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Regular Season 2018
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New Jersey Copa F.C.

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2018 UWS All-East Conference Awards

08/02/2018, 2:00pm EDT
By Admin

Barbuto, Crawford named Co-OFF POY, Inferno's O'Brien, Cleaves take home DEF POY and Coach award

METUCHEN, NJ - Of the four conferences in the 2018 UWS season, none were more competitive from top to bottom than the East Conference. Heading into the final week of the regular season, five different teams were fighting for the second spot in the UWS East Conference Championship Game and there was only a five-point gap in the final standings between second and seventh place. One of the UWS charter members, Inferno Rush, had a season to remember as after a pair of mid-table finishes in previous years, they won the East Conference Regular Season and Championship Game titles and advanced to the UWS National Final before being narrowly edged by Houston.

East Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Year - Brooke Barbuto (Rochester Lady Lancers)

The former Stony Brook midfielder was an integral part of making a Rochester team that earned only one point in the 2017 season to becoming a playoff contender in 2018. She started all ten matches for the Lady Lancers and never left the field while scoring eight goals and assisting on two others. Those marks secured her a top-five finish in UWS for both goals and points (18) categories along with leading all midfielders in those categories as well. She is one of only three players to be named to a UWS Team of the Week three times and also netted an honorable mention, making her the player to most frequent that list.

East Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Year - Haley Crawford (Inferno Rush)

It was a breakout season for the James Madison University striker as Haley Crawford finished in second place in UWS for goals and tied for third in total points. Crawford finished the campaign with a flurry by scoring in four of the last five regular season matches, including tallying all four goals for Inferno in their 4-2 road win against Western New York in Week IX, which secured the East Conference Regular Season title for the team. But her big moment came in the UWS National Semifinals as during a driving rainstorm, she guided the Rush to a 4-3 victory over Grand Rapids FC Women by scoring a hat trick, helping them reach their first UWS National Final.

East Conference Defensive Player of the Year - Kelly O'Brien (Inferno Rush)

The Inferno Rush were one of the toughest teams to break down all season long and a key reason behind it was the stellar goalkeeping play of Kelly O'Brien. She was the only goalie across all conferences to earn a Defensive Player of the Year award in 2018 and was named the Defensive Player of the Week back in Week V. The former Lafayette Leopard posted four clean sheets in the regular season and shut out Connecticut in the East Conference Championship Game to send her team to the UWS National Championship. While Inferno did fall in the National Final, O'Brien held Houston at bay by making a dozen saves, and a few in spectacular effort, which was a season high for her.

East Conference Coach of the Year - Francisco Cleaves (Inferno Rush)

Inferno Rush experienced a big turn around from 2017 to 2018. After finishing last year's campaign near the bottom of the East, Francisco Cleaves guided the Rush to both the East Conference Regular Season and Championship Game title and was only minutes away from potentially lifting the UWS title as well. His team was consistently one of the toughest to break down, as they won five of their seven regular season matches by shutout and had the knack for finding the killer strike. He will have plenty to build on as well prior to next season as his team placed seven players on All-Conference teams.

2018 UWS All-East Conference First Team

GK: Kelly O’Brien (Inferno Rush)

D: Kylee McIntosh (Connecticut Fusion)

D: Caroline Kopp (Rochester Lady Lancers)

D: Aubrey Suydam (Inferno Rush)

MF: Brooke Barbuto (Rochester Lady Lancers)

MF: Teresa Rook (Rynier) (Inferno Rush)

MF: Chanel Johnson (Connecticut Fusion)

MF: Tesa McKibben (Inferno Rush)

F: Haley Crawford (Inferno Rush)

F: Carissima Cutrona (Western New York Flash)

F: Tori Sousa (Connecticut Fusion)

2018 UWS All-East Conference Second Team

GK: Meghan Dalton (Connecticut Fusion)

D: Ashley Chilcoat (Inferno Rush)

D: Alana O’Neill (New Jersey Copa FC)

D: Taylor Groth (Long Island Rough Riders)

MF: Megan Carroll (Inferno Rush)

MF: Kelly Quigley (Connecticut Fusion)

MF: Jenna Menta (New York Surf)

F: Furtuna Velaj (New York Surf)

F: Kate Howarth (New England Mutiny)

F: Elin Eklund (Rochester Lady Lancers)

F: Kayla Saager (Long Island Rough Riders)

Iron Women of the Year (Players who played every minute of every match)

Tesa McKibben (Inferno Rush)

Stephanie Santos (Connecticut Fusion)

Caroline Kopp (Rochester Lady Lancers)

Brooke Barbuto (Rochester Lady Lancers)

Elin Eklund (Rochester Lady Lancers)

Kylee McIntosh (Connecticut Fusion)

Lysianne Proulx (New England Mutiny)

2018 UWS Team of the Week selections (Combined by Team)

Connecticut Fusion:

           GK: Meghan Dalton (Week X)

           DEF: Kylee McIntosh (Week IV)

           MID: Rachel Morrier (Week I, Week II), Chanel Johnson (Week II hon., Week IV, Week IX), Hayley Nolan (Week III)

           FOR: Tori Sousa (Week I hon. mention, Week III hon. mention, Week X)

Inferno Rush:

           GK: Kelly O’Brien (Week V)

           DEF: Ashley Chilcoat (Week VIII, Week IX hon. mention)

           MID: Theresa Rook (Rynier) (Week III hon. mention, Week VIII, Week X), Kendra Jones (Week VII hon. mention)

           FOR: Tesa McKibben (Week III), Haley Crawford (Week IX)

Long Island Rough Riders:

           GK: Kelsey Daugherty (Week VIII)

           DEF: Kaitlin Loughren (Week IX), Taylor Groth (Week X)

           FOR Kayla Saager (Week VI hon. mention)

New England Mutiny:

           GK: Lysianne Proulx (Week I)

           DEF: Elena Santos (Week I hon. mention), Brittany Champagne (Week VI), Chantelle Swaby (Week IX)

           FOR: Sydney Brackett (Week IV)

New Jersey Copa FC:

           DEF: Sydney Cummings (Week V)

           FOR: Katarina Nilsson (Week VI hon. mention), Tori Baliatico (Week VIII hon. mention)

New York Surf:

           GK: Jamie Block (NY, Week I hon. mention)

           MID: Brooke Salmon (Week IV hon. metnion), Amy Marron (Week V hon. mention)

           FOR: Furtuna Velaj (Week I, Week VI), Jenna Menta (Week VIII, Week X)

Rochester Lady Lancers:

           GK: Caitie Broderick (Week V hon. mention, Week VI)

           DEF: Caroline Kopp (Week X)

           MID: Brooke Barbuto (Week II, Week V, Week VI hon. mention, Week IX)

           FOR: Elin Eklund (Week II, Week V)

Western New York Flash:

           DEF: Emma Gervase (Week VII)

           FOR: Carissima Cutrona (Week II), Jamie Boyar Week VII)

Worcester Smiles:

           GK: Brittany Henderson (Week III)

           DEF: Jackie Feraco (WOR, Week I), Megan Gurlitz (WOR, Week I hon. mention)

           MID: Sydney Fisher (Week III hon. mention)

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 You can visit the league’s official website at Interested team applicants can contact League Commissioner Joe Ferrara, Jr. by e-mail at

Week X Preview: UWS East

07/12/2018, 3:45pm EDT
By Admin

Five teams battle for final spot in East Conference Championship Game


New York Surf vs. New Jersey Copa FC

1:30 PM EDT – SUNY Maritime (Bronx, NY)

Unfortunately for New York and New Jersey, their year will come to an end after Saturday’s match as both sides were eliminated from postseason contention in Week IX. But, both will want to finish the season on a high note so expect nothing less than a quality match out of this one. Despite early season struggles, New York have been playing some really good soccer lately, going 2-1-1 in their last four matches. Also, they’ve been able to take points off New England and Connecticut to make their respective roads to the postseason more challenging. The Menta sisters have propelled the team on the offensive front during that stretch as older sister Melissa is second on the team in scoring with four goals, with younger sister Jenna running run behind her with three. Jenna also played the part of hero in the Surf’s last match in Week VIII as she scored the game-tying and winning goals inside the final ten minutes against the Fusion. Expect those two to be at it again on Saturday afternoon as they try to lift their team to a season-ending win.

For New Jersey Copa FC, 2018 was a setback season after making the East Conference Championship Game in each of the last two seasons, including winning it and advancing to the UWS National Championship Game in 2016. But the stretch run took a toll on the Garden State side as they’ve lost four of their last five matches after starting the season 2-1-1. To be fair, those five matches included a pair against top-ranked Inferno Rush and the other three contests came against teams still alive in the playoff hunt. But, they’ve hurt themselves by continually giving up the first goal and having to play from behind during this stretch, which at the end of the day, that will come back to hurt you against the caliber of opponents that they’ve faced. But they will look to finish the year on a high note as they play the return match against the Surf, after drawing with them 1-1 back on June 2nd. That contest saw the Surf jump out to a first half lead by way of Melissa Menta’s first goal of the season before Tori Baliatico leveled things in the second half. But the match was cut short in the 85th minute due to bad weather in the region and ultimately, it was ruled a draw. So with a little unfinished business to attend to, this rematch could be fun to watch.

Inferno Rush vs. Long Island Rough Riders

3:00 PM EDT – Manheim Township H.S. (Lancaster, PA)

Last weekend, the Inferno Rush clinched the Regular season title in the East Conference by winning both of their matches in the Western New York region. First, they beat Rochester 3-1 last Saturday by the strength of a pair of Haley Crawford strikes and then on Sunday, they took down Western New York 4-2 with Crawford scoring all four goals for her team. The JMU striker, who later earned the Week IX UWS Offensive Player of the Week award for her efforts, vaulted herself into second place in the UWS Goal scoring charts with ten tallies, trailing only Houston’s Gisela Arrieta by two. So while the Rush will wait around to see who they will be playing in the East Conference Championship Game next week, they will want to keep the momentum going into the postseason with a good performance against Long Island. However, this matchup against Long Island hasn’t done them any favors as they’ve lost three of the four all-time meetings, including a less than memorable 6-1 loss at home last year. But, the Rush have overcome almost every challenge thrown their way this season so expect nothing less than a strong effort on Saturday.

Now this is where the East Conference starts to get very interesting. The Rough Riders are in a group of five teams that are still fighting for the second spot in that East Conference Championship Game. Currently, they are in a three-way tie with New England and Rochester in third place on 14 points and while there are plenty of scenarios that could see them make that Conference Championship Game, they first need to beat Inferno Rush. As stated above, they’ve won three of the four previous meetings against them so they’ve got that to lean on come Saturday. Also, since their come-from-behind 2-2 draw at Connecticut on June 16th, they picked up confidence boosting wins against New England and Worcester to keep their playoff hopes alive. Morgan Santoro broke out last week with four goals against the Smiles and Kayla Saager continues to put together a fine season as she leads the team offensively with five goals and two assists. Long Island will look again to those two to stay hot offensively against one of the best defenses in the league.

New England Mutiny vs. Connecticut Fusion

3:00 PM EDT – Agawam H.S. (Agawam, MA)

Two more sides that are in the middle of that five-team fight for second place will clash for the second time this year on Saturday. New England traveled to the Farmington Sports Arena on May 11th and played the part of spoilers in the Connecticut Fusion’s inaugural match, winning 3-2 with substitute Elena Santos netting the winner in the 75th minute. But for what was a very bright start to the season, New England will consider 2018 a bit of a disappointing one as far too often for their liking, they’ve dropped key points by giving away leads in the second half. But, they can’t worry about the past and can only focus on the present as they still have a realistic chance of clinching that second spot in the East Conference Championship weekend. A win plus a bit of help elsewhere will see the side, led by eight-goal campaign from Kate Howarth, reach the postseason for the first time in their time in UWS.

After defeating the Western New York Flash on the road in Week IX, they have the most direct and straightforward path to the East Conference Championship Game. A win against New England followed up by a victory on Sunday against Worcester will clinch their spot and send them off to face the Inferno Rush next week. UWS Week IX Team of the Week member Chanel Johnson stepped up to the challenge last week as her first-half brace propelled the Fusion to a 2-1 victory up in Buffalo. And they got an inspired performance from that match by Meghan Dalton in goal as the Bryant College product came up with eight saves to preserve the win. But even though Connecticut's path to the postseason is clear, they can't worry about their second game until their first one is over so expect them to press early and take it to New England as they look to pick up a necessary three points.

Western New York Flash vs. Rochester Lady Lancers

6:00 PM EDT – D’Youville College (Buffalo, NY)

No doubt that a lot of eyes will be fixed on the happenings in Buffalo on Saturday evening as the Flash will take on the Lady Lancers for the second time in three weeks. Western New York, who returned to their organization’s old stomping grounds at the Marina Auto Stadium during their previous days in WPS and the NWSL, took a 2-1 decision over Rochester with Carissima Cutrona scoring a brace. The Flash didn’t do themselves any favors last weekend as they squandered an opportunity to secure their spot in the East Conference Championship Game by dropping back-to-back home matches. They fell 2-1 to Connecticut on Saturday night, despite a furious comeback in the second half but were overwhelmed by Inferno Rush on Sunday and lost 4-2. But, the path still is fairly clear for them to secure a spot in the postseason as a win plus the Connecticut Fusion failing to pick up all six points from the weekend will get the job done. The Flash have experienced trouble at home however as they’ve lost all four matches at D’Youville Collge this season and have been outscored 15-7 by their opponents. Which is of course the great irony with this team as they are a perfect 5-0 on the road, so perhaps tricking their minds to think that this is road match may be answer that the Flash will need to get the job done.

Similar to their regional rival, the Rochester Lady Lancers have struggled at home but have excelled on the road. Despite a 1-4 record at the Marina Auto Stadium, Sal Galvano’s team is 3-0-1 on the road and will hope that recipe for success can come true one more time this weekend. After winning the three prior matches going into their first meeting with the Flash, they’ve dropped their last two matches and have fallen from first place to being in the three-way tie for third. Last week, the Lady Lancers went ahead halfway through the first half against the Rush with a brilliant solo effort from Brooke Barbuto, as the former Stony Brook product continues her wonderful season by leading the squad with eight goals but they couldn't find an answer to unlock their opponents defense and ultimately lost. Now unlike the Flash, their road to the East Conference Championship Game is far more challenging as a win won’t be enough to clinch their spot. They will need at minimum a win (and scoring a few goals to up their goal difference would help their case) plus the Inferno Rush to defeat Long Island and the Mutiny to defeat the Fusion just to give themselves a chance. Fortunately, they will know exactly where they stand by the time they kick off so if they get the results to go in their favor, they will come out trying to push the tempo early.


Worcester Smiles vs. Connecticut Fusion

1:15 PM EDT – Worcester State University (Worcester, MA)

To wrap up their weekend in the Bay State, the Fusion will make the hour-plus long drive from Agawam to Worcester to wrap up their regular season schedule against the Smiles. If the Fusion can defeat the Mutiny on Saturday, a victory over Worcester, who currently sit at the bottom of the table in the East, will clinch their spot in the East Conference Championship Game.

The Smiles have had a challenging last few weeks to wrap up their inaugural season as they’ve lost their last six matches and in the last four, they’ve been outscored 28-3. Anthony Cosky’s team competed well last week at Long Island and were tied at one right around the half hour mark, by way of Jessica Ong’s 15th minute equalizer. But giving up a pair of goals right before the end of the half was the downfall for Worcester as the Rough Riders bagged six goals in the second half to put the match away. Now, the Smiles will hope to finish the 2018 on a high note by playing the role of spoilers against the Fusion.

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 You can visit the league’s official website at Interested team applicants can contact League Commissioner Joe Ferrara, Jr. by e-mail at

Week IX Roundup: UWS East

07/09/2018, 2:15pm EDT
By Admin

Inferno claim Regular Season title after a two-win weekend



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.



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 You can visit the league’s official website at Interested team applicants can contact League Commissioner Joe Ferrara, Jr. by e-mail at

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