Northeastern shocks men’s soccer and ends eight-game unbeaten streak
The Hofstra men’s soccer team traveled to Brookline, Massachusetts, on Wednesday evening, Oct. 10, to face off against Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) opponent Northeastern University. The Huskies rolled past the Pride in a 3-0 victory, improving Northeastern’s record to (4-5-1, 2-1-1 CAA) and dropping Hofstra to (6-4-3, 3-1-1 CAA).
The biggest storyline going into the meeting was the historic hot streak Hofstra’s team was in the midst of. Hofstra was unbeaten in eight straight matchups dating back to non-conference play in early September. The Pride had the longest active win streak in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Not only had the Pride not lost a game, but their defense had not allowed a goal during the streak either.
With expectations high, the Hofstra backline failed to deliver in the 22nd minute when a tackle in the box led to a converted penalty kick for defenseman Moustapha Samb and an early 1-0 lead for Northeastern.
The Pride found themselves trailing for the first time in 785 minutes of game action, but still fought back and produced many good chances throughout the rest of the match. The difference between the two squads was Northeastern’s ability to capitalize on their chances and Hofstra’s inability to do so.
The Pride finished with 18 shots (10 on goal) while the Huskies only had six shots (five on goal). Despite the discrepancy in the box score, Hofstra could not find the back of the net. Many of Hofstra’s chances were low-percentage shots coming from far outside the box.
One of the best chances for the Pride came in the 35th minute when star forward Luke Brown found himself in a one-on-one battle against the Northeastern keeper, Chandler Cree. Brown lofted a chip shot over the goalie’s head and the crossbar.
Hofstra found themselves with another golden opportunity in the closing seconds of the first half. On a long throw-in into the penalty box, the ball popped out to midfielder Oscar Ramsay, who floated it towards the top-right corner of the net. Defender Martin Nygaard, who stands at 6’4”, headed the ball away to keep Hofstra off the board.
Northeastern’s second goal came off a free kick swung into the box by Nygaard in the 55th minute. The ball was headed down and low by defender Jack Monte so that Hofstra goalie Alex Ashton had no chance.
The Northeastern Huskies didn’t stop there. The goal of the game came from fifth-year senior Harry Swartz in the 60th minute, on a smasher of a shot from an impossible angle on the right side. The goal was Swartz’s first of the season.
Tactically, Northeastern’s decision to play a 5-4-1 formation in the match paid off. The move limited time of possession for the Huskies, but allowed for five defenders behind the ball at all times to stifle the Hofstra attack.
The Pride’s final chance came late in the game when sophomore midfielder Felix Smith Halle attempted a bicycle kick from the top of the box that was saved by Cree.
Up next, the Pride looks to rebound in their penultimate regular-season conference game at Elon University on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m.
Picture courtesy of Cam Keough/The Hofstra Chronicle