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Vowinkel's winning goal sends Hofstra to CAA semifinals

Vowinkel's winning goal sends Hofstra to CAA semifinals

The Hofstra men’s soccer team defeated sixth seed Northeastern University in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Quarterfinals on Saturday, Nov. 3, by a score of 1-0. Matthew Vowinkel scored the only goal of the game in the second half and Alex Ashton made a last minute save to secure the win. 

The third seed Pride now advance to the semifinals where they will take on UNC-Wilmington (UNCW).

Hofstra dominated Northeastern for the majority of the first half. They controlled the ball well in the Huskies’ zone and put up eight shots – four of them on goal. Northeastern, on the other hand, failed to get a shot off against the Pride’s tough defense.

Hofstra’s roaring start saw their best scoring chance when defenseman Sean Nealis headed a shot toward the net that was saved by goalkeeper Chandler Cree. Nealis had another shot denied by Cree shortly after.

Forward Luke Brown led the Pride with three shots in the first half, followed by Nealis’ two. The Huskies could not control the ball on offense and allowed several Hofstra scoring chances on defense. Keeping Northeastern intact was Cree who was strong in net for the Huskies, making four saves in the first half.

The Huskies came out of the break inspired, putting much more pressure on Hofstra’s defense. They put up nine shots, with three on goal. Northeastern’s offense outplayed Hofstra’s for most of the period, but it was the Pride who were able to break the scoreless tie in the 52nd minute. Vowinkel headed a Storm Strongin corner kick past a diving Cree for his seventh goal of the season.

Brown almost extended the lead when his hard shot was stopped by Cree, who dove to his left to make the save. Down just one, Northeastern nearly tied the game with two minutes remaining when Moustapha Samb headed the ball on goal, but Ashton made a brilliant save to keep the Pride in front. Alec Supinski took a shot off the rebound, but it was blocked by multiple Hofstra defenders in front of the net.

Dan Munch and Supinksi both led the Huskies with three shots in the half. 

The game was filled with many scoring chances for both teams, but it was a hard-fought defensive battle. Both keepers made several phenomenal saves in the game. After missing a few of the previous games due to injury, Ashton returned to the net for the Pride and managed to post the shutout.  

“Those last two saves showed why we brought him back in once he got back from injury. Those were two excellent saves in the last couple of minutes,” said head coach Richard Nuttall.

When the final buzzer sounded, the Pride had done just enough to inch past the Huskies and move one step closer to the CAA Championship match.

“[It was a] hard-fought win,” Nuttall said. “I thought we deserved it based on the whole balance of the game. The first half I thought we were excellent. The second half, once we scored, I didn’t like how we dropped and let Northeastern back in it.”

While there was a drop off from the first half to the second half, a win is a win as Hofstra secured its spot in the semifinals against UNCW on Friday, Nov. 9. 

Photo courtesy of Hofstra Athletics

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