Metuchen, NJ -- There were plenty of Memorial Day Weekend fireworks during the Week 3 United Women’s Soccer slate. Key statements were made as the season exits its beginning stage, and several standout performers emerged, too.
It doesn’t get much more dramatic than the thrilling comeback Michigan Jaguars used to claim their first UWS victory. Behind Rachael Sweigard’s first-half brace, Cap City Athletic took a 2-1 lead into the final 10 minutes, with the only offense mustered by Michigan Jaguars coming by way of a Shannon Brown strike. But Emily Pagett pulled the home side level in the 82nd minute, and Kayla Rollins capped off the thriller with a goal deep into stoppage time.
A strong showing from Nationals FC saw the UWS rookies claim a 7-1 win on the road against Muskegon Risers. Olivia Watson pulled all the strings in midfield with four assists, and Jenna Blackburn and Sierra Curtis contributed two goals each to the effort.
A clinical attack spearheaded by Courtney Claassen allowed KC Courage to defend its home turf, securing a 3-1 victory against a solid Gretna Elite outfit. Claassen showcased her all-around game to create the first goal, winning the ball and feeding Emily Key, who expertly chipped the keeper. Claassen’s penalty in the 36th minute doubled the advantage. CeCe Limongi trimmed the gap shortly after the halftime interval for Gretna Elite, but Claassen’s second goal of the day in the 87th minute sealed the win for the home side.
UWS newcomers Arkansas Wolves defended valiantly for 77 minutes in search of their first point of the season, but eventually FC Wichita secured the breakthrough it needed to claim its third victory in three games to begin this campaign. The visitors turned transition into attack and Melonie Baca finished off the move to give FC Wichita all three points and its second clean sheet in three games.
Gretna Elite reacted emphatically to a disappointing result on Friday, hanging six goals on Side FC 92 and defending pristinely to keep a clean sheet. Ariana Mondiri proved to be the spark, scoring a hat trick and contributing an assist as well in the dominating effort. Grace Ostergaard, Lauren Schmidt and CeCe Limongi also found the back of the net in the win.
A routine 4-0 victory over Indiana Union secured the first three points of the 2022 season for St. Louis Scott Gallagher. Aubrey Mister provided the keynote with her brace, assisted both times by Sydney Stephens. Isabella Patterson and Grace Giacoletto also made their mark on the scoresheet to round off the victory for the home side.
An outstanding 10-save performance from goalkeeper Elliott Breech propelled Lancaster Inferno to a 2-0 win over NJ Copa FC. The stout Lancaster defense has yet to concede a goal this season. The visitors generated their first goal from a set play, with Marissa Digenova’s corner causing a rebound that Jackie Richards turned home. That sent Lancaster Inferno into halftime with a lead — one it promptly doubled as Madison Mohr pounced on a rebound to conclude the scoring.
NE Mutiny got the better of this clash of two high-powered sides in the New England Division, handing CT Fusion its first loss of the year to climb to the top of the standings. Things started well for CT Fusion, as perennial threat Kacey Lawrence began the scoring in the 14th minute. An own goal from Laura Gouvin’s corner leveled the score before the half. Then, in the 72nd minute, Catherine Bean’s cross found the head of Catherine Barry, who nodded home the winner for NE Mutiny.
Albany Rush collected its first victory of 2022 with a 7-1 rout of Worcester Smiles. Katelyn Krohn provided all the scoring the hosts would need, finding the back of the net three times and assisting once more. Brigid Duffy was equally impressive, scoring twice while also setting up two goals. Lauren Conti also factored into the scoring for Albany Rush, and Mia Fusco scored a late consolation goal for Worcester Smiles.
UWS rookies Erie Commodores demonstrated remarkable resilience to come back and claim an excellent point via a 2-2 draw with FC Buffalo, last season’s East Conference regular-season champs. Maddie Keister had FC Buffalo cruising early with a pair of first-half goals, but it was all Erie Commodores after the break. The visitors used two perfectly executed corner routines to equalize, with Leah Bermudez scoring once shortly after the break and again in the 90th minute to conclude the dramatics and split the spoils.
FC Buffalo quickly returned to its winning ways, coasting to a comfortable 4-0 victory over Rochester Lancers to remain three points clear at the top of the standings. Carissima Cutrona turned in a typically excellent performance, starting off the scoring with the first of two goals on the day. Tess Ford and substitute Tatyjana Scalisi also tallied goals in the win.
Erie Commodores rode the momentum from their late comeback in midweek action to a high-scoring 4-3 victory over Pittsburgh Hotspurs. This time, they did their work early, with the duo of Alexa Dix and Brooklyn Respecki combining to produce all four of the home side’s goals before halftime. Ashley Rea had a similarly impressive performance for Pittsburgh Hotspurs with three assists, but the goals from Morgan Kost, Katelyn Kauffman and Sydney Patrick weren’t enough to salvage a result.
Both FC Birmingham and Atlanta Fire United reached a milestone on Sunday, as each club collected its first UWS point in this 1-1 draw. Katherine Jebavy finished from Faith Phillips’ cross to put Atlanta Fire ahead in the closing stages of the first half. FC Birmingham’s retaliation came in the 60th minute, as Lauren Hooten’s free kick bested the keeper and won FC Birmingham a point.
Two playoff sides from last season’s Southwest Conference canceled each other out in a 1-1 draw between SA Athenians and FC Austin. SA Athenians got on the scoreboard first, as Brooke Martinez’s 49th-minute cross found its way into the six-yard box for Emma Ruiz to turn home. The home side just about got over the line with all three points, but FC Austin Elite had enough gas in the tank to break their hearts. Natalia Blanco’s corner in the 86th minute connected with Katy Couperus, who scored the equalizing goal to secure a point for her club.
FC Arizona got goals from four different players on its way to a thoroughly impressive 4-0 victory on the road against Kongo SC in its first match at the UWS level. Katrina Wetherall got the scoring started just before halftime, then Mollie Baker followed shortly after the interval to double the advantage. Aryssa Mahrt turned on the style with her clever chip a few minutes later, and Christa Szalach added a header from a corner to finish things off.
Despite the best efforts of Kongo SC keeper Teagen Frandsen, who made 10 saves, SC Blue Heat stayed perfect as it continues its title defense. Helena Sampaio and Gisele Thompson both tallied for the visitors, with Iris Rabot and Zoe Hasenauer notching assists.
Foothills WFC began its 2022 campaign with a decisive victory in this battle of two Western Canada powerhouses. Saorla Miller led the way with a pair of goals, while Grace Stordy, Maggie Zacsko and Charlotte Potts each contributed a goal of their own to the effort. Rachel Barlow scored a first-half goal for Impact FC, and Hannah Harper added one more in the 84th minute, but the outcome was never truly in doubt.