Men By By Patrick McHugh, News Staff

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avhx اسهم اعمار In sports, declaring a winner often comes down to the narrowest of margins. No one knows that better than the men’s soccer team. source site One goal was all that separated the 2008 team from a Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) championship. The team saw its season end in a 1-0 loss to George Mason in the conference championship game Nov. 16. The squad nearly matched the exploits of the women’s soccer team, which won the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) championship and advanced to the NCAA tournament. Instead of putting both NU teams into the NCAA tournament, the men had to settle as CAA runner-ups. Senior defender Brendan Ennis said coming so close to a championship has made the team anxious for the 2009 season. source site ‘Being there last year and seeing what it took, I think that’s really going to help us this year,’ Ennis said. ‘We know what we have to do and we know that we can do it because we got there and came one goal away. It’s a long season and you have to fight to the very end. I think we grew a lot in that sense.’ أربح المال من الإعلان Ennis, a co-captain, was a major reason the team was in the CAA title game. Head coach Brian Ainscough said Ennis was the best defender on the team last year, high praise considering the team surrendered only 17 goals in 21 games and shut out its opponents on 10 occasions. Senior goalkeeper Scott Partridge set program record for shutouts with 10, goals-against average with 0.73, and minutes in a season with 2100. If Northeastern can keep healthy, the team could again be destined for great things considering the core that returns. Partridge will be back in net for his senior season and Ennis will team with co-captain Sanford, whom he said is ‘one of the best defenders in the league when healthy’, and junior Petur Vidarsson, who started 19 games last year, to anchor the defense. Senior co-captain Lars Okland, who was named to the All-CAA first team and CAA All-Tournament team, will take care of the midfield. Sophomore forward Mike Kennedy, who was an All-CAA third team and CAA All-Rookie selection, led the team with 13 points last season and will look to make a big impact again this year Ainscough said. In addition, Ainscough said he hopes his new recruits will compete for playing time and push returning starters to be better. The stingy defense allowed the Huskies to finish with a record of 7-5-9, 5-2-4 in conference. In addition the team enjoyed its longest winning streak in school history with a run of nine games over a month-long period. They entered the CAA Tournament as the fifth seed and pulled upsets over fourth-seeded Old Dominion Nov. 11 and top-seeded UNC Wilmington Nov. 14. Both games were on the opponent’s home field and ended in penalty kicks because of scoreless ties after two overtimes. Up until George Mason’s game-winning goal in the final contest, NU went 448 minutes and 23 seconds without giving up a goal. حساب فوركس تجريبي Ennis likens the team’s game approach to defensive success. source site ‘A lot of that just comes from the mentality,’ Ennis said. ‘As a defender, there’s a certain amount of pride that goes into putting a goose egg on the scoreboard. The coaching staff really motivates us as defenders to keep those clean slates.’ As strong as the defense was last season, the offense was no juggernaut. The Huskies managed just 20 goals all season and were shut out five times. Only three players tallied more than one goal on the season. The team found the back of the net in big moments, however, as 11 goals were scored after the 70-minute mark, five of those being of the game-winning or game-tying variety.
Part of the reason the team struggled on offense was the number of games missed by starters. Ainscough said departed senior forward Lewis Elrich, who left the team after 12 games for an undiscxlosed personal reason. At the time of his withdrawal from the team, Elrich led the CAA in shots and was leading the team with five goals.
Ainscough also acknowledged injuries, such as the one to senior midfielder Matthew Laning who battled a back ailment for much of the early part of the year, and the absence of junior defender Matt Sanford, whose season ended eight games short with an injury in an Oct. 18 game against George Mason.
Despite the unpredictability of injuries and the way they can impact a team, Ainscough said depth on this year’s squad can offset any lost time.
‘You can’t worry about injuries when you go into the season,’ Ainscough said. ‘The depth of our team is a lot stronger this year than it was last year. I think that’s going to help us if we do have injuries or unforeseen illness.’
Starting the season as well as they did last year will help NU continue top form. The Huskies opened the 2008 campaign at 23rd-ranked Louisville and managed to secure a tie against a future NCAA tournament team. Although the Huskies entered conference play just 2-2-3 last season, Ainscough said the team’s performance in the first few weeks showed they were prepared to have a strong season.
Ainscough said he likes his team’s chances and that getting better will be the objective for 2009.
‘You have to think you always want to improve on your last year, and the good news is there is room to improve,’ Ainscough said. ‘I don’t think my team or my staff is going to be happy with anything but a trip to the NCAAs. The kids have set the bar high the last few years and I think they’re going to set it high again this season.’