Two first-year players lead Mutiny to victory
With their 4-0 win over the Western New York Flash (4-4-2) on Sunday afternoon at East Longmeadow High School, the 2017 season for the New England Mutiny (7-3) will continue on for one more week. New England now awaits the results from the last two regular season matches of the Long Island Rough Riders (5-2-1), who finish up their schedule next weekend. Long Island needs to win both matches for them to qualify for the second spot in the 2017 East Final (Tuesday, July 18). If they don’t, the Mutiny will travel south to face regular season conference champion New Jersey Copa FC (8-1-1) for the automatic berth into the UWS National Championship (July 21-22) held in Grandville, MI.
After an inauspicious start to the match against the Flash, the New England attack turned the volume up a few notches late in the first half with thanks to substitute midfielder Marissa Aniolowski. Yet, it was Western New York who began the match on the front foot, as midfielder Hope Balling had an early scoring chance but her shot just went wide of the far post. The Flash’s defensive pressure kept the Mutiny off balance as the half wore on, as the home side had difficulty stringing more than a couple of passes together. Midfielder Julia Weithofer has New England’s first best chance of the match in the 31st minute, but it was Aniolowski’s inclusion in the match that sparked the offense.
In the 43rd minute, the Seton Hall standout came on for midfielder Sharlotte Pernice and converted on her first goal of the season seconds later. Midfielder Brenna Brown drove down deep on the left flank and floated a cross into the center of the penalty area. Aniolowski attacked the cross and drove her header inside the near post past WNY goalkeeper Kenna Kosinski (five saves). Just four minutes after halftime, the Enfield, CT-native tallied her second goal, rising high once again for Weithofer’s corner kick and thumping her header off the crossbar and over the goal line. From there, the Mutiny had full control of the match and notched another goal in the 54th minute. Captain Kate Howarth rang her free kick from 30 yards out off the crossbar and Brown mopped up the rebound for the 3-0 score.
In the 72nd minute, Brown scored her third goal of the season, taking advantage of another rebound for the fourth and final score of the match. Midfielder Michelle Weinecke’s blast from outside the area could not be corralled by Kosinski and the former Fairfield University star fired her shot past the beleaguered keeper. The combination of Gabby Arruda and Annie Ulliac combined for the shutout with Arruda making all three saves in first half action. New England out-shot Western New York by a 9-3 margin. If the Mutiny continue on to the East Final, they will have a pair of first-year players - Aniolowski and Brown - to thank for another chance at a conference title.