Ugolik scores third goal in as many matches in loss
The New England Mutiny played the third game of their month-long road trip at Mercer County Community College against New Jersey Copa F.C. on Saturday afternoon, falling by a 2-1 score to the first-place side in the East Conference of United Women’s Soccer (UWS) in an exciting back-and-forth match. Unfortunately for the Mutiny (4-3), it was the second straight loss they would suffer after initially leading the game. Fortunately for Copa (6-1-1), they are now in pole position to capture the East crown and berth into the UWS National Final held July 30-31.
New England are not mathematically eliminated from winning the conference title, but they will need to win their final three games and receive help from other teams. The Mutiny travel to face the Long Island Rough Riders (2-2-1) on July 9th for their last road game of the 2016 regular season before returning home on Saturday, Jul 16th to take on NJCFC in the rubber match of the season series. Kick-off at West Springfield High School will be at 7:00 PM.
“Another hard self-inflicted loss,” said New England Head Coach Joe Abele. “Our women played hard and considering we had a short bench, we kept Copa to few scoring opportunities. We gave up an own goal and they capitalized on a mistake. I’m proud of our team.”
New England would open the scoring in the 13th minute, as captain Kate Howarth put Rachel Ugolik in 1v1 on goal via a long ball from the left flank. Ugolik would slot her shot inside the right post past Copa goalkeeper Kristyn Shea - her teammate at Providence College - for the 1-0 lead. It was the third goal in as many matches for the Mutiny veteran forward. Copa would battle back in an effort to score the equalizer and got it in the 35th minute, but courtesy of a mistake from the visitors.
Alexis Williams of NJCFC would get the last touch on the ball but it would be ruled an own goal. It was the fourth straight match that the Mutiny gave up a 1-0 lead. New England responded right away, but Charlie Branch’s goal in first half stoppage time would be ruled offsides. Unfortunately, the hits kept on coming for the road side, as defender Jennifer Cafferky had to be substituted at halftime due to injury. The Mutiny were already missing starters Andrea Plucenik, Stephanie Santos and Liana Hinds to pre-match injuries.
The teams battled back and forth to start the second half, but it was the home side who would get the last break. In the 66th minute, Jeanine Nunez would notch the eventual game-winner off an assist from Jenny Bitzer. Nunez made a run from the top of the penalty area and then fired her shot past Mutiny keeper Anne-Marie Ulliac at the near post. New England would push forward for the equalizer, but their late free kick in NJCFC territory would go for naught.