The New England Mutiny defeated the Lancaster Inferno 3-0 on Saturday and assured themselves a home game in the East Conference playoffs beginning on Friday night at Lusitano Stadium.
Kate Howarth (Grand Blanc, MI/Boston Breakers) continued her record-setting season in United Women’s Soccer with her second consecutive hat-trick. The Mutiny’s all-time leading scorer added to her total in the 31’ when she received a long ball from Ellie Jean (Coventry, CT/Penn State University) and slipped the ball past Inferno goalkeeper Kelly O’Brien for the 1-0 halftime lead. With soaring temperatures at Pucillo Field in Millersville, PA, the Mutiny turned to its bench for a spark. A spark which took just five minutes to ignite and in the form of Agawam’s Hope Santaniello who sent in a perfectly placed cross to the on-rushing Howarth whose header was impeccably placed into the corner of the net in the game’s 50th minute. Another local western Mass product would impact the match as Monson’s Laura Gouvin made her first appearance in a Mutiny uniform in the 57’. Two minutes later, it was Gouvin’s eye-popping cross that found the head of Howarth to complete the hat-trick.
Mutiny goalkeeper Ashley Cavanaugh (Belchertown, MA/Central Connecticut State University), making her first appearance for the Mutiny this season, stopped six shots from the Inferno for the clean sheet.
“Playing on the road in temperatures well over 90 degrees can test any team’s resolve. The mental toughness in these conditions was evident tonight. After leading 1-0 at the half, the depth of this team showed itself with two assists from players that subbed in. Every player that traveled to this game contributed in some way to what was ultimately a team win. I’m very happy for the players”, stated Mutiny head coach Jeb Booth.
The Mutiny will now host a semifinal match on Friday night at Lusitano Stadium at 7:30pm.