Perhaps they were saving their best for home. Regardless, the Hamilton Avalanche made their home debut in the USL W-League a successful one, downing the Sudbury Canadians 3-0 to register their first win of the season after three road losses.
Not only was the win the Avalanche’s first in the elite North American women’s soccer league, but the three goals were the teams first.
In three away games in the team’s first season in the Northern Division of the Eastern Conference, the Avalanche had given up 12 goals.
But on Sunday, they were not to be denied.
The Avalanche wasted no time in taking control of the game from a team that may have been a bit road weary. Most of the first half was spent in the Canadians end, as Hamilton came out strong, attacking the ball and pushing the pace. Hamilton had five quality opportunities in the first 10 minutes but was unable to score – Danya Barsolona and Michelle Edgar were unable to convert on numerous opportunities.
A handball inside the box by Sudbury’s goalie, Julia Boschetto, set up Chiara Greco’s penalty shot and a 1-0 lead for Hamilton before the half.
The Lady Avalanche started the second half where they left off in the first, controlling the tempo and applying constant pressure. But scoring continued to eluded them until the 58th minute when Edgar’s cross from the far corner curled into the net.
A quick substitution by Avalanche Coach Billy McKenna saw Heather MacDougall score in the 63rd minute as she ran down the right side, cut inside the defender and blasted a low shot off the post.
Hamilton came close to adding to its margin when Brittany Bisnott split the defenders at the 83rd minute mark but couldn’t beat Boschetto with an eight-yard try.
Lady Avalanche keeper Stacey Van Boxmeer saw promise in the team’s victory.
“This was a great team effort. We are really starting to get a feel for each other’s playing style,” said the veteran of the Women’s National Team.
And coach McKenna was equally enthused.
“The players were determined to break into a win on their home turf and worked hard together to make it happen.”
The Lady Avalanche get another kick at the Canadians, winless and scoreless after six games, when they travel to Sudbury on June 10.
Hamilton’s next home game at Brian Timmis Stadium is against the Toronto Lynx on Wednesday, June 14. The Lynx top the division with 12 points from four wins and no losses. They have scored 18 goals and have yet to be scored upon.
With the Lynx, Canadians and the Avalanche in the Northern Division are Ottawa Fury Women, Laval Comets, Vermont Lady Voltage, and the Rochester Rhino Women.
The W-League is a 37-team elite circuit plus one associate team (The Washington Freedom) in a three-conference setup across North America.