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Loud and clear: New Hampshire women shine in international soccer match

New Hampshire Union Leader

January 15. 2014 6:54PM
Milford's Morgan Andrews (7) heads a ball during the United States' 6-0 victory over Costa Rica in the opening round of the CONCACAF Women's Under-20 Championships in George Town, the Cayman Islands. Andrews had an assist in the game. (CONCACAF VIA MEXSPORT)

Morgan Andrews said the United States delivered a powerful message with its 10-0 rout of Guatemala Monday in the CONCACAF Women's Soccer Under-20 Championship Monday night.

"We made a statement — sent a message to the rest of the teams here that we mean business," the Milford resident said by phone from the Cayman Islands, where the tournament is taking place.

That statement had a distinctive New Hampshire accent, with Andrews delivering an assist and teammate Rachel Hill of Rollinsford totaling a goal and four assists. After the game, Hill was named Woman of the Match by, and Andrews was named Player of the Match by CONCACAF's Technical Study Group.

The victory over Guatemala clinched a berth for the U.S. in Friday's semifinals, with the unbeaten Americans scheduled to play Trinidad and Tobago at 7 p.m. in a match to be broadcast on Fox's Soccer Plus channel and Soccer 2GO website.

Mexico faces Costa Rica in Friday's 4 p.m. match, with the two semifinal winners and the winner of Sunday's third-place game qualifying for the 2014 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup in Canada.The U.S. is a prohibitive favorite, having beaten Costa Rica 6-0 and Jamaica 3-0 in group play before Monday's rout of Guatemala.

"That's our No. 1 goal right now: qualifying for the World Cup," said Andrews. "We have a very talented team. I've played with and known many of the girls on our team from years past."

Andrews served as captain of the 2012 United States CONCACAF U-17 Championship and FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup teams.

As a high school student, Andrews was the first two-time winner of Gatorade's National Player of the Year Award in girls' soccer. She also was a two-time winner of the New Hampshire Union Leader's Player of the Year award for girls' soccer and last year received the newspaper's Red Rolfe Award as the state's top amateur female athlete.

Andrews just completed her freshman season at the University of Notre Dame, leading the Fighting Irish with 19 points. She earned Atlantic Coast Conference Freshman of the Year honors.

"She's a great player,'' Hill said of Andrews. "She sees the field so well, and she's so good at setting up players for goals."

A graduate of Somersworth High and University of Connecticut freshman, Hill said she never played against Andrews in high school.

"The only other time we played together was when we attended a soccer camp when we were 14 years old," she said. "It's really cool that we're both on this team representing our small state."

Hill set the state girls' soccer scoring record in high school and, like Andrews, was a two-time Union Leader All-State selection.

She enjoyed a successful freshman season at UConn, leading the Huskies in almost ever offensive category, including goals (13), assists (5) and shooting percentage (.153). That performance earned her first-team all-league honors from the American Athletic Conference.

Monday's goal was Hill's first in international competition, her penalty kick in the 48th minute giving the United States a commanding 5-0 lead.

"Rachel, in a quiet way, is a confident player who takes advantage of every opportunity on the field," said Andrews. "She's a great friend, and it's nice to have someone from home who knows our own culture."

New Hampshire Sports Soccer