The New England Mutiny turned a one-goal advantage at the interval into a comprehensive 8-1 victory over the Maine Mariners in Saturday’s season opener at East Longmeadow High School.
Sonia Basma collected a hat trick with strikes in the 13th, 47th and 78th minutes, while Kate Howarth contributed to the second half onslaught with goals in the 86th and 90th minutes. Tallies from Rachel Ugolik, Gianna Roma and Julia Weithofer in the 56th, 84th and 86th minutes, respectively, rounded out the scoring for the hosts.
Maine’s Pavlina Nepokovova kept the Mutiny from collecting the clean sheet when she scored in the 89th minute.
“In the first half, we created some scoring chances but they didn’t go in,” said Mutiny coach Roy Gurnon in a team release. “We were kind of forcing the game a little bit. But in the second half, we came out much more patient, spread them out more and the spaces were there.”
Although the Mutiny didn’t capitalize on all of their scoring chances in the first half, the home crowd didn’t have to wait long to witness the first goal of the 2014 season for the defending East Conference champions. In the 13th minute, Basma grabbed a pass from Alie Fitzsimmons and slotted it through to open the account.
A close match in the first half gave way to an explosion of goals from the hosts. Two minutes after the break, Howarth raced down the left and served a ball for Basma, who ushered it into the back of the net.
The Mariners attempted to file a reply in the 53rd minute when a dangerous free kick from Kirsty Montignani forced an acrobatic save from Mutiny keeper Carly McCabe.
Not long after Montignani’s effort, the Mutiny scored their third when Howarth sent a through ball to Ugolik, who pushed it past Mariner goalkeeper Caton Beaulieu in the 56th minute.
The bottom fell out for the Mariners in the waning moments. Basma pulled off the hat trick when she tallied her third in the 78th minute, while Roma grabbed a goal of her own in the 84th minute. After recording a trio of assists, Howarth used a penalty kick to collect her first strike of the season. Weithofer scored from distance in the 88th minute.
Nepokovova netted one for the Mariners in the 90th minute, but not long after, Howarth scored her second of the match in stoppage time.
“We scored some great goals but more important, the play of the team was very unselfish,” said Gurnon. “It was a great team result.”
The Mutiny will look to continue their offensive success on Thursday at 7:30pm when they face the New Hampshire Phantoms at Derryfield High School. The Mariners hope to bounce back on Wednesday against the Boston Breakers Reserves at Merrimack College. Kickoff is set for 7:30pm.