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NC Courage Shut Out Kansas City in 2-0 victory


Rookie Ashley Hatch scored her first career goal when the North Carolina Courage shut out the visiting Kansas City Blues 2-0 on Saturday afternoon at WakeMed Park. The opening goal of the match was scored by McCall Zerboni.

While it did not involve goals, the first half saw a few good opportunities for a goal. The final minutes of the second half were especially exciting as both team exchanged their best chances up until that point.

First, Lynn Williams nearly scored in the 27th minute sending a shot just wide left from inside the penalty area. The next major opportunity for either team wouldn’t come until toward the end of the half.

In the 40th minute, the Courage earned a corner kick, taken by Debinha. She played a short ball to Makenzy Doniak, who played it right back to Debinha, who then served the ball into he penalty area. Abby Dahlkemper headed it towards goal, but it pinged off the left post. Brittany Taylor then attempted to kick the ball out of bounds, but dangerously sent the ball back off that same post again.

Zerboni then brought down the rebound, but before she could kick it in, it was Taylor beating her to a second touch, sending the ball out towards the middle of the penalty area. The ball fell to Williams, who then took a shot that was blocked by Christina Gibbons and deflected away and out of bounds.

In the following minute on the other end, Sydney Leroux had an opportunity to give the Blues the lead when she was played a ball by Lo’eau Labonta. Despite being in an offside position when receiving the pass, Leroux was able to unleash a shot that was saved well by Katelyn Rowland, who pushed the ball over the goal in a quick reaction.

The first goal finally came in the 60th minute off a corner kick. The ball was served in by Dahlkemper, who found Abby Erceg in the middle of the penalty area. Erceg headed the ball toward the goal, and Barnhart was ready to catch the ball down low when Zerboni stuck her foot out to deflect the ball upward into the top net of the goal.

Hatch extended the lead seven minutes later with her first professional career goal. It was Williams with a perfectly-placed ball into the box for Hatch, who took a touch towards the goal and then shot the ball to beat Barnhart for the 2-0 lead.

The Courage remained in control of the match for most of the time that remained, and came away with three points from the shout-out victory.


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