MADISON — Lindsay Stevenson is admittedly not all the way back from her bout with mononucleosis, but she was healthy enough Tuesday night to give Hand fits.
Stevenson scored twice to help the Mercy soccer team defeat Hand 3-0 at the Surf Club.
“I’m not in the best shape I could be, but I’m definitely getting there,” Stevenson said. “On the field, I make sure I pace myself.”
Stevenson, a senior forward, said she contracted mono on Aug. 17. After being in bed for several weeks, she returned to the field in time for last Thursday’s season opener against Lauralton Hall.
Stevenson said she is at “75 percent” and hopes to be at full tilt by next week,
The visiting Tigers (2-0) only lost three games all of last season — twice to Shelton, including in the SCC tournament final, a place this group wants to get back to and take the next step this time.
“We do like the pieces that we have,” Mercy coach Marcus Harley said. “As long as we can stay injury-free. We are working on our stamina and fitness. We do think we can match what we did last year.”
Stevenson was able to dribble down the field virtually uncontested for her goal 9 minutes into the game. She was able to knock the shot into the bottom right-hand corner by goalkeeper Madison Thomas.
“I knew she was on one side, so I placed it to the far corner.”
Stevenson ripped a long shot into the net for her second goal early in the second half. Emma McMurray had the assist.
“On those two goals, she showed composure,” Harley said.
Hand was not able to generate a shot in the first half and had just two overall. Harley said denying Hand senior Kayla Howard the ball up top — which Mercy did with success — and “slow down” Maya Howard, a freshman and Kayla’s sister, were the keys to the shutout.
Hand was coming off a 5-0 shutout loss to rival Guilford on Saturday night.
“I’m not surprised at all because we are really young and inexperienced. It’s tough to start the season with your rival at their place,” Hand coach Dave Dikranian said. “In the second half, we got exposed because of that inexperience.”
Hand started three freshmen Tuesday night. Due to a combination of injuries and players not returning, the team needed to make that move. So it will take time to gain experience against some tough opposition.
But Dikranian did see improvements from the Guilford loss.
“We cleaned up a lot of those mistakes. I sincerely feel we played (Mercy) even, but we had a couple of breakdowns that cost us,” Dikranian said. “A lot of young players. They’re going are going to make mistakes. I don’t think we were outplayed by what is supposed to be one of the best teams in the state.”
Mercy last win in the series came on Oct. 18, 2011. The two teams have not played every year since, including last season.
Kaila Lujambio put the finishing touches on Mercy’s victory by putting a penalty kick by goalkeeper Brooke Salutari (who played in the second half) with 2:35 left. The kick was awarded due to a handball in the box.