HOUSTON ACES 2, COLORADO PRIDE 2
HOUSTON, TX - The race for the West Conference title in United Women’s Soccer (UWS) came down to the final game of the regular season on Sunday night, when the Houston Aces hosted the Colorado Pride at Houston Sports Park. Houston (4-3-1) needed to win the game to capture the West crown, while the Pride (2-4-2) could once again fulfill the role of spoilers. The visitors did just that, as the Pride’s leading scorer Briana Rohmer netted the equalizer in second-half stoppage time and broke Aces hearts in the 2-2 draw.
With that result, the Santa Clarita Blue Heat were awarded the West title and the right to host the 2016 UWS National Final the weekend of July 30-31. Santa Clarita will take on East champion New Jersey Copa F.C. in the inaugural championship of the national pro-am league. Full information on the 2016 UWS National Final will be released in the coming days.
Houston came out of the gates firing on all cylinders in this match, pressuring Colorado’s defense and forcing Pride goalkeeper Katie Ruff into three early saves. The visitors would respond in the 21st minute, when Lauren Milliet converted Kaitlyn Johnson’s service into a goal. The Aces would again exert themselves on attack, and it would pay off in the 41st minute. After a Pride turnover, Gisela Arrieta Bettencourt fired a 20-yard shot past Ruff for the equalizing goal.
Shortly after halftime in the 51st minute, Houston took the 2-1 lead they needed when a direct kick by Lindsay South Hamner ricocheted off the crossbar and Paige Hayward cleaned up the rebound. Time ticked away and the play between both teams became frantic. Four minutes of stoppage time was announced and it took the Pride three minutes to disappoint the hosts. Milliet again was key as she slotted a ball behind the defense, and Rohmer ran onto it and connected for the final score.
SANTA CLARITA BLUE HEAT 4, COLORADO PRIDE 2
SANTA CLARITA, CA - On Friday night at The Master’s College, the Santa Clarita Blue Heat had only one scenario to win the West title and that was to emerge victorious over the Colorado Pride and than hope Sunday night’s result in Houston would go their way. Everything fell in place for them in their last regular season game, as the Blue Heat (4-1-3) scored the first two goals of the match and fended off a Pride comeback bid in the 4-2 victory.
Santa Clarita knew they needed the win and started the match on the front foot. Their strong start to the match was rewarded in the 22nd minute. Chloe Castaneda fed Julia Hernandez in on goal and she flicked her shot over the head of Pride goalkeeper Kaylyn Smith for the opening goal. Four minutes later, the Blue Heat were awarded a free kick wide out on the left flank. Kelsey Gudgeon fired her shot on goal inside the far post for the 2-0 lead.
The Pride would slowly get into the match, and halved the score in the 38th minute. Colorado got a free kick just outside the penalty area, and Kaitlyn Johnson’s attempt at goal could not be corralled by Santa Clarita keeper JoJo McCaskill. Defender Mykiaa Minniss finished off the rebound for the 2-1 score going into halftime. The game would go back and forth to start the second half, and the visitors would tie the score at 2-2 in the 60th minute.
Minniss pushed forward in transition and got on the end of a pass from Madison Wiegand Brown to score the equalizing goal. Eight minutes later, the home side would get the game-winner as Hernandez notched her second goal of the match as she headed in Kasandra Massey’s well-fashioned cross for the 3-2 lead. Massey would net the insurance goal in the 86th minute for her team-leading 13th point of the season.
HOUSTON ACES 2, COLORADO STORM 0
HOUSTON, TX - The Houston Aces forced the West title race to go to the conference’s last regular season match of the season on Friday night at Houston Sports Park. Two first half goals powered the hosts over the Colorado Storm (1-5-2), who also had to deal with the ejection of their Head Coach Brian Haynes in the 40th minute of play. Hopefully it wasn’t a bitter end for the Storm to their UWS West campaign, as even though they finished in last place, they were a handful for every opponent they faced this season.
Houston scored the first goal in the 30th minute, as Gisela Arrieta Bettencourt converted on a pass from Paige Hayward for the 1-0 lead. Two minutes later, Nicole Haimes notched her first tally of the season on an assist from Mariana Diaz Leal Arrellaga. The 2-0 lead would last the remainder of regulation and the Aces would go on to Sunday’s penultimate match against the Colorado Pride with an opportunity to win the West Conference championship.
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.