Seahawks get No. 2 CAA seed with senior night win over Northeastern

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Seahawks get No. 2 CAA seed with senior night win over Northeastern

Lanre Badmus, Staff Writer

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UNC Wilmington men’s soccer team needed a boost of confidence heading into the Colonial Athletic Association tournament. It got that with a 1-0 victory over Northeastern to close out the regular season on senior night at UNCW Soccer Stadium.

The Seahawks (10-6, 5-3 CAA) snapped a four-game losing streak with a win that came courtesy of midfielder Phillip Goodrum. The sophomore took control of a loose ball deflected off sophomore forward Spencer Saunders and fired a low shot past Huskies keeper Jonathan Thuresson into the bottom left-hand corner in the 73rd minute.

The goal settled a game that the Seahawks had controlled for long periods. UNCW led 14-2 in shots and 9-1 on corner kicks. Redshirt junior keeper Ryan Cretens earned his sixth shutout of the season.

The result means UNCW will finish second in the CAA regular season standings and receive a bye into the CAA semifinals in Harrisonburg, VA next month. Northeastern (3-12-3, 1-6-1 CAA) finish tied for the bottom of the conference with Drexel and thus have failed to qualify for the CAA tournament.

Head coach Aidan Heaney, who won his 150th game in charge of UNCW, said the team was relieved to finally return to winning ways after a trying last two weeks of the season and will go into the tournament with a new lease of confidence.

“Coming home, we needed to get a little bit of an impetus heading into the playoffs,” said Heaney. “I’m relieved for a lot of our guys and I think it will give us more belief because we’ve been a little down in the dumps. This win will certainly give us a spark heading into the playoffs.”

Senior midfielder and team co-captain Kalvin Kromer was playing in his final home game tonight, and he almost scored what would’ve been UNCW’s second goal when his header bounced off the crossbar and back out five minutes before the end. He also shared Heaney’s relief at the result.

“It was a strange feeling because there’s a lot of emotions going into the game, and you try to just focus,” Kromer said of his senior night. “We came out and played great the whole game, and thankfully Phil tucked one away and we got the win so it turned out to be a great Senior Night.”

Goodrum, who scored his team-leading seventh goal of the season with the game-winner, spoke of the team’s ability to stay compact and avoid frustration during a first half where they could not find a breakthrough.

“[Northeastern] were better than we thought they’d be defensively, and they resisted our attack for a while in the first half,” Goodrum said. “We had a good amount of shots, a decent amount of corners and just didn’t put them away, but at halftime, we said to each other to take any chance we get and tuck it away, so that’s what we did.”

Up next for the No. 2-seeded Seahawks will be the CAA semifinal, where will face the winner of the quarterfinal between the College of Charleston and Elon.

Staff Writer Lanre Badmus can be found on Twitter @LonnyBadmon. Any tips or suggestions should be forwarded via email to uncwseahawksports@gmail.com. For video updates from The Seahawk, subscribe to our YouTube channel.