North Carolina Courage Defeat Orlando Pride 3-0
Kristen Hamilton scored for the Courage in the 59th, 66th, and 85th minutes. Photo: www.twitter.com/thenccourage

North Carolina Courage Defeat Orlando Pride 3-0

Kristen Hamilton was the hat trick hero for the reigning NWSL champions.

jessicaaguann
Jessica Guan

The North Carolina Courage got back to their winning ways by defeating the Orlando Pride 3-0 on the road.

Courage get back on track in first half

The Courage were defeated for the second time this season last week and dropped to seventh place, so they entered this match looking to bounce back. Both teams were quiet during the opening forty-five minutes.

Kristen Hamilton scored a second-half hat trick, but her first chance on goal (and the Courage's first chance, too) came in the sixth minute. when she put an attempt just over the crossbar. Three minutes later, Merritt Mathias took a long shot that Pride goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer saved.

The Pride were run over by the Courage in the first half before they lost it in the second half. They truly threatened just once in the entire opening half. In the 19th minute, Rachel Hill crossed the ball into the box and nearly found Chioma Ubogagu with space, but the ball skipped through.

In the 32nd minute, Courage captain McCall Zerboni stepped around a Pride defender and into the box before launching a low shot denied by a kick save from Kopmeyer.

To close out the first half, there was a scramble in front of Orlando's goal in the 45th minute after a Courage corner kick. Kopmeyer batted the ball away, and after it was cleared, Courage defender Jaelene Hinkle played it toward the goal, hitting it off the top of the crossbar. 

May Team of the Month member Merritt Mathias put in another solid performance for the Courage. Photo: www.twitter.com/thenccourage
May Team of the Month member Merritt Mathias put in another solid performance for the Courage. Photo: www.twitter.com/thenccourage

Hamilton nabs first career hat trick

Persistence paid off for Hamilton in the 59th minute. Hinkle crossed the ball into the box, but Kopmeyer could not hold onto it, so it fell to Hamilton who was right in front of the goal. She easily put the ball into the net to give the Courage the lead.

She got her second goal of the night in the 66th minute off an assist from rookie Leah Pruitt. Pruitt did some nice work to shake off her defender and passed the ball to Hamilton who was just inside the box. Hamilton took a touch to find space to move past two Pride defenders and smashed a shot into the upper right corner.

She had another fantastic scoring opportunity in the 79th minute. Hinkle had the vision to slide the ball toward the goal, but it was just beyond the reach of Hamilton.

But those two players did not relent. In the 85th minute, Hinkle crossed the ball into the box, and Hamilton let it bounce once before hammering it home. 

This was the last match for both of these teams before the NWSL takes a two-week break for the Women's World Cup. They will both return to action on Saturday, June 15. The Pride (0-7-1) will travel to Houston, and the Courage (3-2-3) will host the Portland Thorns FC.

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