By Matt Noonan
BROOKLINE, MA – Northeastern University needed just one goal to secure a spot in the second round of the NCAA tournament, as junior Dante Marini headed a pass from senior Don Anding in the 14th minute into the Boston College net, which provided the Huskies with a 1-0 victory.
“It was a massive win for us,” exclaimed Northeastern head coach Brian Ainscough, who claimed Thursday’s contest was his first NCAA tournament match.
“[The win] was pretty gratifying for my players, staff and probably everybody at Northeastern.”
During the opening minutes, Northeastern attempted to register their first strike with shots outside the box. Yet, during the 14th minute, junior Nikko Lara located Anding in the Boston College box on a throw in, who redirected the ball to Marini, who then headed it past the senior goaltender Justin Luthy (six saves)on the left post for the goal.
“When Nikko went out there, I said I’m going to make my run to the back post, and obviously no one really marks me because I’m not a big threat in the box, and Don got the flick on it and I was just standing there with no one on me and did everything I could to not miss,” Marini said of his team’s only goal.
“That [goal was] actually my header goal since I was [playing youth soccer, but] it was a good time to get one, though.”
Marini had a chance to double his team’s advantage roughly 13 minutes later, but an offside call negated the strike and kept Boston College in contention to tie the game prior to halftime.
“Someone did mark me [on the second potential goal], but he pushed off and I was able to sneak back around and thought I had two [goals],” said Marini.
Boston College’s effort to tie the game increased in the second half, but missed opportunities on free kicks and blocked shots kept Northeastern in the lead.
“We just tried to attack while they were trying to defend because they had a goal, which is human nature kind of routine, so we had just more [of a] psychological edge to go after compared to today,” Boston College head coach Ed Kelly exclaimed.
“They were trying to play on the break, and knowing they were under pressure, so it was good. Unfortunate for us, we came up [on the] short end.”
Eagles senior Stefan Carter had two chances to even the score during the final 10 minutes, but both of his shots, including one that was directed toward the left post were denied by Northeastern senior goaltender Oliver Blum (nine saves).
“Everyone’s so close [on this team] and you can look at the guy next to you and know everyone’s going to put what they have in the game,” stated Marini. “That’s how we’re winning these grind-it-out results this year.”
Despite the loss, Boston College outshot Northeastern, 17-10. The Eagles also committed 12 fouls compared the Huskies 11.
Northeastern, which hasn’t been to the second round since 2002, will continue their quest on Sunday when they travel to Storrs, Connecticut to face UConn at 1:00 p.m.