HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Three different players scored and sophomore Paige Burnett made eight saves for the Northeastern women's soccer team, which closed out its 2012 regular season in wild fashion on Wednesday afternoon. NU topped the Hofstra Pride, 3-2, in a seesaw affair at Hofstra Soccer Stadium, securing a home playoff game this weekend.
Redshirt sophomore Devin Griffin (Whitman, Mass.) scored in the game's sixth minute, and senior captain Greta Samuelsdottir (Kopavogur, Iceland) and junior Hanna Terry (Park City, Utah) provided second half firepower to help NU pull off the victory. Freshman phenom Leah Galton scored both of Hofstra's goals. Northeastern's three goal output its highest total since matching the mark on Aug. 31 vs. New Hampshire.
With the win, Northeastern finishes the regular season at 9-9, including a 7-3 mark in CAA play. The Huskies are guaranteed to finish in the top-four of the conference for the first time since winning the league in 2008, and will host a CAA quarterfinal match on Sunday. NU's actual finish will be determined by the results of later conference action tonight.
Hofstra, previously 7-0-0 at home, suffers its first loss this season in Hempstead. The victory marks Tracey Leone's first over the Pride. After starting this season 1-6, Leone closed out 2012 by going 8-3 over NU's final 11 contests.
Samuelsdottir's goal was her team-high eighth of the season and the 26th of her career, moving her into sole possession of third in NU history. She has now scored eight goals in each of the last three seasons. Terry's tally was her second in her last three games, after going scoreless for the majority of her first two seasons at Northeastern.
Burnett (Placentia, Calif.) made eight saves in the contest, the most shots she has stopped in a contest since she stopped as many vs. Dayton on Sept. 9. Hofstra's Emily Morphitis stopped two shots for the Pride.
Northeastern got on the board early in the match. After the Huskies earned a free kick in the fifth minute, senior Sandra Magnusdottir (Reykjavik, Iceland) sent a rocket towards net that Morphitis was able to turn aside. In the ensuing scramble, Griffin found the ball on her foot and punched in her third goal of the year to put the Huskies ahead in the sixth minute.
Barely a minute later, Hofstra struck to equalize. Galton took a feed from Jill Mulholland and snuck her 10th goal of the season past Burnett, tying the contest at 1-1.
Galton had another chance in the 20th minute, but Burnett made the stop on her chance from six yards out. The freshman attempted again in the 24th minute, but once again Burnett was there to make the save.
The game went to the half still knotted at 1-1. Hofstra outshot Northeastern 11-3 in the opening frame, including a 6-2 edge in shots on goal.
Hofstra had the first chance of the second half, when Sam Scolarici nearly put them on top in the 61st minute, but Burnett swiped the ball off her foot deep in the box to end the threat. The Pride generated a corner kick in the 64th minute, but it led only to a Galton header that sailed wide of the cage. Scoalrici sent a header on net in the 67th minute, which Burnett made another diving save on it to keep the contest tied.
The Huskies broke the hour-long tie in the 68th minute. Sophomore Lahaina Zoller (Honolulu, Hawaii) chipped a pass to Samuelsdottir outside the box, who worked her way in deep. From eight yards out, the Icelandic International was able to finish and give NU the lead.
Samuelsdottir tried to tack on some insurance in the 73rd minute, but Morphitis stopped her strike to keep the lead at one.
Galton then struck again in the 76th minute to equalize for the Pride. Taking a through pass from Ruby Staplehurst, Galton raced in and snuck a shot to the left post past Burnett to tie the contest at 2-2.
This time, the tie was short-lived. Hofstra was called for a handball in the box in the 78th minute, leading to a Northeastern penalty kick. Terry stepped up and buried the free chance, her second goal of the season. It was also the second penalty kick the Huskies have converted in their last two games, after not seeing one over the season's first 16 contests.
Nicki Choffel threatened for the Pride in the 87th minute, but Burnett tipped the chance into the cross bar before clearing it. Staplehurst fired two more shots in the ensuing scramble, but NU defenders blocked both attempts. The chances would be the last for the Pride, as they were called for an offside in the 90th minute trying for a last minute threat.
Hofstra finished the game with a 19-13 edge in shots (10-5 in shots on goal), but Burnett's strong play held up for the Huskies. The Pride generated six corner kicks to NU's one, and out-fouled the Huskies 13-7.
Northeastern will next participate in the CAA Women's Soccer Championship, hosting a quarterfinal match at Parsons Field on Sunday. Game-time and opponent will be determined by the end of tonight's CAA action.