Hagen leads Mohawk women to soccer victory

Second year forward Ashley Hagen of Ancaster failed to score in the opening three games of the OCAA women’s soccer season, but it has been a veritable feast for her and the Mohawk Mountaineers in the last two outings. Hagen fired five goals in 12-1 shellacking of Lambton on Saturday (Oct. 1).

And she showed it was no fluke in the 7-0 thrashing of the Niagara Knights on Tuesday (Oct. 4) at Mohawk Sports Park. Hagen scored four more times, including one on a penalty kick.

The victory improved Mohawk’s record to 3-2. They started the season with two losses but find themselves on a three game run. Melanie Wong, Michelle Littler and Fabrizia Leuzzi got the other Mountaineer markers and Nicole Roberts kept a clean sheet in goal.

Co-head coach Michael Castellani said scoring all these goals is key, and not just for confidence. “The team has reversed it’s goal differential”, said Castellani. “It’s very important when you’re playing only eight games” (as a tie-breaker). Mohawk was minus-nine in goal differential after two games. They are now plus-11 after five games. The coach also said the team doesn’t even have to be told when they do things wrong. They are making corrections on their own, on the fly.

On Friday, Mohawk will get a stern test when they visit the currently unbeaten Humber Hawks. Humber, with a perfect 4-0 record, first have to play the 3-0 Redeemer Royals in Etobicoke on Wednesday (Oct. 5).

Meanwhile, the Mohawk men had to come from behind to earn a dramatic 2-2 draw with Niagara. The Knights grabbed a two goal first half lead on a pair of tallies from Chris Riddell. But in the second half, Adam Petrina scored his sixth goal of the season to give the Mountaineers hope. Then a magnificent long throw-in by Momcilo Veljko was headed into the Niagara net by Colin Dougan. The long throw-in is a big weapon and Veljko takes them from both sides of the field and even in his own end.

Mountaineers’ head coach Richard Bennett says there are some things you can’t coach. Veljko has a gift with his upper body strength and these throws into the box are much like corner kicks. Meanwhile the coach said the team showed great character coming back the way they did. “It’s the first time we didn’t score first, said Bennett. “We missed some chances in the first half and then just got caught in no man’s land watching the ball.”

Mohawk, now 2-1-2, visit Humber on Friday (Oct. 7).