Soccer Teams Have Solid Showing at NXT LVL Showcase

Sam Knauf ’24 in action at home last season. Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge.

The Northwood program traveled to Albany in September, NY to compete in the NXT LVL Showcase which saw an attendance of over 80 college coaches. The U19 squad lost to Combine Academy and defeated Northfield Mt. Herman. The U17 side topped Hoosac School and drew with Millbrook School.

Northwood U19s 0-1 Combine Academy.

Northwood U19’s weekend opener was a rough one. The first 30 minutes of the match were back and forth with possession on both sides, but no concrete scoring chances. This changed with about 15 minutes left in the half when Combine scored off a failed defensive clearance. For the remainder of the game, Combine sat in a 5-3-2 low-block and conceded 80% possession, but it proved to be what was needed as the game finished 1-0. Northwood kept trying to force the ball down the middle, and there wasn’t enough activity in the wide spaces. Neither team had good scoring chances in the second half, and the game ended in a tight defeat.

Northwood U19s 3-0 Northfield Mount Herman

It was a great game for the U19s, coming after a disappointing loss. Both teams were energetic from the whistle, and it was a cagey first 20 minutes in a classic New England prep school derby. The first goal came from a counterattack. The ball found Sam Knauf’s ’24 foot just inside the area and as the goalkeeper rushed from his line, the ball rocketed perfectly into the top right triangle of the net. There were more chances at both ends, and with 5 minutes remaining in the half, the striker for NHM beat the last defender and had a good look on goal but Leon Brody ‘24 was quick off his line to smother the ball. Northwood led 1-0 going into the break. The second half was entirely dominated by Northwood. The second goal came from a penalty. Sachiel Ming ’24 took it and placed it bottom left. The scoring was capped when Knauf drove from the baseline and finished cross-goal with his left foot. He celebrated by hitting a knee-slide to the corner flag to cap what was a brilliant individual and team performance.

Knauf was happy with his performance. “I thought I played well, and the biggest contributing factor was scoring two goals. I think the reason I played well was because I got some good assists from my teammates,” Knauf said.

Coach Jon Moodey summed up the success against NMH with five words: “Belief, trust, confidence, patience, execution.”

 

Northwood U17s 5-4 Hoosac U17s

In the first game for the U17s, it was yet again another high-scoring thriller. Northwood and Hoosac have had a long-standing rivalry, and this time, Northwood came away with the three points. Once again, Northwood came out to an early 3-0 lead with a double from Said El Eyssami ‘26, and one from Jace Donowa ‘25. The shutout didn’t hold until halftime as Hoosac scrapped a goal just before the break. Right after the restart, Hoosac scored another goal to make it 3-2, and another a couple minutes later to knot the game at 3. The game was far from over, and El Eyssami scored his third goal of the match to regain the Northwood lead. Shortly after, Hoosac responded with another goal and tied the game again. Everybody thought the game had finished but Donawa came to the rescue for the second game in a row by scoring the winner in the last 5 minutes.

Northwood U17s 3-3 Millbrook

The second and final game of the weekend for the 17s saw another high-scoring match. Donawa scored the first goal by driving centrally and finishing to the bottom left from just outside the box. Five minutes later, the lead was doubled when El Eyssami received the ball at the top of the box, took two players on, and finished with his left foot near the post. Millbrook scored a few minutes later off a counterattack, and the half was closed out by El Eyssami scoring again from a loose set-piece rebound. This lead lasted into the break, but the second half was different. Millbrook earned a penalty early on, but Gavin Kruger ‘26 made an excellent save. Shortly after, another penalty was awarded to Millbrook. This time, however, it was converted, and the lead slipped to 1 again. With two minutes remaining, Millbrook scored an equalizer and the game ended in a stalemate.

After the game, Head Coach Jose Coss was asked how the team can keep up it’s scoring pace while reducing goals conceded.  “I think by working on team unity, mental strength and sense of belonging. That way, everyone will push 100% of the game, starters and non-starters,” Coss said. “We’ve proven we are able to score a lot, and now we have to prove to ourselves that we can give the same effort and sacrifice to defend as well. It’s not easy. It takes a lot of maturity and hopefully, we can build on the fact that we are still undefeated,” Coss added.

This weekend, both teams take on Hoosac School at home.

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