Northeastern’s athletic teams and student-athletes continued their considerable ascent in 2014. The Huskies captured a host of team and individual championships, while a distinguished group of current and former students represented the university on the world stage, participating in the Sochi Olympics.
Northeastern had the fifth-most Olympic participants in 2014 of any NCAA institution. In all, six Huskies represented their countries at the Winter Games, comprising current student-athlete Kendall Coyne, AMD’16, (United States, women’s ice hockey); Steven Langton, DMSB’06, (United States, bobsled); Julia Marty, S’11, (Switzerland, women’s ice hockey); David Poile, DMSB’71, (United States, men’s ice hockey general manager); Florence Schelling, DMSB’13, (Switzerland, women’s ice hockey); and Hilary Witt, AMD’01, (United States, women’s ice hockey assistant coach). The group took home five medals in all, as Coyne helped lead the U.S. to a silver medal, Langton won a pair of bronze medals, and Marty and Schelling both earned bronze. Schelling was also recognized as the women’s ice hockey tournament’s most valuable player.
In intercollegiate competition, the women’s soccer team turned in a record-breaking season, capturing its second consecutive Colonial Athletic Association title and securing the program’s first-ever NCAA tournament victory. Under the direction of the 2014 CAA and Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year, Tracey Leone, the Huskies set single-season program records for most wins (15) and most shutouts (17), and goalkeeper Paige Burnett shattered the program record for most individual shutouts (16). Northeastern defeated Boston University in the first round of the NCAA tournament before losing in the second round to the eventual national champion, Florida State. Sophomore Mackenzie Dowd was named a Capital One Academic All-American, while seniors Paige Burnett and Bianca Calderone, and freshman Hannah Lopiccolo earned NSCAA First Team All-Region honors.
The women’s rowing team stormed to its fourth CAA championship in six years by sweeping all three races at the conference regatta in May. The Huskies earned their first-ever team appearance at the NCAA championship, and the fifth-ever appearance by the varsity eight. Head coach Joe Wilhelm was named CAA Coach of the Year and four student-athletes garnered All-CAA First Team honors in Kelsey Flynn, Chloe Laverack, Katie O’Connell, and Alaina Williams.
The Northeastern men’s rowing team reestablished itself as one of the nation’s top collegiate programs in 2014. The Huskies advanced two of three eights to grand finals at the IRA National Championships and placed fifth nationally, ahead of Harvard and Yale. The strong performance helped usher in the program’s 50th anniversary celebration, which began this fall. The university launched its highly-accomplished rowing program in 1965, when a group of novice oarsmen took the rowing world by storm, defeating 33 of 34 crews and earning an invitation to the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta.
A pair of Northeastern track and field student-athletes garnered special recognition in the spring. Stephen Sollowin earned the CAA Men’s Most Outstanding Track Performer award after two individual titles at the conference championship meet in May, becoming the first Northeastern athlete to earn the honor. Fellow Husky Nicole Genard won an impressive three medals at the conference meet to earn the CAA Women’s Most Outstanding Field Performer award for 2014.
The men’s and women’s basketball teams both enjoyed success in their respective season openers, defeating city rival Boston University. The men topped the Terriers, 71-65, at TD Garden for their fourth win over BU in the past five years. The victory sparked one of the most successful starts in decades for the Huskies, who are 6-2 heading into this week’s Cable Car Classic in California. The women, meanwhile, scored in the final seconds to secure a 75-74 come-from-behind win over BU in front of a boisterous Cabot Center crowd. It was a fitting start to the tenure of first-year head coach Kelly Cole, who was named the sixth coach in program history in June.
While the university welcomed one new head coach, it bid farewell to another. Longtime baseball skipper Neil McPhee, BHS’68, retired in May, bringing to a close the longest head-coaching tenure in Northeastern history. McPhee, a standout student-athlete at the university in both baseball and ice hockey, took the helm of the baseball program before the 1986 season and quickly turned the Huskies into perennial contenders. In 29 seasons, he amassed 723 career wins, the most by any coach of any sport in Northeastern history. Twenty four of McPhee’s former student-athletes were drafted by Major League teams and four of his former players have reached the big leagues, including Adam Ottavino, Carlos Pena, Luke Carlin, and Northeastern’s next head coach, Mike Glavine.