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2019 UWS Playoff Preview

07/11/2019, 3:00pm EDT
By UWS PR

Midwest kicks off tonight; East commences Friday night

UWS MIDWEST SEMIFINALS

Thursday, July 11

#1 Lansing United vs. #4 Grand Rapids FC
7:00 PM EDT | East Lansing Soccer Complex | MyCujoo

While Lansing United (8-1-1) were victorious over Grand Rapids FC (3-5-2) in both games this campaign in the Midwest Conference of United Women's Soccer (UWS), the fourth-place side gave the regular season champions all they could handle. Lansing won both games by a slim 2-1 margin and tonight's UWS Midwest Semifinal promises to be another tough contest. The last time the two teams faced each other was during Week V action on Friday, June 7. GRFC opened the scoring against United but allowed two second half goals in the loss at home. Riko Sagara scored for the defending Midwest champions in the 33rd minute. Lansing responded early in the second half as captain Dani Stephan fired a left-footed shot inside the near upper 90 from the top of the box. The visitors shocked the home crowd with the game winner in the 90th minute. GRFC could not clear the ball after a corner kick and second half substitute Kaley Buck one-timed her shot past goalkeeper Jordanne Ellingboe (six saves). Madison Clem made seven saves for United to get the win. Lansing won the regular season title in 2018 before succumbing to GRFC in the Midwest Final and will look to take the next step to the UWS National Championship (July 19-21) in 2019.

#2 Indiana Union vs. #3 Detroit Sun
6:30 PM EDT | Grand Park Event Center | MyCujoo

The Indiana Union (7-2-1) won both games against the Detroit Sun (4-6-0) this season, most recently during Week VII action. Indiana travelled to face Detroit at The Corner Ballpark: a new state-of-the-art facility located on the former grounds of historic Tiger Stadium. Two goals by the Union's leading scorer - midfielder Samantha Dewey (11g, 5a, 27 points) - propelled the visitors to a 2-1 victory over the Sun. The 27 points scored by the Xavier University star was great enough for second in UWS scoring during the regular season. Detroit made the trip to Indiana in Week IV and dropped a tough 3-2 loss on the road. It was the second game in as many nights for the Union. Dewey was the star again for Indiana, as she notched a goal and two assists. Cassidy Lindley opened the scoring in the 12th minute but the Sun immediately responded to tie the score on a Rachel Deluca goal. The Sun went up 2-1 in the 30th minute when Madison Schupbach dribbled in on goal and beat Union goalkeeper Hannah Sullivan. Six minutes later, Dewey tied the game at 2-2 and Monica Dolinsky tallied the game winner in the 85th minute. Indiana had last weekend off and are fresh for tonight's Midwest Semifinal while Detroit are on a roll after notching their first shutout of the season last Sunday.

UWS EAST SEMIFINALS

Friday, July 12

#2 Connecticut Fusion vs. #3 Lancaster Inferno
7:00 PM EDT | Farmington Sports Arena | MyCujoo

Friday night's UWS East Semifinal between the Connecticut Fusion (8-0-2) and Lancaster Inferno (7-3-0) will be the fifth all-time meeting (over the course of two seasons) and the second in the postseason. The teams traded wins in the regular season in 2018 as Connecticut won 2-0 at home on June 2nd and Lancaster won 1-0 a week later at Millersville University. In the 2018 UWS East Final, the Inferno defended their home turf with a 2-0 victory, sending them to the National Championship. In the only meeting this year, the Fusion won by a 1-0 score via a Lily Fabian header in the 76th minute game-winner off a Tori Sousa free kick. The home team has won every match by shutout and the all-time scoring history (3-3) is even as well. Something will give on Friday night. Sousa has been the epitome of consistency for Connecticut, being the only player to start in all 21 games in franchise history. The veteran forward posted 19 points this season (7g, 5a) and her five assists leads the league. She is the team's career leader in goals (16), assists (7) and points (39). This will be the third game in a week for both teams.

#1 New England Mutiny vs. #4 Long Island Rough Riders
7:30 PM EDT | Lusitano Stadium | MyCujoo

The second UWS East Semifinal will be the second meeting of this season between the New England Mutiny (8-0-2) and Long Island Rough Riders (5-5-0) - two of the longest tenured franchises in pro-am women's soccer history. The two teams met in Week II and the hosts of this Friday night's contest scored three answered goals to start the match en route to a 4-2 victory. Breukelen Woodard tallied the first goal in the 16th minute for New England and leading scorer Kate Howarth netted the second two in the 22nd and 31st minutes. Howarth ended the season as the league's leading scorer with 40 points (18g, 4a). Grace Hawkins cut the score to 3-1 in the 36th minute for the Rough Riders and the game stayed that way until midway in the second half. Howarth completed her hat trick for the Mutiny in the 69th minute. Kayla Saager's goal was a late consolation for the visitors. Both New England and Long Island had to battle until the final weekend to gain their spots in the UWS East playoffs. The Mutiny won on the road to capture first-place while the Rough Riders defeated fifth-place Syracuse to grab fourth-place and the final playoff spot.

UWS NATIONAL QUARTERFINAL

Saturday, July 13

LA Galaxy OC vs. Houston Aces
6:00 PM PDT | Orange County Great Park | MyCujoo

Saturday night's UWS National Quarterfinal between LA Galaxy OC (5-1-2) and the Houston Aces (6-0-0) will be a series of firsts, both for the teams and the league as well. In its fourth year of operation, UWS expanded their playoff format in 2019 and Los Angeles & Houston will battle it out for the fourth and final spot in the pro-am league's National Championship (July 19-21). The UWS Competition Committee decided on Monday to award LAGOC the Wild Card entry into the 2019 playoffs and the home game as well. This game will be the first-ever qualification match for the UWS Championship outside of conference competition and the first-ever meeting between the two teams as well. For the Aces, this will be the first match of 2019 outside the state of Texas. After a 6-0-0 regular season, Houston hopes that seven will be their lucky number. The Aces were a part of the UWS West - where LAGOC has finished in second-place the past two seasons - during the first year (2016) of this league. The Aces were mere minutes away from winning the West Conference in 2016 before going on hiatus in 2017 and than returning to the newly-formed Southwest in 2018. Houston has won two straight Southwest titles and are looking to recapture the UWS crown as the defending league champions.

Sunday, July 14

UWS EAST FINAL (TBD)

UWS MIDWEST FINAL (TBD)

Tag(s): News  Connecticut Fusion  Lancaster Inferno  LI Rough Riders  New England Mutiny  Detroit Sun  Grand Rapids FC  Indiana Union  Lansing United  Houston Aces  LA Galaxy