In front of another large crowd, the New England Mutiny defeated the Lancaster Inferno 2-1 at Lusitano Stadium on Friday night. On an evening that featured two former NWSL/WPS professionals, two National Team members and several collegiate All-Stars, it was a local high school phenom that would be the difference in this match. Hope Santaniello (Agawam, MA) potted the game-winner in the 78th minute. Santaniello received a cross from Ecuadorian National Team member Mariela Jacome (Kinderhook, NY/St. John’s University) and clinically finished into the lower left corner past Inferno goalkeeper Kelly O’Brien. After Hope’s go ahead goal the Mutiny went into closeout mode trying to secure the victory, but the Inferno demonstrated the fortitude that catapulted them to the UWS National finals last season with a couple of late-scoring bids. Mutiny goalkeeper Maddie Murphy (Grafton, MA/Boston College) reached to the heavens to coral a shot that seemed destined to strike the underside of the bar and into goal for the equalizer. The win keeps the Mutiny in first place, however the team is faced with two challenging road trips to finish the season with one being against the same Inferno squad next weekend.
The Mutiny drew first blood in the match as the league’s leading scorer Kate Howarth (Grand Blanc, MI/University of Miami) headed a textbook cross from Ellie Jean (Coventry, CT/Penn State University) in the 49th minute. The Inferno answered with their own cross and finish in the 66th minute when Jackie Richards finished a service from Haley Crawford. The goal from the Inferno set the stage for Santaniello’s heroics as she came in as a second-half substitute for local standout Brooke Murphy (Monson, MA/UNH). Maddie Murphy ended the match with 5 saves; several of them on chances labeled for the back of the net.
"This was an even game between two very good teams. It took a lot of resolve and commitment for 90 minutes. Maddie Murphy was excellent in goal for us. Kate and Hope's goals were the result of a full team effort. I am very pleased with the team's mental ability to stay focused and fight through whatever we face. Also, want to thank all the fans who came to our last regular season home game," stated Mutiny head coach Jeb Booth.