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Spencer lifts Flash past Spirit, off bottom of table

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A goal from Jasmyne Spencer in the 52nd minute helped the Western New York Flash to a 3-2 win over the Washington Spirit on Saturday night at Sahlen’s Stadium.

“I saw Kristen Edmonds get the ball out wide,” Spencer said, describing her goal. We’ve been working on her crosses all week and I just saw the ball the whole way and then put it in the back of the net,” said Spencer when asked about her goal.’

With the win, Western New York (2-3-1, 7 pts.) pull out of the bottom of the table and go level on points with Seattle and Boston. The Flash dominated throughout the match, but a late spurt in the second half from the Spirit created quite a bit of back-and-forth.

“I’m very happy with the result and picking up three points,” said Flash head coach Aaran Lines. “We needed that going into the game.”

Western New York’s midfield was on point on Saturday. The Flash displayed a solid, cohesive front that clearly set the pace of the match. This was critical for this game, especially with both regular Flash goalkeepers out. Sabrina D’Angelo is out 2-4 weeks with a Grade 1 right AC separation and Chantel Jones was suspended for one game for unsporting conduct.

Amateur Robyn Horner stepped into the goalkeeper role and was tested early on with a penalty kick in the 22nd minute. A handball in the box by Abby Dahlkemper led to a penalty kick for the Spirit. Christine Nairn took the shot and easily finished to put the Spirit on the board.

When asked about Horner’s performance, Lines said, “I thought she was excellent. I thought she did a brilliant job and helped us seal victory tonight.”

The Spirit struggled to gain momentum throughout the match. Crystal Dunn worked feverishly up top, many times alone with support far and in between, creating some strong opportunities. She capitalized on one of those in the 55th minute, when she finished with a world-class goal, the second of the night for the Spirit. Dunn beat Flash defender Brittany Taylor, made her way down the pitch and finished with a picture-perfect shot that flew past Horner, who was hugging the near post.

A sequence in the 5th minute nearly put the Flash on the board after Sam Mewis made her way down the flank and passed a nice through ball to Jamia Fields. Fields passed to an oncoming Becky Edwards, who drilled the shot that sailed over the net.

The Spirit retaliated in the 9th minute, when Nairn sent a rocket from inside the 18, but Horner was there to make a terrific save to knock the ball out and keep the game scoreless.

Lynn Williams put the Flash on the board in the 11th minute after she received a through ball from Spencer. Williams rocketed past the defensive line — catching Kelsey Wys off her line — and easily put the ball into the back of the net. This marked Williams’ first professional career goal.

“First of all, I just want to say, great work from Jaz,” Williams said of Spencer. “She was working really hard defensively and picked up a ball and I just saw that their backs were pretty split,” said Williams when asked about what she saw leading up to her goal. “It paid off because in training we’ve been working on breakaways and I just remembered to stay composed and it just happened to go in.”

Mewis netted the second goal of the night for the Flash off of a corner kick with a leaping header, where the ball made it over the line just before being cleared out. The assistant referee deemed it a goal.

Dunn almost capitalized on a mistake by Horner in the 42nd minute when she caught Horner off her line and dribbled around her, but Jaelene Hinkle was there to save the day and guide Dunn away from goal.

Dunn nearly netted the equalizer in the 88th minute when she found her way into the box and sent a rocket at the goal but Horner was there for the save.



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