Howarth nets her fifth goal of 2018 in vital win
The New England Mutiny took to the road to renew their rivalry with the Inferno Rush (formerly the Lancaster Inferno) on Saturday night at Millersville University's Pucillo Field. New England shook off their recent lackluster play and put in an inspired performance, as they came back from an early second half deficit to notch an important 2-1 win. With the victory, the Mutiny now share first place in the UWS East with the Rochester Lady Lancers since both teams share a 3-1-2 record and a +5 differential. Saturday's 2-2 draw between Connecticut (3-2-1, 10 points) and Long Island (2-2-2, 8 points) put those two teams currently on the outside looking in when it comes to qualifying for the two-team East Conference Final (July 19).
"This was a big win for our team," said New England Mutiny owner Joe Ferrara, Jr. "The ladies showed real heart tonight."
New England came out of the gates in dominant fashion in the first half but could not find the net. The Inferno opened the second half with a goal in the opening minute of play. The Mutiny turned over the ball in midfield and Rush co-captain Tesa McKibben was played in goal and she blasted her shot past goalkeeper Lysianne Proulx. The home side almost went up by two goals afterwards but Proulx continued her clutch shot-stopping with a tip over the cross bar. The visitors countered but forward Sydney Bracket was stopped on a breakaway and captain Kate Howarth was denied by a kick save from the Inferno keeper.
New England made a few substitutions, switched to a back three in defense and the game really opened up for them. Midfielder Kelly Halligan returned from injury and hit the crossbar with her shot in the 70th minute before she helped set up the game-tying goal. The former Central Connecticut State University star sent Howarth down the flank in the 70th minute and midfielder Yo Tachibana's fantastic one-time finish on her cross tied the game at 1-1. Three minutes later, defender Brittany Champagne - who formed a new look central defensive partnership with local star Lauren Aldrich - sent a long pass over the top of the Rush defense that Howarth ran on to and finished for the game-winning goal.
The Mutiny were further bolstered by a pair of performances in this win from two players at the opposite end of the career spectrum. Long-time New England veteran midfielder Kacey Richards started and played for the first time since the 2016 season - good for her seventh season in a Mutiny uniform. Northfield Mount Hermon star and Hatfield, MA-native Carrie Ellis came on as a second half substitute in her first-ever appearance for New England and provided a energetic spark in the final 20 minutes. Ellis has committed to play for the University of Rhode Island, starting in Fall 2019. Next up for the Mutiny is a home match against the Western New York Flash at legendary Lusitano Stadium in Ludlow, MA this Sunday, June 24th (3:00 PM kickoff).