GRANDVILLE, MI – On the strength of three unanswered goals, the Southwest Conference Champion Houston Aces moved onto the 2018 UWS National Final with a 3-1 victory over the Calgary Foothills Women’s FC at Grandville High School.
“It’s a good group that we have here,“ said Houston Head Coach Gui Ferreria, “they stuck to the game plan from the beginning of the game to the end of the game. All kudos to them, we haven’t really trained well together [in the build up to the weekend] but I couldn’t be more prouder of them. One more game to get the job done tomorrow!”
Calgary jumped out to an early lead in the 8th minute as after the West Conference Champions were awarded a free-kick outside of the area, Jessica Jones curled a beautiful set piece over the wall and found the back of the net, despite Houston goalkeeper Tara MacDonald getting a piece of it.
After the Jones strike, Houston started to make the game wider and utilized their speed down the flank as Gisela Arrieta and Jen LaPonte created great chances in front of goal. Arrieta came the closest in the 20th minute as the Colombian international unleashed a sharp effort off a bouncing ball in the area, only to be denied by a great reflex save by Calgary goalkeeper Emily Burns.
Eventually, Arrieta found her name on the scoresheet as the UWS leading scorer latched onto a through ball from Aina Torres Pallares and put it past Burns, leveling the score in the 31st minute.
Houston continued to pile on the pressure in the final 15 minutes of the first half and got their reward as in stoppage time, Paige Hayward clipped a ball over the top to Pallares, who held her run against the high Calgary defensive line, and she hammered her shot past Burns for a 2-1 lead. That gave the Aces all the momentum that they needed to see out the contest
The weather had an impact in the second half as once the teams resumed play, heavy rains cascaded over the Granville High School field and continued to persist throughout the rest of the contest.
After weathering the storm in the early stages of the second stanza, Houston added to their lead in the 64th minute. Tatiana Ariza redirected Allison Murphy’s long distance effort past a helpless Burns, securing the result for the Aces.
Houston now advances to their first UWS National Championship Game as they will face the winner of the second National Semifinal between Grand Rapids FC Women and the Inferno Rush on Sunday, July 22 at 6:30 PM EDT.
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.