The Rough Riders will renew their burgeoning rivalry with New Jersey Copa FC. Long Island, the 2017 conference champions return to St. John Vianney High School in Holmdel, N.J. were the visitors handed Copa its first-ever home defeat last July, a 5-1 Long Island win in the UWS East final.
During the 2017 season, Long Island scored a conference-best 35 goals last regular season and tied for the second-best defense with 10 goals allowed.
New head coach Karim Diallo will have a host of returning talent to bolster his team’s bid for back-to-back East titles: 2017 East Player of the Year Kim Marra, All-UWS defender Taylor Groth and All-UWS East midfielder Alexa Schneider. Diallo was named head coach of the New York Institute of Technology women’s soccer team in April.
In addition, Rough Riders Kayla Saager was recently named a UWS player to watch by Top Drawer Soccer.
New Jersey head coach Roberto Aguas is also returning some key talent to this season’s roster as All-UWS midfielder & team captain Jackie Bruno and All-UWS East forward Jeanine Nunez will suit up for their third season in Copa colors.
Aguas has also recently added former Celeste and FC COPA Academy alumni Sydney Cummings (Brown University), Christina Rodgers (Providence College), Alexis Williams (George Washington), Andrea Leitner (Albany), Katarina Nilsson (Northeastern), Katrina Demary (NJIT), and Jenny Callaghan (NJIT) to the roster for the upcoming UWS season.
Also on Saturday, New York Surf travel north to Massachusetts to visit the Worcester Smiles at Foley Stadium. This season is the first in UWS for Worcester.
New York began their UWS tenure with an affiliation with Sky Blue FC of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and almost qualified for the two-team East Final with a 6-2-2 record. The Surf can count on the return of five of their top six scorers from last season, led by All-UWS forward midfielder Furtuna Velaj (2017: 5g, 3a).
Third-leading scorer midfielder/forward Maegen Doyle (3g, 4a) led the University of Bridgeport in scoring last fall with 27 points (12g, 3a). All-UWS defender Brooke Salmon and goalkeeper Colleen Hickey (2017 – 6gp, 540 minutes, 27 saves) anchor the New York defense once again.
The Surf will prove to be a task for Smiles head coach Anthony Cosky in his team’s first season. Cosky will need his experience as Head Women’s Soccer Coach at Becker College to craft a lineup that can handle the rigors of the UWS East.
Former University of Connecticut & New England Mutiny midfielder Andrea Plucenik has joined Worcester’s roster this season. Goalkeeper Brittany Henderson was a two-time MAAC Defensive Player of the Year for the Loyola Greyhounds and recorded a league & career-high nine shutouts in her senior season in 2009. The Commack, NY-native is second all-time at Loyola with 296 saves and 25 career shutouts. College of the Holy Cross additions in defender Elise Cobb and midfielder Sydney Fisher add youth to the lineup.