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UWS West Conference

Regular Season 2017

Recent UWS West Conference News

Grands Rapids FC Women 3, Santa Clarita Blue Heat 1

07/23/2017, 12:00am EDT
By Admin

GRFC defender Michaela Kovacs named 2017 UWS Championship MVP

GRANDVILLE, MI - The Grand Rapids FC Women faced an uphill battle in both games of the 2017 United Women’s Soccer (UWS) Championship at Grandville High School and in the end, reached the summit. The GRFC Women (12-1-1) came back from an early deficit and forced extra time for the second straight match in tonight’s UWS National Final against the defending UWS champion Santa Clarita Blue Heat (9-1), notching two goals in the first overtime session to win by a 3-1 score. With the victory, the first-year organization captured the 2017 UWS Championship title.

The team’s first-ever signing - central defender Michaela Kovacs - was named the 2017 UWS Championship Most Valuable Player. Kovacs scored a late game-tying goal to force a penalty kick shootout in Grand Rapids’ eventual National Semifinal win over Long Island on Friday night and helped hold a skillful Santa Clarita attack to one early goal in Saturday night’s league-clinching tilt. Attendance for tonight’s championship match was a capacity crowd of 1,074 with over 1,800+ fans overall attending the tournament.

“What an amazing weekend and incredible event,” said Grand Rapids FC Head Coach Lewis Robinson. “UWS put on a showcase of women’s soccer tonight. When we got to overtime, we knew our fans would make it 12 players against 11… singing throughout the match. They were incredible.”

“This was an incredible tournament,” said UWS Commissioner Joe Ferrara, Jr. “The games were absolutely ridiculous and the atmosphere was as electric as I’ve ever seen. Women’s soccer ruled this night!”

The Blue Heat came out of the gates on a mission to win back-to-back UWS titles and in the 14th minute, converted on a beautifully-built up passing sequence. Forward Carolina Venegas sent in forward Deyna Castellanos on the left flank and the Florida State University star served in a right-footed cross to the back post. Forward Kodi Lavrusky skillfully one-timed her volley past GRFC goalkeeper Reilley Ott for the early 1-0 lead. But Grand Rapids responded right away, as forward Lizzie Paul capitalized on a Lavrusky miscue to send midfielder Marti Corby in on goal. Corby fired her left-footed shot inside the far post past Santa Clarita keeper Ryann Torrero to tie the score at 1-1.

From there, the game settled down into a midfield war with both teams fighting for a quality scoring chance. In the 32nd minute, Lavrusky couldn’t take advantage of a rare defensive mistake from Kovacs while Torrero tipped a shot from Paul away for a corner kick in the 43rd minute. The second half was a back-and-forth encounter with offense coming from long-range shots: the most dangerous of which occurred in the 64th minute when Ott had to tip a Castellanos free kick from 40 yards out over the cross bar for a Blue Heat corner kick. The GRFC keeper snagged a dangerous service by Castellanos from the right flank off the head of Venegas in the 88th minute to preserve the draw going into overtime.

Seven minutes into the first overtime, a long-range free kick from Corby near the center circle was allowed to bounce in the Santa Clarita penalty area. Forward Riko Sagara’s turn and half-volley beat Torrero - who was injured on a collision on the play - for the eventual game-winning goal. The Blue Heat almost tied the match at 2-2 in the 103rd minute, but Ott tipped Castellanos’ free kick off the cross bar and away from harm. The next minute, midfielder Annie Steinlage won a 50-50 ball and forward Avery Lockwood collected the loose ball. Her pass sent forward Bethany Balcer in on goal and the team’s leading scorer tallied the insurance goal past substitute keeper Jojo McCaskill for the 3-1 final score.

2017 ALL-CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM

F KODI LAVRUSKY (Santa Clarita Blue Heat)
F EVDOKIA POPADINOVA (Detroit Sun FC)
F ERICA MODINA (Long Island Rough Riders)
MF MARTI CORBY (Grand Rapids FC Women)
MF DEYNA CASTELLANOS (Santa Clarita Blue Heat)
MF KIMBERLY MARRA (Long Island Rough Riders)
MF ANNIE STEINLAGE (Grand Rapids FC Women)
D NATALIE KUIKKA (Santa Clarita Blue Heat)
D MICHAELA KOVACS (Grand Rapids FC Women) *
D LAUREN SESSELMANN (Santa Clarita Blue Heat)
GK REILLEY OTT (Grand Rapids FC Women)

* Championship MVP

About United Women’s Soccer (UWS): UWS is a national women’s soccer league sanctioned by U.S. Soccer through the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA). UWS is a professionally operated league created for teams that meet high minimum standards. The season runs from May until the end of July, culminating in a National Championship match. The UWS player pool is comprised of college players, aspiring & former professionals and international stars. You can follow UWS on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Media can contact UWS Director of Communications Jorma Kansanen by e-mail at UWSPress@gmail.com. You can visit the league’s official website at UWSSoccer.com. Interested team applicants can contact League Commissioner Joe Ferrara, Jr. by e-mail at Joe@UWSSoccer.com.

Santa Clarita Blue Heat 3, Detroit Sun FC 0

07/21/2017, 7:15pm EDT
By Admin

Three different scorers lead Santa Clarita to 2017 UWS Final

GRANDVILLE, MI - The Santa Clarita Blue Heat (9-0) took the final step towards defending their 2016 United Women’s Soccer (UWS) title on Friday afternoon at Grandville High School, defeating Detroit Sun FC (7-3-3) by a 3-0 score in the first UWS National Semifinal. Santa Clarita now moves on to Saturday night’s 2017 UWS National Championship match and will take on the winner of tonight’s second National Semifinal between the Grand Rapids FC Women (10-1-1) and the Long Island Rough Riders (8-2-1). The Blue Heat were led by three different scorers as midfielder Deyna Castellanos tallied the eventual game-winner in first half stoppage time to send her side to the National Final.

“It was truly an amazing effort from our team today,” said Santa Clarita Owner and Technical Director Carlos Marroquin. “Detroit were a tough team but our patience showed through. We got great performances from many players, and from all over the field. We’re honored to defend our 2016 national title and will bring our best on Saturday night.”

Even though the Blue Heat were victorious in the end, it was the Sun offense that shone early as they had an early scoring chance. But Santa Clarita would methodically put their stamp on the match, and Detroit goalkeeper Caitlyn Clem proved to be the difference on defense and offense for her team. Blue Heat forward Carolina Venegas was thwarted by Clem in the 12th minute and than the University of Wisconsin shot-stopper punched away a free kick four minutes later. In the 21st minute, Clem tipped a 35-yard blast over the cross bar from defender Natalie Kuikka. But in the 40th minute, Blue Heat keeper Ryann Torrero had to fly out of goal to punch away a dangerous, long-range free kick from Clem herself.

As the first half winded down, Santa Clarita’s attack became more & more ruthless and in injury time, they recycled a defensive clearance back towards the Sun penalty area and Venegas gathered the ball and fed Castellanos in on goal. The Florida State star finished clinically with her left foot inside the near post for the 1-0 score. Detroit opened up the second half with a offensive flurry but the West Conference champions steadily got their foothold back on the tempo of the match. In the 63rd minute, Castellanos fired in a free kick from the right flank that defender Lauren Sesselmann got her head on. Forward Kodi Lavrusky finished the ball off for the 2-0 lead.

Five minutes later, the Blue Heat broke the Sun offside trap and midfielder Chloe Castaneda and Castellanos were sent in on a 2v1 opportunity against Clem. Castaneda juked the beleaguered keeper and passed the ball into the open net for the final 3-0 score. Santa Clarita finished out the match and now look to be in good shape to defend their 2016 UWS title on Saturday night at Grandville High School.

About United Women’s Soccer (UWS): UWS is a national women’s soccer league sanctioned by U.S. Soccer through the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA). UWS is a professionally operated league created for teams that meet high minimum standards. The season runs from May until the end of July, culminating in a National Championship match. The UWS player pool is comprised of college players, aspiring & former professionals and international stars. You can follow UWS on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Media can contact UWS Director of Communications Jorma Kansanen by e-mail at UWSPress@gmail.com. You can visit the league’s official website at UWSSoccer.com. Interested team applicants can contact League Commissioner Joe Ferrara, Jr. by e-mail at Joe@UWSSoccer.com.

2017 United Women's Soccer Championship

07/19/2017, 9:45am EDT
By Admin

Friday’s National Semifinal matchups have been confirmed

METUCHEN, NJ - United Women’s Soccer (UWS) has officially announced the match details for the upcoming 2017 National Championship (July 21-22) held at Grandville High School in Grandville, MI. In the first National Semifinal (4:30 PM EDT kickoff) on Friday, the West Conference champion & defending UWS title-holders Santa Clarita Blue Heat (8-0) will take on Detroit Sun FC (7-2-3), the Midwest Conference runner-ups and “wild card” seed. In the second National Semifinal (7:30 PM EDT kickoff) on Friday, the Midwest champion Grand Rapids FC Women (10-1-1) go up against East Conference champion Long Island Rough Riders (8-2-1).

The Semifinal winners will take the pitch on Saturday, July 22nd at 7:30 PM EDT for the 2017 UWS Championship. Santa Clarita were first to automatically qualify via winning the West regular season title while Grand Rapids won the four-team Midwest playoff last Sunday for the second berth. Long Island defeated defending conference champion New Jersey by a 5-1 score last night in the East Final to secure the automatic berth from that conference. Detroit was awarded the fourth & final spot in this weekend’s tournament as the “wild card” seed. Tickets can be purchased HERE and the tournament can be viewed online live via this LINK.

2017 UWS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP (Grandville, MI) [Video]

NATIONAL SEMIFINALS (Friday, July 21) [Tickets]

4:30 PM EDT - Santa Clarita Blue Heat (8-0) vs. Detroit Sun FC (7-2-3)

7:30 PM EDT - Grand Rapids FC Women (10-1-1) vs. Long Island Rough Riders (8-2-1)

NATIONAL FINAL (Saturday, July 22) [Tickets]

7:30 PM EDT - Semifinal winners

About United Women’s Soccer (UWS): UWS is a national women’s soccer league sanctioned by U.S. Soccer through the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA). UWS is a professionally operated league created for teams that meet high minimum standards. The season runs from May until the end of July, culminating in a National Championship match. The UWS player pool is comprised of college players, aspiring & former professionals and international stars. You can follow UWS on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Media can contact UWS Director of Communications Jorma Kansanen by e-mail at UWSPress@gmail.com. You can visit the league’s official website at UWSSoccer.com. Interested team applicants can contact League Commissioner Joe Ferrara, Jr. by e-mail at Joe@UWSSoccer.com.