As the opening month of the WPSL came to a close this Memorial Day weekend, the league saw competition increase greatly in the Big Sky and East-Mid-Atlantic conferences. Although a majority of the league took a hiatus this past weekend to celebrate the holiday, or more likely to get a few more training sessions in before the opening weekend of June, other teams used this weekend as an opportunity for double headers to get a leg up on the competition.
The women from Portland Rain used this past weekend to find their leg up, as they were the only team to gain points this weekend from the Northwest division. The Rain did not only walk away from this weekend with a victory but they exited with an extremely large amount of goals, 14 to be exact. The Portland Rain played two games against newcomers Oregon Rush, one Friday and one Saturday with scores of 6-0 and 8-0, respectively. Rain forward and WPSL Player of the Week Nicole Wilcox netted four goals for her side against the Oregon Rush on Saturday. The former All-Pac 10 selection from the University of Oregon began to make a name for herself in the WPSL when she scored a total of six goals, or “double hat-trick” in the games this weekend. Portland Rain players Ali Martin and Emily Rhode also received WPSL team of the week selections for their outstanding performance this past weekend.
Another player with an outstanding performance this weekend was Arkansas Comets F.C. player Margaret Power. This physically strong and solid center defender helped the Comets record a 1-1 opening weekend in the Big Sky-South Division. The Comets gained a 4-1 victory over South Shore Select on their opening game on Saturday. However, the newly established F.C. Dallas was able to defeat Power and the Comets on Sunday with late goal by Dallas forward Janette Barton. Barton was able to rip a first time shot on goal after Krissy Stoner dummied a driven ball from Lauren Briggs who was able to beat her defender down the line. F.C. Dallas was able to hold on to their lead to grab an eventual victory with help from their outstanding keeper Megan Ross. Also in Big Sky play this weekend F.C St. George opened their season with a 1-1 weekend. St. George played fellow Utah teams the Utah Starzz and the Salt Lake City Sparta with mixed results. The extremely young team of St. George, that even has a fair amount of high school athletes on their roster, was able to beat the Utah Starzz, 3-2, on Saturday at Desert Hills High School. On Sunday, however, FC St. George was not able to finish against the Salt Lake City Sparta allowing the Sparta to walk away with a 1-0 victory.
Outside of Big Sky conference action, the F.C Bucks of the East Conference and the North Bay F.C. Waves of the Pacific Conference both opened their division campaigns this Memorial Day weekend with 1-0 victories. The Bucks were able to hold BuxMont Torch FC to a shutout on Saturday, while the Waves put away one goal to secure a victory against the Clovis Sidekicks on Sunday.
In a few days, the WPSL will return from the holiday weekend with rested legs that will be starved for competition as conference play begins to heat up. With 30 plus games scheduled for the weekend of June 4th and 5th, the WPSL has only begun to showcase some of the nations top levels of elite women’s soccer.