The new white kits continue to be a good thing for Real Salt Lake Women.
After two seasons of red and black as options, the team unveiled all-white uniforms in their win two weeks ago against Calgary, and wore them again to face So Cal Crush at Crescenta Valley High School this past Saturday.
The result was more of the same for RSLW as Hailey Skolmoski pressured the So Cal defense into an early own goal in the 9th minute, before following with outstanding shots using both feet in the 20th and 31st minutes, and a PK goal in the 37th that she earned after being taken down on another run into the box. The hat-trick brought her season total to four goals, and put the visitors comfortably in control of a game they needed to win.
So Cal pressed hard in the second half to attempt a comeback, and nearly managed a goal when Nancy Avesyan forced a tough save from Becca Ritchie, but their high attack left them open to the counter, and RSLW would add a 5th goal on a breakaway that left Jess Vanderveur with a good look and a strong shot that earned her a much-deserved first tally of the season.
The ladies from Salt Lake had less than 24 hours to prepare to face last season’s champions in Santa Clarita, and the match between the West’s top clubs lived up to expectations. The Blue Heat controlled most of the possession, especially in the first half, and several outstanding saves by Ritchie were all that kept the hosts off the score sheet early on. RSLW nearly took the lead around 10 minutes into the second half when a nice run and pass by Skolmoski gave Colette Smith a fantastic shot on goal, with SCBH keeper Jojo McCaskill making an excellent save.
Santa Clarita would score the winning goal just a few minutes later as Deyna Castellanos made a great pass to Kodi Lavrusky, who refused to be stopped as she bulled past the defenders and poked the ball under the arms of Ritchie to make it 1-0. The home side then put on a fine display of ball and clock management, effectively limiting RSLW’s chances to find the equalizer.
The win and loss put RSLW at 2-2-0, and tied with Santa Clarita at 6 points, though RSLW has the tie-breaker on goals scored at the moment. The Claret-and-Cobalt return to Utah this weekend to face long-time WPSL and UWS rivals Houston Aces in a 7 PM match at Utah Valley University.