Indiana’s Team Posts Victory in Inaugural Match of New Women’s Pre-professional League in Front of Sell Out Crowd at Grand Park Events Center
WESTFIELD, Ind. (Friday, May 6, 2022) – More than seven months after announcing its first foray into the women’s game, Indy Eleven ensured the wait was well worth it by capturing a 3-1 victory over Kings Hammer FC in the Inaugural Match of the USL W League, the new 44-team women’s pre-professional league under the United Soccer League umbrella. The historic triumph for Indy Eleven was played in front of a sold out, standing room-only crowd of 1,571 fans at the Grand Park Events Center.
Rachel McCarthy’s pair of goals early in the first half lifted Indiana’s Team to a comfortable cushion, and Katie Soderstrom’s 78th minute finish sealed the win after the KHFC cut the deficit back to one just before halftime.
Regardless of when the first goal came it would have been a historic moment for the W League; however, Indiana’s Team nearly put a stamp in the league’s record books in the blink of an eye just 12 seconds in, only to see forward Kristina Lynch’s shot rise inches over the crossbar. That chance set a tone for Indy, which saw its attacking prowess pay off with said first goal in league history by Rachel McCarthy in the ninth minute, when she ran onto Soderstrom’s blocked shot at the top of the area and blasted a shot from 20 yards that snuck inside the left post.
The BYU product McCarthy struck again with a clinical finish in the 17th minute, set up by a slicing run and low cross from the right flank by forward Maddy Williams. McCarthy first-timed her shot from the penalty spot into the roof of the net to double the lead. Kings Hammer eventually settled into the game across the final 15 minutes of the half, and their work paid off in the 40th minute through a sparkling individual effort by Mandy Schlueter, who cut back to gain space at the arc before bending a beauty into the upper right corner, bringing the proceedings to 2-1 as the game headed towards the half.
The second half was hard pressed to begin at the pace of the first, but the chances started to accumulate soon enough, most notably through efforts by Molly McLaughlin and Williams around the hour mark. Halftime sub Selena Barnett proved a sparkplug for Indy down the right flank, and her persistent runs paid off 12 minutes from time when she supplied the assist on the Eleven’s vital insurance tally. Barnett’s near-post cross found Soderstrom, who bodied off a defender deep inside the six before finishing from a slim angle to push the advantage back to two goals. Eleven goalkeeper Mackenzie Wood took over from there, making several saves across the final ten minutes – including a tip save at full extension in the 86th minute that was the highlight of the new Notre Dame netminder’s evening.
After playing in front of the appreciative and vocal home crowd in Westfield, Indy Eleven will now take to the road for its next three Great Lakes Division contests, starting next Thursday, May 12, when it visits Flint City AFC for a 7:00 p.m. ET kickoff (live on ElevenSports.com). Indy Eleven next plays at Grand Park on Friday, June 3, when it will play host to Midwest United FC at 7:00 p.m., and tickets for the contest are available at indyeleven.com/wleague-tickets for only $8. To learn more about the newest edition of Indiana’s Team representing the women’s game, visit indyeleven.com/wleague.
2022 USL W League Regular Season – Matchday 1
Indy Eleven 3 : 1 Kings Hammer FC
Friday, May 6, 2022
Grand Park Events Center – Westfield, Ind.
IND – Rachel McCarthy (unassisted) 9’
IND – Rachel McCarthy (Maddy Williams) 17’
KH – Mandy Schlueter (unassisted) 40’
IND – Katie Soderstrom (Selena Barnett) 78’
Indy Eleven lineup: 1-Mackenzie Wood (GK), 3-Molly McLaughlin, 4-Kristina Lynch (25-Rachel Dewey, 73’), 5-Grace Bahr, 6-Julia Leonard (captain), 9-Katie Soderstrom, 12-Maddy Williams (26-Ella Rogers, 61’), 18-Abby Isger (19-Selena Barnett 45’), 21-Karsyn Cherry, 23-Robyn McCarthy, 24-Rachel McCarthy (2-Cassidy Lindley, 73’)
IND substitutes: 0-Nona Reason (GK)
Kings Hammer FC lineup: 1-Mickayla Kowalski (GK) (0-Abby Waller, 45’), 2-Mandy Schlueter, 11-Annie Greene (33-Maddie Schlect, 68’), 16-Avery May, 17-Lilly Yordy, 19-Jade Rehberger, 27-Abby Unkraut, 30-Jordyn Rhodes, 40-Emma Schmelzer, 43-Mia Fiore, 45-Morgan Gerak (48-Rose Vigran, 68’)
KHFC Substitutes: n/a