UWS West Conference Week 9 Preview: Calgary & Houston battle it out for second place in West race

UWS West Conference Week 9 Preview: Calgary & Houston battle it out for second place in West race

With no disrespect to their opponents, the mission for the Santa Clarita Blue Heat for their last two games is to stay focused on their task – defending their 2016 United Women’s Soccer (UWS) championship title. Santa Clarita accomplished the first task in that effort last weekend, capturing the West crown and the automatic berth into the 2017 UWS Championship (July 21-22) in Grandville, MI. Now, what’s left to fight for in the conference race is runner-up status – and Calgary and Houston meet up north of the border for an important match in that effort this weekend.

FRIDAY, JULY 7

Santa Clarita Blue Heat vs. So Cal Crush FC

6:00 PM PDT – Master’s Univ. (Santa Clarita, CA)

The Santa Clarita Blue Heat (6-0 Midwest) opened their 2017 season with the first-ever edition of the Los Angeles derby with So Cal Crush FC (1-5 Midwest) and matched their season-high single-game goal total in a 4-0 win on Friday, May 26th during Week III action. So Cal were seemingly still basking in the glow of their season-opening 2-0 win over the Real Salt Lake Women (3-4-1 West) and the offense of the defending UWS champions was emphatic. Forward Carolina Venegas notched two early goals and midfielder Emily Madril posted two late goals and Santa Clarita rolled to a comprehensive victory.

The Blue Heat defense came to the fore after that match as they notched four straight 1-0 wins before last Saturday’s conference-clinching contest against Calgary Foothills Women’s FC (3-3-1 West). Santa Clarita locked up their second straight West title in the 4-1 win over Calgary with thanks to goal-assist performances from forwards Kodi Lavrusky and Julia Hernandez. After four scoreless games, the Crush FC offense got rolling in their last match, but Calgary scored one more goal in an exciting 4-3 encounter. So Cal forward Jamie Bell tallied the first goal in the sixth minute but Calgary responded with three unanswered goals. Crush FC midfielders Tatiana Zuvic and Hailey James completed the scoring for SCCFC.

SATURDAY, JULY 8

Calgary Foothills Women’s FC vs. Houston Aces

6:00 PM MDT – Mount Royal Univ. (Calgary, AB)

Even though the conference title has already been wrapped up, there is still second-place to fight for and Calgary Foothills Women’s FC (3-3-1 West) will host the Houston Aces (2-3 West) in an important match in that battle. With a victory, Calgary will wrap up runner-up status in the conference race – a great achievement in their first-ever campaign at the pro-am level. A draw works in Houston’s favor and opens the door for them to overtake CFWFC in the standings, as they host their final two regular season games at home next weekend. The Aces will have a bit of motivation on their side as Calgary delivered a 2-1 loss to them in their season opener.

CFWFC set their own piece of history at Houston Sports Park, defeating Houston by a 2-1 score. After a lightning delay, the visitors started brightly and Colombian international goalkeeper Stefany Castano stopped a powerful shot from Calgary forward Joelle Gosselin in the 18th minute. In the 37th minute, full back Melissa Roy whipped in a cross that ended with a diving header from Gosselin at the far post for her first goal of the season. In the 80th minute, a clever pass from midfielder Arielle Roy-Petitclerc set Gosselin free and the forward smashed her shot high into the top corner from 25 yards out for the 2-0 lead. The Aces got a goal back less than two minutes later with Isabella Echeverri’s consolation tally.

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