Demolition by Delaware spoils NU senior day

Demolition by Delaware spoils NU senior day
Fourth-year Mia Martin takes the field in Dedham one last time, flanked by her parents / Photo by Patrick Leung

By Jenna Ciccotelli, deputy sports editor

With a losing-streak-snapping 3-0 win at home against Drexel University Friday, the Northeastern field hockey squad clinched their fourth-place holding in the Colonial Athletic Association standings, earning a bid to the conference tournament, where they will face an all-too-familiar opponent.

Northeastern’s win Friday was largely due to spectacular play in the backfield by first-year Aniek van de Graaf, first-year graduate Ffion Thompson and third-year Sam Bodo. First-year goalkeeper Julia Gluyas solidified the Huskies’ defensive efforts, making three saves to earn the first shutout of her collegiate career.

Thompson scored her third goal of the season to put the Huskies on the board first. The point, in similar fashion to the United Kingdom native’s first two, came on a penalty stroke that the Huskies earned when van de Graaf’s scoring attempt was blocked by a Dragon foot.

The Huskies added two more goals in the second half to sweep Drexel. Just under two minutes into the second half of play, fourth-year Kristin Abreu scooped up a pass from fifth-year Jamie Bartucca inside the circle and sent the ball into the net for her fourth goal of the season.

First-year Camille O’Conor added a third point to the Huskies’ lead in the 50th minute as she scored during the team’s sixth penalty corner of the game. Martin inserted to van de Graaf, who passed to an anxiously waiting O’Conor behind Drexel goalkeeper Erin Gilchrist.

The hard-earned victory rewarded the Huskies for their fight against the nationally-ranked teams who had stolen the previous five games straight, outscoring the Red and Black 19-5. But the battle was far from over.

Northeastern took to their home turf Sunday to face the defending national champions, the seventh-ranked, CAA-leading University of Delaware Blue Hens, ahead of an inevitable meeting against the team in the first round of CAA Championship play Nov. 3.

“We’ve had so many tough games this year; I don’t think we had to change the focus of the team,” said head coach Cheryl Murtagh. “They know what they’re dealing with, they know how to prepare for a tough game. The biggest thing is we know we can’t make mistakes against a team like that. We’re going to pay for it.”

The Huskies had a number of offensive opportunities on the day with six shots on goal, but just one was successful, coming off the stick of third-year forward Laura MacLachlan in the 55th minute of play. MacLachlan stole the ball from an oncoming Blue Hen and carried it toward the goal and past goalkeeper Emmeline Oltmans.

Oltmans had five saves, her season-high. The Netherlands native, who is in her fourth and final season with the Blue Hens, was also forced to make five saves in earlier season contests against the national ranking leaders, the University of Connecticut.

The 14-3 Blue Hens were relentless, scoring two goals in the first half of play and three in the second to defeat the Huskies 5-1. Delaware’s offense was powered by efforts from third-year forward Greta Nauck and first-year midfielder Femke Strien, who each scored two goals.

Gluyas starred in net for the Huskies, making a career-high 11 saves on the day.

Ahead of the game, families and friends were on hand to celebrate the team’s three graduating seniors — forwards Jamie Bartucca, Kristin Abreu and Mia Martin — as well as Murtagh, who would compete on Dedham Field for the final time ahead of her end-of-season retirement.

“I try not to think about it too much,” Murtagh admitted of her impending retirement. “I’m just excited for this team to be in the CAA tournament, so that’s pretty much what I’m thinking about.”

Leave a Reply