Rivalry continues to build between Mutiny & Inferno with tense conclusion
The rivalry continued to build between the New England Mutiny (2-0 UWS East) and Lancaster Inferno (0-1 UWS East) on Saturday night at East Longmeadow High School. The Mutiny took an early lead against the Inferno, but the visitors would battle back on two occasions and force a tense conclusion to the match. But in the end, the home side held on for the important 3-2 conference win in front of 512 fans.
“The team chemistry was a little lacking tonight but the character of the girls is what pulled them through the adversity,” said Mutiny Head Coach Joe Abele. “They worked hard for each other and got the job done. Lancaster really showed a lot of grit tonight and a lot of heart. They brought it to us in the second half but in the end, I think it was a fair result.”
Like in their season-opening win over Rochester, the New England offense started off on the front foot from the outset. In the third minute, team captain Kate Howarth would receive a pass from midfielder Riley Houle 20 yards from goal and go in on a 1v1 against Inferno goalkeeper Kelly O’Brien (five saves). The forward fired her shot over the onrushing keeper for the 1-0 lead.
After holding the run of play, the Mutiny would give up a goal on Lancaster’s first opportunity of the game. Forward Haley Crawford was about 40 yards out from goal when she saw Mutiny keeper Anne Ulliac (five saves) off her line. Crawford chipped her shot over Ulliac to tie the game at 1-1. New England took that goal as an affront and would go on the offensive once again.
Forward Abby Sotomayor rang her shot off the cross bar in the 23rd minute. And than six minutes later, she collected the ball in the center of the pitch and fed Howarth in on goal on the right flank. Howarth blasted her shot past O’Brien and inside the far post for the 2-1 score. In the 34th minute, Houle received a pass from Sotomayor 25 yards out from goal and sent her shot high over the keeper’s reach and underneath the cross bar for the 3-1 lead.
The Mutiny almost went up 4-1 a few minutes later off a well-worked free kick. the score would remain 3-1 at halftime and the visitors would come out in the second half with a renewed spirit. New England would steadily regain control of the tempo of the match but in the 75th minute, Lancaster set up a tense final 15 minutes with their second goal of the match scored by midfielder Traci Mohl. But the home side would hold on for the 3-2 win.
With a few players missing, the Mutiny had to patch together a back three in defense with newcomer and local star Lauren Aldrich, veteran Cailynn Harding and midfielder Liana Hinds. The trio did well in the match overall but it was a matter of the Inferno taking their quality scoring chances. Hinds is off to Trinidad & Tobago Women’s National Team camp, where she works as a defender for the Soca Warriors.
“It was patchwork in the sense that they haven’t played together but not patchwork in the sense of lack of quality,” said Abele. “I think this scheme has been able to bring them all together. I think its a huge stepping stone for the team knowing that we have multiple combos in the back that we can depend on.”