Spirit Earn First Win Since March, Lavelle Makes Spirit Debut
Ashley Hatch netted a 64th minute game-winner and Rose Lavelle made her Washington Spirit debut in a 1-0 win over Sky Blue FC on Wednesday night at the Maryland SoccerPlex. It gave the Spirit their second win of the season, and first since March 31. Washington (2-5-2, 8 pts) snapped a six-game winless streak in the home victory over Sky Blue FC (0-6-1, 1 pt), finishing off a two-game homestand.
No. 1 overall NWSL College Draft pick Andi Sullivan notched the first assist of her professional career, serving up a free kick to Hatch, who powered home a header for her second goal as a member of the Spirit.
The opportunity came after Mallory Pugh was tripped on the previous play, earning a free kick in the attacking third. Sullivan served an aerial pass just in front of the post, as Hatch out-jumped Sky Blue FC’s Janine Beckie to head the ball in.
Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe recorded her second shutout of the season, stopping all four shots she faced. Bledsoe and the Washington defense held Sky Blue FC’s offense to one shot in the second half. Sky Blue goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan stopped two of three shots on goal.
Washington almost got on the board with a tally from Francisca Ordega in the 11th minute. Taylor Smith split two defenders going into the box and crossed the ball in front of the net. Ordega deflected the ball past the goalie and off the left goalpost.
The Spirit dominated the first half of play, controlling 56 percent of possession and winning 53.6 percent of duels.
In the 51st minute, Hatch had a one-on-one chance to break open the scoring. The forward went on a breakaway after a pass from Ordega at midfield. Hatch beat Sheridan, but the shot went just wide of the right post, keeping the game scoreless.
Midfielder Rose Lavelle entered the game for Estefanía Banini in the 74th minute, marking her debut as a member of the Spirit.
With Lavelle and Tori Huster providing fresh legs in the midfield during the second half, Washington continued to control the ball with 59.6 percent of possession.
Spirit defenders Caprice Dydasco, Whitney Church, Estelle Johnson and Smith all played the full 90 minutes of shutout soccer.
The Spirit return to action on the road Sunday, May 27 to take on the Houston Dash. Kickoff is set for 8:00 pm at BBVA Compass Stadium. Washington’s next home game will be on Saturday, June 2 for an NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime matchup against the Chicago Red Stars. Kickoff is set for 3:30 pm.
Top: Ashley Hatch (33) sends a header into the goal to give the Spirit a 1-0 lead in the 65th minute.
Video: Sullivan connects with Hatch to create the game winning goal. Video courtesy Washington Spirit/NWSL.
Next: No. 1 overall NWSL College Draft pick Andi Sullivan (6) notched the first assist of her professional career, serving up a free kick to Hatch.
Next: Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe recorded her second shutout of the season.
Next: Midfielder Rose Lavelle (16) entered the game in 74th minute, marking her debut as a member of the Spirit.
Photos by Germantown Pulse.