COLORADO PRIDE 2, SANTA CLARITA BLUE HEAT 2
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - For the first time in their three-year existence, the Colorado Pride will not qualify for the postseason. On Sunday afternoon at Washburn Field, the Pride (2-3-1) earned a 2-2 draw with the Santa Clarita Blue Heat, but with just two matches remaining in the inaugural UWS season, the best finish the team can secure is second-place in the West Conference. The Blue Heat (3-1-3) can still win the West, but need to defeat the Pride in their home rematch this Friday and hope the Houston Aces (3-3) don’t win their last two games this weekend. If the Aces and Blue Heat are tied, Houston wins via the second round of tiebreakers (total wins).
Things looked promising early for the Pride as they came out with high pressure and took the lead 10 minutes into the match, when Washington State star Kaitlyn Johnson scored from close range after a perfect 20-yard cross from Madison Wiegand Brown. But Santa Clarita scored twice in the first half, starting in the 19th minute when Kodi Lavrusky got behind the Pride defense on a nice pass from Julia Hernandez for the equalizer. The Blue Heat went up a goal in the 33rd minute when Arielle Roy-Petitclerc sent in a rebound from a shot by Chloe Castaneda. Pride goalkeeper Katie Ruff (two saves, subbed at halftime) made a nice diving stop on the initial shot but couldn’t prevent a rebound.
The Pride knew they had to win to stay in the playoff hunt and played like it in the second half. The equalizer came in the 64th minute, as Pride defender Lexi Long navigated into the box, got off a shot but was pulled down in the process. University of Central Florida standout Julia Moore would convert the penalty kick for the 2-2 final score. Tanner Haughn’s header in stoppage time just missed the mark for the home side. SC keeper JoJo McCaskill (three saves) was critical down the stretch, eating away clock via her long punts. The Pride would out-shoot the Blue Heat by a 11-6 margin.
COLORADO STORM 1, SANTA CLARITA BLUE HEAT 5
THORNTON, CO - On Friday night at 5 Star Stadium, the Colorado Storm could not duplicate their result from earlier in the season against the Santa Clarita Blue Heat, and instead surrendered four first half goals en route to a 5-1 loss. On June 2nd, the Storm (1-4-2) traveled to southern California for their first road game of the season, and came away with a 1-1 draw against the favored Blue Heat side. Santa Clarita would show them no favors in this match, as they came out of the gates firing on all cylinders.
Chloe Castaneda continued her fine run of form lately for the Blue Heat, as the defending West Conference Offensive Player of the Week scored in the 17th minute on an assist from Kasandra Massey for the early 1-0 lead. Kodi Lavrusky doubled Santa Clarita’s advantage in the 27th minute with her fourth goal of 2016 on an assist by Yadira Toraya. The high-scoring defender would than add her third goal of the season in the 36th minute with thanks to Castaneda. Kelsey Gudgeon notched her first goal in the 43rd minute on a penalty kick to conclude the visitor’s scoring in the first half.
Julia Hernandez would net the fifth Blue Heat goal and her third of the season in the 67th minute with Gabrielle Matulich tallying her first assist of the year. The only Storm goal of the night would come in the 87th minute, as Marina Schachowskoj’s penalty kick would provide some late consolation for the hosts. Cristina Salazar would pick up the loss in goal for the Storm, making no saves, as Jalen Tompkins came on at halftime. Jojo McCaskill got the win for Santa Clarita, making two saves while Siri Ervik came on as a late substitute. The Blue Heat out-shot the Storm by a 14-11 margin.
REAL SALT LAKE WOMEN 5, COLORADO PRIDE 0
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - Real Salt Lake Women played their final regular season match last Thursday night at East High School, and sent their supporters home happy with a final score of 5-0 against the Colorado Pride for their first win at home this season (1-1-2 in four games) and their first-ever sweep of a UWS opponent. It was a much different match for the Real Women (4-2-2) than the 3-2 away win from three weeks ago that saw three lead changes, with the hosts taking advantage of a Pride club who hadn’t played since that game.
Kira Sharp’s corner kick in the 10th minute bounced around a few players before finding the feet of team captain Natalie Norris. Her shot was grabbed by Pride goalkeeper Katie Ruff (four saves) who was unable to stop her momentum from taking the ball across the line for a 1-0 RSL lead. The Pride found their legs as the game progressed and started to put together some good looks in attack, but RSL doubled the lead in the 34th minute as Sharp played a nice ball to Bayley Bruner inside the penalty area. Bruner cut back to her left to shake the defender, then curled a left-footed shot past Ruff and inside the far post for the goal.
The second half began with RSL still pressing to score. Sharp would make her final mark on the match as her run in on goal in the 60th minute saw her taken down inside the box by a slide tackle from behind. Bizzy Phillips stepped up to take the penalty and converted to put RSL ahead 3-0. Just four minutes later, RSL forward Madie Lyons looped a shot from 28 yards out on the right flank that beat Ruff and tucked into the upper left corner of the goal to make the score 4-0. The final score came through sub Jess Vanderveur, who ran onto a ball played over the defense by Alexis Robison, and collected it in time to place a shot just out of reach for RSL’s highest scoring match in UWS.
Rebecca Ritchie would get the win in goal for the Real Women (five saves). RSL would also out-shoot the Pride by a 10-6 margin. Now, first-place Real Salt Lake will have to wait until the rest of the UWS West contenders finish their respective schedules to see if they will host the UWS National Final on the weekend of July 30-31. Santa Clarita needs a win in their final regular season match on July 15th against the Pride to propel them past RSL. The Real Women will also have to wait on the Houston Aces, who need to win both their games this weekend to catapult them into first-place.
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.