EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - The West Conference of United Women’s Soccer (UWS) rolled out the ball for their Summer 2016 season this past weekend, with the Santa Clarita Blue Heat and Colorado Pride both coming away with victories, but in much different circumstances. Santa Clarita rode a four-goal onslaught to end the first half in their big win over the Houston Aces, while the Pride were a resolute force amidst windy conditions in their 1-0 shutout victory over in-state rival Colorado Storm.
Continuing the spirit of the Blue Heat’s emphatic win over the Aces, forward Kodi Lavrusky has been named the UWS West Conference Offensive Player of the Week for her two-goal performance and prowess in the team’s attack. On the other side of the pitch, defender Alexis Long has been selected as the UWS West Defensive Player of the Week for her staunch role in the Pride’s fourth straight shutout against the Storm.
While it was Houston who scored first in last Saturday’s match at Houston Sports Park, it was the overall play of Lavrusky that powered Santa Clarita’s offense, not just her two goals. The former UCLA Bruin - widely known for her game-winning goal in the seventh minute of overtime in the 2013 NCAA Championship game against Florida State - evened the match vs. the Aces and was part of the four-goal run in the last 10 minutes of the first half that put the match out of reach. With so many scorers to choose from, it was a hard choice for the Blue Heat staff but her name (and influence in this win) rose above her other teammates.
The Pride would hold the overall run of play in their win over the Storm, but as with the case of derbies like the one between the two Colorado-based sides, one mistake could have proved fatal to a positive result. Cue the performance of Pride defender Lexi Long, as from her center back position she bottled up the Storm attack, had frequent clears of dangerous passes and numerous strong tackles to dispossess attackers in contributing to the clean sheet. The former Colorado College standout finished her career with the Tigers last fall, and was a two-time All-Conference selection.
Honorable Mention honors for both awards go out to the Pride’s Mariel Gutierrez on the offensive side of the pitch, as she dominated the two-way midfield play for her team and contributed the assist on the winning goal. On the defensive side, the Blue Heat’s Canadian defender Michelle Roy had a strong two-way performance herself (goal, assist) in the victory over Houston.
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.
UWS is managed by EDP, a leading soccer management company that runs a number of leagues and tournaments. In addition to UWS, EDP operates youth leagues that includes an NPL league, the EDP Super Club program, the EDP Premier League and the EDP Championship League. EDP also runs EDP Futures programs for U-7’s to U-12’s and it conducts more than 20 youth tournaments, including tournaments within its EDP Cup Series and EDP Showcase Series.
Media can contact UWS Director of Communications Jorma Kansanen by e-mail at Press@UWSSoccer.com. You can visit the league’s official website at UWSSoccer.com. Interested team applicants can contact League Commissioner Joe Ferrara by e-mail at Joe@UWSSoccer.com.