SATURDAY, JULY 7
ROCHESTER, NY – Inferno Rush got their weekend in the Western New York region off to a fine start as they defeated Rochester 3-1 at the Marina Auto Stadium. In a match where points were vital for both teams, it was the hosts who got on the board first as Brooke Barbuto continued her fantastic season by burying her eighth goal of the season in the 27th minute. It was a tremendous solo effort from the former Stony Brook product as she made a winding run through the attacking third and ripped a shot from the top of the box past Inferno goalkeeper Kelly O’Brien. But the Lady Lancers lead was short lived as in the 38th minute, Week VIII UWS Defensive Player of the Week Ashley Chilcoat dispossessed her defender in the midfield and played a well-weighted ball inside the area to find Haley Crawford, who slipped it past Rochester’s goalie Kenna Kosinski for the equalizer. Moments later, the Rush went ahead as Kendra Jones played a perfect cross to Crawford from the left flank and the James Madison University product half-volleyed the service home for her second of the day. Rochester almost equalized right after Crawford's second as Taylor Wingerden hammered a shot off the post but the score remained 2-1 to Inferno at half. Rochester had to throw caution to the wind in the second half as a loss would make their journey for a playoff spot much more challenging, but the Inferno defense wouldn’t break. Eventually, the visitors scored an insurance goal in second half stoppage time when Ryelle Shuey lobbed Kosinski from 30 yards out after the Lady Lancers failed to clear their line, solidifying the three points for the Rush. The result didn’t eliminate Rochester from a playoff spot but in order to reach the East Conference Championship Game, they have to defeat Western New York and get some help from elsewhere.
WEST WINDSOR, NJ – It was a must-win game for both New Jersey and New England on Saturday afternoon as anything less than three points for either side would eliminate them from postseason contention. Kate Howarth continued her fine 2018 campaign by getting the scoring started in the 10th minute when she corralled a loose ball that was knocked down from a cross and put it away. Not more than a minute later, Howarth bagged her second of the day as after holding the ball up in the middle of the field, she sent a ball out wide to Melina Couzis, who in turn whipped in a great cross to the back post for Howarth to finish off. The Mutiny then extended their lead to 3-0 in the 24th minute as Syracuse Orange striker Sydney Brackett scored her fifth goal of the season by ripping a left footed effort from the top of the box past Courtney Brosnan in goal. Credit NJCFC for not hanging their heads after the early rush from the visitors as Jeanine Nunez pulled a goal back in the 24th minute by hammered home Alana O’Neill’s low cross. That 3-1 scoreline held through halftime and through the early stages of the second half, before Nunez scored her second of the day in the 66th minute. The two-goal day for the Adelphi product was the fourth two-goal game of her UWS career, as she had one in the 2016 season and two in 2017. But the Mutiny were able to hang on to the advantage for the final 20-plus minutes to keep their season alive while NJCFC, despite a valiant attempt at a comeback, were eliminated from postseason play with the loss.
HEMPSTEAD, NY – As results start coming in from elsewhere in the East Conference, Long Island knew that they needed to keep pace with the rest of the pack with a win of their own. They got off to a quick start against Worcester as Adelphi Unversity product Morgan Santoro scored in the fourth minute. But the Smiles, after all the struggles that they’ve experienced in the last few weeks, pushed for the equalizer and got their goal in the 15th minute from Jessica Ong. Kayla Saagar scored the go-ahead tally in the 28th minute and while Smiles’ goalkeeper Brittany Henderson had a busy first half, it looked like the 2-1 score would hold to halftime. But Saagar scored her second of the day in the 44th minute and gave the Rough Riders all the momentum heading into the locker room. And they used that extra boost of confidence by going out and scoring six goals in the second half. Santoro bagged three in the second stanza, giving her four on the day, while Erica Modena, Christine Tesoriero and Marisa Garcia each tallied one. Henderson despite her valiant effort in the Worcester goal, was pulled after 66 minutes but not before posting a UWS-season high 18 saves. Jillian Zinkus stopped two shots for the Smiles in relief while UWS Week VIII Team of the Week member Kelsey Daugherty stopped two in the winning effort.
BUFFALO, NY – Saturday night’s contest at D’Youville College was a monumental one for both Western New York and Connecticut. A win for the Flash would have all but solidified their spot in the East Conference Championship Game while a victory for the Fusion would keep their postseason hopes alive. After picking up just one point in their last three matches, Connecticut wanted to get off to a fast start on the road and University of Hartford product Chanel Johnson stepped up to the challenge. She netted a brace inside of 25 minutes, scoring her first in the 8th minute by latching onto Stephanie Santos’ service and beating Flash goalie Megan Tock and then finished off a chance in the 24th minute to give her side a two-goal cushion. That was when the Flash started picking up the urgency and started pressing every chance they could. Unfortunately for Western New York, Fusion goalkeeper Meghan Dalton was on her game, as she thwarted attack after attack and ended the day with a season-high eight saves. Chloe Deysler ended Dalton’s bid for a shutout with an 84th minute tally but the hosts couldn’t score an equalizer in the remaining minutes, giving the Fusion all three points. With Connecticut playing a pair of matches next week, two wins and the Flash losing one of their two remaining games would put the expansion side in the East Conference Championship Game.
SUNDAY, JULY 8
BUFFALO, NY – For the second straight weekend, the Inferno Rush swept their two-match weekend as they completed their Western New York region swing by defeating the Flash 4-2 on a warm afternoon at D’Youville College. With the win, Inferno Rush have clinched the top spot in the East Conference regular season standings and a spot in the East Conference Championship Game. After scoring a brace in Saturday’s win at Rochester, Haley Crawford was at it again by giving the Rush a lead in the 11th minute, extending her goal-scoring streak to four straight. The Flash were without Carissima Cutrona in their match on Saturday evening but got her back for Sunday’s contest and the University of Buffalo striker was influential for the hosts’ first goal, as she assisted Marcella Barberic’s 35th minute equalizer. After the 1-1 scoreline held through halftime, the show was Crawford’s as she scored three times inside of ten minutes after the 2nd half kickoff to put the game out of reach. The JMU striker tallied goals in the 47th, 51st and 55th minute, upping her season total to ten goals, and nine in a four-game stretch. Cutrona picked up a consolation goal in the 89th minute, her eighth strike of the 2018 season, but it wasn’t enough for the Flash, who dropped their second match in as many days. The Flash still have a very realistic chance of meeting the Rush in the East Conference Championship Game as a win against Rochester at home next week and having Connecticut fail to win either of their final two games will be enough to secure their spot.
About United Women's Soccer:
UWS is a national women’s soccer league sanctioned by U.S. Soccer. 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.
Media can contact the UWS Communications office by e-mail at UWSPress@gmail.com. You can visit the league’s official website at UWSSoccer.com. Interested team applicants can contact League Commissioner Joe Ferrara, Jr. by e-mail at Joe@UWSSoccer.com.