The New England Mutiny defeated New Jersey Copa 1-0 Wednesday night at St. John Vianney High School. The victory gave the Mutiny 21 regular season wins – the most in the history of UnitedWomen’s Soccer. The 20-year-old franchise is a founding member of UWS, which was created in 2016. In a strange twist of irony, its opponent on Wednesday, New Jersey Copa, was also looking for lucky number 21. However, Mutiny forward Kate Howarth (Grand Blanc, MI/Boston Breakers) dealt New Jersey a losing hand when she rocketed a shot from just outside the penalty area in the 80’.
After a sluggish first half, which the Mutiny were outshot by a 3-1 margin, New England found its rhythm for much of the second half as Mutiny defender Ellie Jean (Coventry, CT/Penn State University) made several dangerous attacking runs for the visitors. Jean collected a short corner from the Mutiny’s Bri Blunck (Coxsackie, NY/Fordham University) and served a ball into the area that forward Zoe Steck (Nutley, NJ/UCONN) volleyed on goal that clanged off the crossbar. In the 61’ the Mutiny had a 3-on-2 break led by forward Jessica Fernandes (Pawtucket, RI/Babson College) who slotted the ball wide to an onrushing Jean. Jean collected the ball just left outside the area and blasted a shot inches wide of the upper right frame. It was Jean that once again created a dangerous chance for New England as her chip into the area set up Howarth for a one-timer that was collected by New Jersey goalkeeper Andrea Leitner. New Jersey generated a few opportunities on goal themselves, but Mutiny netminder Maddie Murphy (Grafton, MA/Boston College) was up to the task stopping all 5 shots that came her way.
After Howarth’s goal, the Mutiny went into defensive mode to protect the 1-0 advantage. The insertion of Sky Woodard (Rutland, VT), Rebecca Frisk (Long Valley, NJ/UMASS) and Jocelyn Trajkovski (Ludlow, MA/Western United Pioneers) provided the necessary energy for the Mutiny to close out the match. Strong defensive efforts from Shauny Alterisio (Danbury, CT/CCSU), Alyssa Hyland (East Longmeadow, MA/Sacred Heart University) and Melina Couzis (Baldwin Place, NY/UCONN) helped preserve Murphy’s clean sheet.
“Road games are always a challenge and, in this case, a midweek game in New Jersey is no different. Copa battled us the whole game and we needed to work hard and smart to compete. While the energy from Ellie Jean and Kate Howarth’s persistence helped secure the win, the whole team back to front earned the result,” stated Mutiny head coach Jeb Booth.