UWS West Conference Week 4 Roundup: Santa Clarita defeat the Real Salt Lake Women in home opener

UWS West Conference Week 4 Roundup: Santa Clarita defeat the Real Salt Lake Women in home opener

SANTA CLARITA BLUE HEAT 1, REAL SALT LAKE WOMEN 0

In a much anticipated rematch of the top two West Conference sides from the 2016 season, the 2017 home opener for the Santa Clarita Blue Heat could not have gone better. In front of a record home crowd of 800+ fans at The Master’s University on Sunday afternoon, the defending UWS champion Blue Heat (2-0 West) would get tested by the Real Salt Lake Women (2-2 West) but still notch the 1-0 victory. Santa Clarita veteran Kodi Lavrusky would net the only goal of the match in the 56th minute while goalkeeper Jojo McCaskill would get the shutout in goal (three saves).

The RSL Women would absorb a lot of early pressure by the Blue Heat attack, but would settle into the flow of the match as the first half progressed. 2016 UWS Goalkeeper of the Year Becca Ritchie (five saves) made a couple of saves to keep the visitors in the match. Business would pick up in the second half for the hosts as Florida State University star Deyna Castellanos put her stamp on the match. A long-range shot in the 48th minute would ring off the crossbar. Yet, it was Real Salt Lake who almost scored first, but McCaskill would deny forward Colette Smith’s close-range bid a few minutes prior to Lavrusky’s game-winner.

In the 56th minute, Lavrusky would receive a pass from Castellanos and than to proceed to muscle her way through the RSL defense and notch the lone goal of the match. Seven minutes later, the FSU standout looked to open her scoring account for Santa Clarita but would miss on a pair of long-range opportunities. The hosts would go on for the 1-0 victory, putting the visitors in a two-loss hole in the conference race. The Blue Heat out-shot the Real Women by a 11-7 margin.

SO CAL CRUSH FC 0, REAL SALT LAKE WOMEN 5

After dropping their home opener against the defending UWS champion Santa Clarita Blue Heat last week, So Cal Crush FC may have been hoping to get back on track against the opponent they beat on the road on opening day – the Real Salt Lake Women. But not if RSLW forward Hailey Skolmoski had anything to say about it as the U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team star tallied a hat trick and created a fourth goal, all in the first half, at Crescenta Valley High School on Saturday night. Real Salt Lake Women got revenge on So Cal Crush FC (1-2 West), rolling to a 5-0 win on a gorgeous evening in the foothills of southern California.

Skomolski terrorized the Crush back line for the first 45 minutes with relentless runs, and while her hat trick performance was impressive, it was the first goal that was the key to her team’s victory. In the ninth minute, a Crush defender attempted a back pass to goalkeeper Mia Fernandez (nine saves). But the Utah Ute standout read the play and arrived in just enough time to distract Fernandez, who whiffed on her clearance and allowed Skolmoski to roll the ball into the net. Skomolski would go on to convert left foot high in the 20th minute, right foot far post low in the 31st, before cementing her side’s eventual victory by converting a penalty kick in the 37th minute.

The Crush rallied after the halftime break, and striker Nancy Avesyan paced the attack with two quality chances in the half, the first of which was stopped by a sliding save from RSLW goalkeeper Becca Ritchie in the 60th minute. Much of the second half success for the Crush was the result of pushing numbers forward into the attack. This left their back line exposed, and it cost them in the 73rd minute, as they surrendered a 3 v 1 counter attack, culminating with Real forward Jessica Vanderveur banging the ball into the back of the net to finish out the scoring on the night.

HOUSTON ACES 1, CALGARY FOOTHILLS WOMEN’S FC 2

Calgary Foothills Women’s FC returned to action this weekend with a road trip to Houston for a match against an Aces side packed full of international talent. Indeed, there were five full international players on the Houston roster. But Calgary (1-1 West) would set their own piece of history at Houston Sports Park on Saturday night, defeating Houston (0-1 West) for their first-ever win in the hosts’ 2017 opener. Calgary Head Coach Troye Flannery added three players to his side for the game against the Aces with Myia Wilkes (San Jose State), Sarah Kinzner (University of Colorado) and Natalie Arnett (University of Calgary) making the trip.

After a lightning delay, CFWFC team started brightly and three corners kicks in the first six minutes set the scene for a strong first half display. Colombian international and Houston goalkeeper Stefany Castano (11 saves) would be called into action in the 18th minute, stopping a powerful shot from Calgary forward Joelle Gosselin. It wasn’t until the 25th minute that the home team threatened the visitor’s goal and a curling effort from 25 yards by Colombian international Tatiana Ariza saw a good save from keeper Emily Burns (three saves). In the 37th minute, CFWFC 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.

The Aces forced a high tempo from the start of the second half and were more explosive in possession. In the 72nd minute, Burns made her best save of the evening diving at the feet of Tatiana Ariza to deny her. Six minutes later, 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. In a spirited affair, Calgary out-shot Houston by a 18-11 margin with each side earning seven corner kicks.

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