CALGARY, AB - It was an early shift in the momentum of the first United Women's Soccer (UWS) National Semifinal that provided to be decisive in the final result. LA Galaxy OC (7-1-2) rode the wave of a four-goal explosion in a span of 14 minutes in the first half to go on to defeat the Midwest Conference champion Indiana Union (9-3-1) by a 5-1 score. Forward Catarina Macario - the reigning Hermann Trophy winner for Stanford University - scored a brace while former U.S. Women's National Team star Natasha Kai and midfielders Jordan Marada & Taylor Kornieck completed the scoring for the UWS West second-place side. Click HERE for the full MyCujoo broadcast. LAGOC will now await the winner of the second National Semifinal as host and two-time West Conference champion Calgary Foothills WFC (6-1-1) takes on the UWS East champs Lancaster Inferno (9-3-0) at the Stadium Field of Mount Royal University in the night cap.
Macario stated her intentions early in the match, driving forward from the left flank in the eighth minute but her shot from top of penalty area went wide of the far post. Four minutes later, Marada deftly kept the ball away from the defense in the center of the pitch and slotted Kai in on goal. The Olympic Gold Medalist cooly finished her shot underneath Indiana goalkeeper Kaitlyn Hicks (one save) for the 1-0 lead. The Union responded almost immediately with a quality scoring chance themselves when forward Allison Whitfield got on the end of a long ball over the top. LA Galaxy OC keeper Hillary Beall (two saves) ran out to cut down her shooting angle and it succeeded as Whitfield's chip shot flew just wide of the net. On the ensuing move up field, Marada collected a harmless ball from the right flank in the center of the pitch but her long-range shot surprised Hicks. The ball tucked underneath the cross bar for the 2-0 score and it proved to be the eventual game winning goal.
The LAGOC offense went into high gear after that as Macario scored her first of the match in the 21st minute. Kornieck sent the Stanford star in on goal and her skillful finish made it a 3-0 game. Five minutes later, Marada attempted another long-range shot on the diminutive Indiana keeper but the ball hit the cross bar this time. The ball bounced down into the middle of the box and Kornieck tucked home the rebound for 4-0 lead. Even with the scoreline becoming quickly lopsided, the Union did not give up and gradually grew into the game. As the first half wound down, Beall had to come up on a number of occasions with a key block or catch. In the 42nd minute, Indiana finally got on the score board when their leading scorer - midfielder Samantha Dewey - tallied her 13th goal of the year. The Xavier University standout got on the end of a long ball fro midfielder Monica Dolinsky and slashed her shot past Beall for the 4-1 score going into halftime. In the 53rd minute, Macario collected a failed clearance at top of box and fired a rocket inside the far upper 90 for the final goal of the match.