On a cool, windy evening at Ron Joyce Stadium, on the campus of McMaster University, Hamilton United and DeRo United treated the fans in attendance to an extremely entertaining, back-and-forth match that ended in a 1-1 draw.
Hamilton struck first, thanks to Angela Cutaia (19'), who latched onto an excellent cross from the right flank and neatly directed it past DeRo United goalkeeper Olivia Tierney.
The visitors could not find a goal over the first 45 minutes, despite putting a great deal of pressure on their opponents and putting seven dangerous balls on net.
A lot of the credit for Hamilton’s half-time lead belongs to goalkeeper Marilena Spagnolo, whose fearless play earned her player of the match honours for the home side.
(Photo: Martin Bazyl)
In the second half, it was Hamilton who appeared to be more on the front foot, peppering Tierney’s goal with shot after shot, but to no avail.
However, somewhat against the run of play, DeRo United eventually found the equalizer. A long pass over the top by Kylie Bordeleau bounced just outside the Hamilton eighteen yard box. Spagnolo rushed off her goal line to challenge for the ball but wound up colliding heavily with DeRo striker Shannen Jainudeen. The ball ultimately popped free and found its way onto the foot of Kodee Williams (76'), who chipped it into the wide open goal to send her squad home with a share of the points.
Unfortunately, both Jainudeen and Spagnolo were forced to leave the match as a direct result of this collision, with what appeared to be fairly serious injuries.
While there were several very strong performances from players on both teams, Hamilton United midfielder Tanja Vucenovic deserves an honourable mention for her dominant play in this match. The 17 year-old was the heartbeat for her team, demonstrating a great feel for the game and impressive touch and passing ability. Most impressive, as the match wore on, she seemed to get stronger.
Hamilton's Tanja Vucenovic (Photo: Martin Bazyl Photography/ Greg Mason)
Both teams were encouraged by their respective performances and hope to have some reinforcements join their rosters in the coming one to two weeks as several players return from school in the United States. If tonight was any indication of what is to come with the expected addition of top NCAA level talent, these two teams should find themselves in playoff contention once August rolls around.
Both teams now sport matching records of one win, one draw and no losses for four points, which sees them currently sharing top spot in League1 Ontario's Women’s Division.
DeRo United returns to action on Saturday, May 12th (4:30 pm) when they square off with North Mississauga Panthers at L’Amoreaux Sport Park in Scarborough.
Click here to keep up on all the news, goals, wins and statistics for DeRo on their team page.
Hamilton United plays host to Unionville Milliken SC on Friday, May 11th (8:00 pm) at Ron Joyce Stadium.
Click here to keep up on all the news, goals, wins and statistics for Hamilton on their team page.