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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

Week IX Preview: UWS East

07/06/2018, 12:15pm EDT
By Admin

Inferno play two in WNY region, NE, LI and CT fight for playoff aspirations


Rochester Lady Lancers vs. Inferno Rush

2:00 PM EDT – Marina Auto Stadium (Rochester, NY)

Rochester will hope that this week yields them a better fortune than their outing in Week VIII, as they were sitting at the top of the table when they started last weeks’ action, but are now outside of the playoff positions in the East entering Week IX. The Lady Lancers fell 2-1 to Western New York Flash at the Marina Auto Stadium last Saturday, a venue that has not given them a whole lot of success as Sal Galvano’s team are 1-2-1 in their four home matches and now sit in third place in the standings. Creating chances wasn’t necessarily an issue for Rochester last week as they forced Flash goalkeeper Emily Kelly into making 11 saves. They just need to be more clinical in front of goal as they face off against one of the best defensive units in UWS. Knowing that a loss this week could knock them out of making the East Championship game, expect the hosts to come out firing from the start.

Week VIII was a big week for Inferno Rush as they took home six points from a possible six and moved up to the top of the East Conference Standings. Francisco Cleaves’ team had to battle a very tough New Jersey Copa FC team on a very hot and humid Saturday afternoon last week but came away with an important 2-0 victory, sweeping the season series in the process against their Garden State rivals. And then the day after, the goals finally started to fly in as they put seven past Worcester. Which is how it’s come to be that Inferno currently control their own destiny as if they win their final three games, they will secure the top spot in the East and host the Conference Championship game. Their defensive unit has been tough to break down all season long, allowing just six goals in seven games and have had two different players named as the UWS Defensive Player of the Week, including Ashley Chilcoat for Week VIII. This will be the first of their two matches on the weekend and knowing that their opponents will be hunting a result to keep their postseason hopes alive, Inferno will need their defensive form to stay strong in order to leave Rochester with points.

New Jersey Copa FC vs. New England Mutiny

4:30 PM EDT – Mercer County Community College (West Windsor, NJ)

Both New Jersey and New England come into Week IX knowing that a lot has to go right for them in order to still be in playoff contention next weekend. But first things first, a win for either team is a must. It hasn’t been an easy last few weeks for New Jersey as they have won just one match in their last four, including getting swept by Inferno Rush. Goal scoring has been very inconsistent this season as at times, they’ve piled on the goals, including getting four against Western New York on June 16 and three against Long Island on June 27. But they’ve also been shut out twice in their last three matches and have been held to a single goal three times this season, which is quite the reversal from a season ago when NJCFC averaged nearly two-and-a-half goals per game in 2017. But they can only focus on the future and try to go get a result this week against a struggling New England team.

The Mutiny yet again fell to surrendering points late on as after a valiant comeback to erase an early two-goal deficit, they allowed an 88th minute tally on the road to Long Island to lose 3-2. Similar to their opponent this week, New England have to win their final two matches of the season and get help elsewhere if they want to make the East Conference Championship game. Getting goals from the key scorers has been a positive for the Mutiny this year as no matter how tightly Kate Howarth and Sydney Brackett have been marked this season, they both still find ways to get on the scoresheet. Howarth has bagged goals in four of the last five games while her front-running partner Brackett has scored in three of the last five. And even their defensive record hasn’t been all that bad, allowing the third fewest goals (13) in the East. But a case of the second half blues have been the killer all season long and they will hope to reverse that trend in order to keep their postseason hopes alive next weekend.

Long Island Rough Riders vs. Worcester Smiles

5:00 PM EDT – Hofstra University (Hempstead, NY)

Timing can be both a curse and a blessing and right now, timing is a beautiful thing for Long Island. Sure, their 3-3-2 record and mid-table ranking won’t be raising many eyeballs, but the schedule to close out the season has worked in their favor. They host Worcester this week before closing out the season at Inferno Rush and if they can win out, along with getting a little help elsewhere during this weeks’ action, could possibly put them back in the East Conference Championship Game, which they won last year by defeating New Jersey Copa FC. Last weekend, they got a late goal from Laura Gomez to defeat New England 3-2 and will look to keep that going this week, as they also got goals from Kayla Saager and a much needed tally to get Kim Marra’s goal scoring account off and running. Look for them to jump on Worcester early, who have had a knack of conceding right from the start this season.

Worcester is the only team in the East that is currently eliminated from postseason play so they will be looking to play spoiler in Long Island’s playoff dreams. Last week, it was a barrage of early goals that put the Smiles down as they conceded three inside of ten minutes to Inferno Rush last Sunday and couldn’t get any attacking rhythm going. Goalkeeper Brittany Henderson did her best to keep her team in that match as she posted an 11-save effort for the second time this season, but the defense in front of her was overwhelmed by the Inferno attack. The Smiles finish the season at home next Sunday against Connecticut and could ultimately play spoiler in that match as well. But they will need to get off to a better start as in each of their last three contests, they’ve given up goals inside the first five minutes and need to do better in order to stay with Long Island.

Western New York Flash vs. Connecticut Fusion

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

The Western New York Flash continue to power through the back half of their season as they currently sit level with Inferno Rush at the top of the table, only trailing by goal difference. They open up a three-match homestand to close out the season and will want to get off to a good start in their first of two matches on the weekend. Last time out, they utilized a brace from talented forward Carissima Cutrona to take down then conference leading Rochester Lady Lancers 2-1. They were forced to defend for large portions of the game but Matt Waddington’s team dug in to get the result. Now, they too can control their own destiny by trying to win out their remaining games to make the East Conference Championship Game.

The Fusion are coming off of a very disappointing home loss last weekend to New York, a game which they led 2-0 early on in the second half before allowing three goals to drop all three points. But holding leads has become an issue for Tom D’Agostino’s team as they also surrendered two-second half goals in their previous contest on June 16 against Long Island, a match where they led 2-0 at halftime. But their pathway to the East Conference Championship Game is still very much alive. But they have to attack this three-match road trip with the same persistence they had back in late May-early June when they posted a three-match winning streak, where they outscored their opponents 10-1. The last time the Fusion trekked out to the Western part of New York State, they defeated Rochester 4-0 back on May 27 so they are hoping to emulate that success in their second endeavor out to the region.


Western New York Flash vs. Inferno Rush

1:00 PM EDT – D’Youville College (Buffalo, NY)

For the second straight weekend, the East Conference will feature a clash of the top-two teams in the standings. Both will be playing their second match of the weekend so heavy legs could be a factor here. However, with this being the penultimate match in the season for both clubs, they will know exactly what they need to try and get into the postseason. It’s an interesting battle of a very good offensive unit in Western New York, led by Cutrona, against an excellent defensive group that Inferno possesses. One would think in a match that has a lot riding on it, shoring up the defense will be a number one priority here and that would give the Rush an advantage. But the way that Cutrona, along with the rest of her team, have scored clutch goals this season, this match could go either way. 

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