The highly anticipated matchup between two former WPS rivals did not disappoint Saturday night at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville. The Breakers, in front of a sold-out crowd of 2,342, got a hat trick from forward Katie Schoepfer in a 3-2 win over the Western New York Flash. With the victory, the Breakers are now 4-0 and have a comfortable lead atop WPSL Elite. For Schoepfer, she now leads WPSL Elite with six goals.
"My teammates did most of the work. The ball was just landing for me in the right spot. Two of them were all Kyah (Simon’s) work," Schoepfer said. "I think it’s a sign of a good team that we’ve won in many different ways. We’ve had blowouts, we’ve had teams that were a lot more physical, we’ve had teams that were a lot more organized. Figuring out how the Flash played after the first half, we kind of talked it out, and we were able to make the adjustments we needed to make and go out there and take it to them."
Alice Binns stops a shot off the foot of McCall Zerboni (Photo By Mark Gardner)
The Flash came out and dominated possession early in the first half, creating a number of chances. In the 7th minute, McCall Zerboni rocketed a cross from Adriana on goal, but Breakers rookie keeper Alice Binns was there to make the stop, one of season-high seven saves on the night. Four minutes later, Adriana ripped a shot from 20 yards out, again stopped by Binns. The Breakers struggled to push the ball forward until the 20th minute when Cat Whitehill played in rookie forward Melissa Henderson on a free kick. Henderson and Simon both got a foot on it, but WNY’s backline cleared it from danger.
Despite losing the possession game early on, the Breakers struck first. Schoepfer scored the first of her three goals, burying a shot past Allison Lipsher off a redirection in front. The 33rd minute goal gave Boston a 1-0 lead. The Flash tied the game in the 49th minute when striker Adriana flicked a pass through a gap in Boston’s backline. The ball went right to Angela Salem, who beat Binns to level the score.
Kyah Simon freezes Nikki Marshall (Photo By Mark Gardner)
Boston retook the lead in the 54th minute on a penalty shot by Schoepfer. Simon was tripped up in the box on a breakaway, which led to the PK. The Breakers nearly increased their lead four minutes later when rookie Melissa Henderson, on her Breakers debut, rang one off the post. Then, in the 67th minute, Schoepfer scored her hat trick, the first three-goal game since her senior year at Penn State University. The Flash threatened in the following minutes when Adriana hit two shots on goal in a span of two minutes. Her persistence paid off. The Spanish striker scored to make it a 3-2 game in the 82nd minute, putting a loose ball in the box past Binns. But the Breakers held on from there on out and now head out west, taking on FC Indiana on Friday and the Chicago Red Stars on Sunday. They then play at the Philadelphia Fever on June 10 before returning home June 20 to meet the New England Mutiny.
"It was a little nervewracking at the end. We knew the game was going to be a good game. They have good players, and we have a set of good players," Boston Breakers Head Coach Lisa Cole said. "I think we were lucky to get up 3-1, and they made interesting there at the end, but I was proud of what the girls were able to accomplish, especially coming off the game on Wednesday."
Cole talked about the performances of both Schoepfer and Binns.
"Shep’s always been a big finisher. That’s her unique quality. In the offseason, she’s put a lot of time into her fitness and developing her game, but when she gets in front of goal, I think she’s very dangerous," Cole said. "Alice has been fantastic for us. She’s a big save type of goalkeeper. She’s focused. She stays tuned in on the ball and has good reactions. She kept us in the game."
Shots: WNY 13, Boston 7
Shots on goal: WNY 9, Boston 4
Saves: Boston: Alice Binns (7); WNY: Allison Lipsher (3)
Fouls: Boston 8, WNY 6
Corners: WNY 2, Boston 0
Offsides: WNY 4, Boston 2
Cautions: WNY: Adriana
BOS: Katie Schoepfer (unassisted) 33’
WNY: Angela Salem (Adriana) 49’
BOS: Schoeper (PK) 54’
BOS: Schoepfer (Kyah Simon) 67’
WNY: Adriana (unassisted) 82’
Boston: Alice Binns, Cat Whitehill, Taryn Hemmings, Julie King, Elli Reed, Leslie Osborne, Bianca D’Agostino (Emma Thomson, 82’), Amanda DaCosta (Courtney Jones, 79’), Melissa Henderson, Katie Schoepfer (Jessica Luscinski, 69’), Kyah Simon
Subs not used: Donnelly, Incerto
WNY: Allison Lipsher, Alex Sahlen, Kim Brandao, Katherine Reynolds, Nikki Marshall, Angela Salem, McCall Zerboni, Omolyn Davis (Laura Heyboer, 71’), Emily Van Egmond (Katy Frierson, 68’), Tori Huster (Jodi-Ann Robinson, 56’), Adriana
Subs not used: Colleen Boyd, Keara Thompson, Donna-Kay Henry