The WPLL's inaugural season kicked of with two exciting games on 6/2!
In Olney, MD the New England Command and the New York Fight took the field in the WPLL's first game. It was clear that both teams were excited to take the field as pros, reuniting with former teammates and facing off against former teammates. After New York won the initial draw, Fight attacker Taylor Quinn (Columbia, 2017) scored the first goal in WPLL history on Command keeper Bridget Bianco. New York's Ivy League talent struck again moments later, when Fight attacker Marisa Romeo (Harvard, 2017) found the back of the net. Though the Fight came out strong at first, New England quickly got on the board, and the first quarter ended in a 3-3 tie with NY goals from Caroline Wannen (Maryland 2017) and NE goals from Kara Mupo (Northwestern, 2015) Aly Messinger (UNC, 2016) and Tanner Guarino (UMass, 2014).
Despite some stellar defense from the Command unit of Amber McKenzie, Meg Douty, and Katie Hertsch, the second quarter belonged almost exclusively to the NY Fight, who scored 5 goals compared to NE's 0. Taylor Cummings (Maryland, 2016) and Zoë Stukenberg's (Maryland, 2016) dominant performance collecting draws helped kickstart the Fight's success. Nicole Graziano (Florida, 2016) started off the NY offense firing a rocket of a shot to the back of the net after a beautiful feed from Cummings. Then the rest of the quarter belonged to Romeo, who tallied two more goals, and Zoë Stukenberg (Maryland, 2017) who also scored two more goals in the quarter.
After halftime the Command came to the field ready to play. Though they still struggled in the draw circle, the Command, and more specifically Kara Mupo, were able to take control of the game. Midfielder Guarino fired up the Command's positive momentum, collecting the third quarter's first draw, then setting up attacker Kara Mupo for her second goal of the day. Shortly after, Steph Lazo (Penn State, 2017) fired a rocket at keeper Emily Kift. The shot, which initially looked like a save, bounnced off the back of Kift's helmet, and was deemed a NE goal. NY won the next draw, but Command defender Amber McKenzie continued the Command's positive momentum, picking off a Fight pass and finding a streaking Anna Kim (Stanford, 2015) open at the center of the field. Kim continued all the way to net, tallying her first goal of her WPLL career. With the score now 8-6 NY, Taylor Cummings extinguished the Command's comeback with a FP goal with 5 minutes left in the half. Messinger scored a FP goal of her own two minutes later, then Romeo scored her fourth and final goal to close out the third quarter.
Much like the Fight's second quarter, the Command scored all of the goals in the fourth quarter. Guarino collected the first draw, taking it straight to cage and tallying her second of the day, making the score 10-8 New York. Then Mupo took over. Silenced since the first quarter, Mupo exploded for the next 4 goals of the game--including a 2 point shot. Despite the efforts of NY defenders Meg Markham, Shanna Brady, and Caroline Fitzgerald, Mupo could not be stopped, and the Command took their first lead of the game with 9:40 to remain in the game.