METUCHEN, NJ – For the third installment of the post-season awards in United Women’s Soccer (UWS), its time the national pro-am league recognizes the Southwest Conference. For the second straight campaign, the Houston Aces posted an undefeated record in the conference and ran away with the title. Not surprisingly, the two-time champions led the way with five players being named to the Southwest honor roll while two of the three individual awards went to Houston as well. FC Austin Elite came through in the end with a second-place finish in their final regular season game with thanks to a veteran defensive presence.
Tatiana Ariza has been an offensive force in her four-year stint in UWS with the Houston Aces, amassing 23 goals and six assists (52 points) during that time. Ariza is the all-time leading scorer for Houston in UWS play and it seems the Colombian international keeps getting better and better as she goes along with her best statistical campaign in 2019 (10g, 2a, 22 pts). After all was said and done, she finished fourth in the league scoring race: an impressive feat in only six regular season games. Tatiana has also received a post-season honor in all four of her years with the Aces and caps them all as this season’s Southwest Offensive Player of the Year honor.
After stints playing professionally overseas in Colombia and Spain, Liz-Amanda Brown took over the goalkeeping duties for FC Austin Elite in 2019 and opened the docket with an impressive eight-save performance in a 1-0 loss to the Houston Aces. That was the biggest scare the eventual conference champions had during the regular season and it propelled Brown to a stellar campaign – leading the conference with 24 saves in five games. The former Charleston Southern star finished the year as strong as she started, stopping a penalty kick and making 10 saves to preserve a vital 3-1 victory over San Antonio to clinch a second-place finish.
Its tough enough for a returning coach to follow up on a season where his/her team won a National Championship, but its an even more arduous task for a newly-hired mentor. But that was what Greg Boles had to face in his first campaign leading the defending UWS champions and in estimable fashion, marshaled the Houston Aces to another undefeated regular season record of 6-0-0 and a second consecutive Southwest Conference title. Houston’s team offense (30 goals scored) and defense (three goals allowed) were top of the table as well. Five of his players garnered All-Conference plaudits to boot and are now in consideration for All-UWS honors.
UWS SOUTHWEST TEAM
F Lauren Hughes (Houston Aces)
F Bri Woodall (San Antonio Athenians FC)
M Tatiana Ariza (Houston Aces)
M Emily Jorgens (FC Austin Elite)
M Megan Wilcox (San Antonio Athenians FC)
M/D Jen LaPonte (Houston Aces)
D/M Natalia Ariza (Houston Aces)
D Paige Hayward (Houston Aces)
D Bethany Cyrtmus (FC Austin Elite)
D Michelle Hogan (San Antonio Athenians FC)
GK Liz-Amanda Brown (FC Austin Elite)
F Brooke Hanson (San Antonio Athenians FC)
F Christina Arteaga (FC Austin Elite)
F/M Jayme Woodfill (FC Austin Elite)
D Treena Ferguson (San Antonio Athenians FC)