Jun 25, 2017   E. LONGMEADOW, MA

McKenzie HollenbaughReturnees new and not-so-old alike help lead team to victory

The New England Mutiny welcomed back faces new and not-so-old to the side in their much-anticipated UWS East Conference match against the New York Surf at East Longmeadow High School. Forward Abby Sotomayor saw her first action in the Mutiny lineup since the first two games of this season, while New England veterans forward Chanel Johnson and midfielder McKenzie Hollenbaugh made their long-sought returns to the team. The renewed team karma seemed to work for the hosts, as the Mutiny (5-2) converted on two beautifully-built up passing sequences to notch a 2-0 shutout win over the Surf (4-2-2).

The Mutiny started out in good form and capitalized in the 14th minute after a corner kick. Sotomayor drove in a corner that New York goalkeeper Colleen Hickey (four saves) punched away. Defender Jennifer Cafferky collected the ball and with her back to goal, dropped her pass deftly to midfielder Charlie Branch who rocketed her shot inside the left netting. The Surf would put their own pressure on New England goalkeeper Gabby Arruda (three saves) in the first half, as the former SCSU shot-stopper’s anticipation stopped a chance in the 28th minute while she smothered a shot from midfielder Furtuna Velaj in the 36th minute.

The Mutiny clung to the 1-0 lead as the second half progressed, and would tally the insurance goal in the 65th minute off their best passing sequence of the 2017 season. Branch switched the ball to midfielder Sage Dieterle who played it to midfielder Brenna Brown. Brown found team captain Kate Howarth with a touch pass on the wing and her cross reached Johnson who headed the ball under the cross bar for the 2-0 score. New York would have a pair of chances in the 78th minute on a shot from forward Maegen Doyle and Velaj would test Arruda again. In the end, though, New England held on for the 2-0 win. The hosts outs-hot the Surf by a 6-3 margin in a physical contest that saw them make 12 fouls to New York’s four.

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