UNCW’s season ends with 1-0 loss to Northeastern

Inexperience defined this year, but youth defines the future.


Brandon Sans/The Seahawk

Brandon Sans

Brandon Sans, Assistant Sports Editor

UNC Wilmington’s women’s soccer season has come to an end. And even though it only had two conference wins heading into its final game, UNCW still found itself with the opportunity to win its way into the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.

Needing only a win after receiving help in the standings as other CAA games went final, UNCW (6-11-2, 2-6-1 CAA) could not make good of it 16 shot attempts in its 1-0 loss to Northeastern on Sunday.

It was a fitting ending to a season that always felt like the Seahawks took a step forward only to take two more steps backward. Whether it was hitting everything but the back of the net against Northeastern or allowing the tying goal in the final minute against Old Dominion, they never could find a rhythm.

“We played some really good games, we played some really good stuff in those games,” said coach Paul Cairney. “Soccer is a game of scoring goals. It’s a game of finishing the chances you create, so hopefully, our young team will learn from this.”

For a team with fifteen freshmen on the roster, it faced a tough early schedule with three top-13 teams (Virginia, Duke, and North Carolina) in its first six games. It was an order too tall for such a young team.

And yet, the Seahawks confidence never wavered which showed throughout the trying season.

Freshman midfielder Molly McGarry made a name for herself in the conference by winning CAA Rookie-of-the-Week in consecutive weeks this season. She finished with five goals, one assist, and 11 points on the year which likely will result in more conference honors in the coming weeks.

“It’s been an honor. I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without the support of this team,” said McGarry. “Without them, I don’t think I could’ve gotten better this year.

McGarry and the young Seahawks who will return did receive ample playing time this year. UNCW started seven freshmen in various games this year but will benefit long-term from going through growing pains this year.

“The more we play together, the better chemistry we’ll have,” said McGarry. “We are young and inexperienced, but I think we did well and build the foundation.

Junior Caitie Broderick along with freshman Cassidy Boyes and Sydney Schneider each entered this season vying for the starting job at goalkeeper. Though each played well in a 2-0 preseason matchup against Western Carolina, Schneider won the job and never looked back.

Schneider became the second goalkeeper in program history to play every second of a season. After not knowing if or how much she would play entering the year, Schneider enters the offseason comfortable in her role with a desire to improve.

“I knew it was going to be competitive, we push each other,” said Schneider. “I just need to keep working, we need to keep working.”

Seahawk seniors Savannah Andrews, Meg Salvadore, and Serenity Waters played the roles of veteran mentors in their final years. Andrews and Waters each played over 4,400 minutes in their collegiate careers while Salvadore started nine games as a senior.

It was Waters who lead the attack against Northeastern, trying to will her team into the CAA tournament. From corner kicks to shots, she could not add to her 20 career goals.

“It kind of summarized our whole season. We worked hard, we outshot everyone. Unfortunately, it didn’t go our way,” said Waters. “Everything happens for a reason and I’m proud of everyone’s effort.”

The program will be better in the years to come for going through the trials of this season. The lone senior on next year’s projected roster is Broderick. The Seahawks will still be young but will have proven players like McGarry and Schnieder around for the next three years.

Moving forward it will, it is essential for the Seahawks to win on the road. They went 5-4-1 at home this year, but only 1-7-1 away from UNCW Soccer Stadium. Only time will tell how soon the Seahawks will improve on this year, but Cairney is excited about the future.

“Think about this: I’ve got this same group for the next three years,” said Cairney. “Fall to Spring, I’m excited about the future.”

Assitant Sports Editor Brandon Sans can be found on Twitter @bsans10. Any tips or suggestions should be forwarded via email to [email protected] For video updates from The Seahawk, subscribe to our YouTube channel.