NWSL: NC Courage Down Boston Breakers and Remain in First
The NC Courage (7W-3L-0T, 21 pts.) earned a confident 3-1 win over the Boston Breakers (2W-5-L-2T, 8 pts.) on Pride Night at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. Two early goals from Kristen Hamilton followed by a tally by Ashley Hatch gave the NC Courage a solid lead going in to halftime, and the Breakers were unable to answer the Courage’s quick start.
The NC Courage began the game with a lot of intensity, eager to pick things up where they left off before the international break. One minute into the game, Hatch picked up a defensive miscue and fired a low shot, forcing Boston’s Abby Smith to make a save at her near post.
The high-pressure from the Courage paid off in the third minute, as Sam Mewis intercepted a frantic pass from a Breakers center back and slid the ball in to Hamilton at the top of the box. Hamilton let the ball come across her body before driving a low shot just inside the back post from seven yards out for her first goal as a professional.
The scoring continued in the 13th minute as a Dahlkemper corner kick met the head of defender Abby Erceg. Her header bounced off the post before Hatch’s rebound shot deflected across the six, finding the right foot of Hamilton who volleyed her second goal of the game into the back of the net.
Rookie Hatch got on the scoresheet in the 38th minute after she blocked a clearance from the goalkeeper. She laid the initial ball back to Doniak who had her shot redirected toward Hatch. The 22-year-old striker then hit a turnaround curler with her left foot into the back post, rounding the outstretched hands of the helpless Smith.
Hamilton and Hatch continued to cause havoc for the Breakers as they defended relentlessly and attacked with pace all game.
The Boston Breakers got one back in the 74th minute, as Adriana Leon received the ball wide and delivered a cross that floated over Smith and into the side net at the far post.
The match ended 3-1, giving NC Courage their sixth win of the season to stay atop the NWSL with 21 points. They will be back in action next Saturday, June 24, when they travel to Jordan field for a rematch against the Boston Breakers. The Courage return to Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday, July 1 at 3:30 p.m. as the club takes on Sky Blue FC.
- Kristen Hamilton scored her first two career goals in her first NC Courage start.
- Stephanie Ochs made her first appearance for NC Courage after being signed by the club on June 16.
- Ashley Hatch scored in her second consecutive match and start for NC Courage.
NC: Katelyn Rowland; Jaelene Hinkle, Abby Erceg ©, Abby Dahlkemper, Taylor Smith; Makenzy Doniak (Sam Witteman, 69’), McCall Zerboni, Sam Mewis, Debinha (Meredith Speck, 81’); Kristen Hamilton (Stephanie Ochs, 87’), Ashley Hatch
Subs not used: Sabrina D’Angelo, Liz Eddy, Lynn Williams, Jessica McDonald
BOS: Abby Smith; Julie King ©, Megan Oyster, Christen Westphal, Brooke Elby; Angela Salem (Amanda Da Costa, 68’), Morgan Andrews, Rosie White; Emilie Haavi (Margaret Purce, 57’), Natasha Dowie, Adriana Leon (Ifeoma Onumono, 82’)
Subs not used: Sammy Jo Prudhomme, Amanda Frisbie, Kylie Strom, Tiffany Weimer
NC: Kristen Hamilton (Sam Mewis, 3’, unassisted, 13’), Ashley Hatch (Makenzy Doniak, 38’)
BOS: Adriana Leon (Natasha Dowie, 73’)
BOS: Rosie White, 80’