got their best chance of the game with five minutes to go in the half, when a seemingly harmless deep kick bounced off of reigning CAA Rookie of the Week, keeper Mahmoud Talaat, and trickled behind him. However, Talaat was able to collect the ball before approaching Delaware players could capitalize on the rebound.

The teams traded scoring chances during the opening minutes of the second half, then Kilkenny streaked downfield with the ball and passed to junior forward Ahmed Talaat who beat the Delaware keeper for his fourth goal of the season. It was all the Huskies would need, as they went on to win 1-0.

Northeastern took the lead in the first half Sunday, when freshman midfielder Alexander Volk’s shot was deflected to freshman midfielder Matthew Laning, who beat the Drexel keeper in the 23rd minute for his third of the season.

The Huskies extended their lead to 2-0 at 52:11 in the second half, the same two players connected for the goal. The Drexel keeper stopped a shot from Laning, but much like the first play, Volk was there to score his fourth goal of the year on the rebound.

A few minutes later, Northeastern’s lengthy shutout streak came to an end. NU goalies hadn’t allowed a goal in 333:01 before the Dragons’ sophomore midfielder Brandon Fischer scored in the 57th minute. Most of that time was credited to Talaat, with redshirt freshman keeper Joe Monthey serving as a replacement in goal briefly last weekend after Talaat’s injury.

The Dragons outshot Northeastern 18-9, including 14-4 in the second half. However, the Huskies escaped with a 2-1 victory.

Northeastern moved into fifth place in the CAA with Sunday’s win, but nothing is guaranteed. The Huskies will have to fend off William ‘ Mary, UNC-Wilmington, and James Madison for either the fifth or sixth playoff spot.

“We hoped that some of the other games this weekend would have gone our way so we could play with a little less pressure this Friday,” said head coach Brian Ainscough.

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