Howarth takes over 2nd-place on Mutiny’s all-time scoring chart
All that was left to play for the New England Mutiny in their regular season finale against the TSF Academy Valkyries was a second-place finish in the UWS East Conference. The Mutiny (6-4) would finish it early as two first half goals from Kate Howarth propelled the team to a 3-0 win over the Valkyries (3-4-3) at East Longmeadow High School. With the victory, New England clinched runner-up status behind East champion New Jersey Copa F.C.
“What a bittersweet finish to the year,” said Mutiny Head Coach Joe Abele. “Everyone regained their lost passion and performed admirably today in the heat.”
The Mutiny couldn’t afford to let the visitors get a foothold in this match, as they did in their previous meeting when the Valkyries responded from an early deficit to score three unanswered goals in a 3-1 win on June 19th. New England got on the score board early in the 8th minute when Sharlotte Pernice gave the ball to Howarth on the left flank. The veteran forward dribbled towards goal and while her first shot was blocked, she gathered the rebound and beat TSF goalkeeper Caitlin Hoffer for the 1-0 lead.
The Mutiny didn’t allow the Valkyries to respond this time and notched the second goal in the 17th minute. Deb Nelson won the ball in the midfield and deftly sent Howarth in on goal on a 1v1 opportunity. The team captain dribbled around Hoffer’s dive for the ball and deposited it into the empty net to make the score 2-0. The home side would hold the run of play for the remainder of the half and almost went up 3-0 in the 45th minute, but Hoffer stopped Bernice’s scoring bid.
The second half would see TSF hold more possession, but their offense couldn’t muster enough pressure, as New England keeper and Belchertown-native Ashley Cavanaugh (who replaced starter Annie Ulliac at halftime) only had to make one save. The Valkyries ran out of gas as the half proceeded and the Mutiny would increase their pressure for the third goal. New England were awarded a penalty kick in the 81st minute when Abby Sotomayor was fouled from behind, but Stephanie Santos’ spot kick was saved.
Sotomayor would finish the scoring on the day in stoppage time, combining nicely with fellow second half substitute Kianna Woods in the final third. The first-year Mutiny forward blasted her shot from the top of the penalty area past Hoffer for the final score in the 3-0 win. With her two first half goals, Howarth has now moved past Meghan Schnur into second-place on the team’s all-time scoring charts. Her 76 career points (32 goals, 12 assists) now only trails the top mark of 93 points, set by Mary-Frances Monroe (36 goals, 21 assists).
“We got to see a lot of new talent for next year and thank some of our players who aren’t returning for their contributions,” said Abele. “I want to thank all of our fans for braving the heat today and supporting us every game. Without them, this wouldn’t be possible.”