By UWS Staff

2018 UWS All-East Conference Awards

Barbuto, Crawford named Co-OFF POY, Inferno's O'Brien, Cleaves take home DEF POY and Coach award

METUCHEN, NJ - Of the four conferences in the 2018 UWS season, none were more competitive from top to bottom than the East Conference. Heading into the final week of the regular season, five different teams were fighting for the second spot in the UWS East Conference Championship Game and there was only a five-point gap in the final standings between second and seventh place. One of the UWS charter members, Inferno Rush, had a season to remember as after a pair of mid-table finishes in previous years, they won the East Conference Regular Season and Championship Game titles and advanced to the UWS National Final before being narrowly edged by Houston.

East Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Year - Brooke Barbuto (Rochester Lady Lancers)

The former Stony Brook midfielder was an integral part of making a Rochester team that earned only one point in the 2017 season to becoming a playoff contender in 2018. She started all ten matches for the Lady Lancers and never left the field while scoring eight goals and assisting on two others. Those marks secured her a top-five finish in UWS for both goals and points (18) categories along with leading all midfielders in those categories as well. She is one of only three players to be named to a UWS Team of the Week three times and also netted an honorable mention, making her the player to most frequent that list.

East Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Year - Haley Crawford (Inferno Rush)

It was a breakout season for the James Madison University striker as Haley Crawford finished in second place in UWS for goals and tied for third in total points. Crawford finished the campaign with a flurry by scoring in four of the last five regular season matches, including tallying all four goals for Inferno in their 4-2 road win against Western New York in Week IX, which secured the East Conference Regular Season title for the team. But her big moment came in the UWS National Semifinals as during a driving rainstorm, she guided the Rush to a 4-3 victory over Grand Rapids FC Women by scoring a hat trick, helping them reach their first UWS National Final.

East Conference Defensive Player of the Year - Kelly O'Brien (Inferno Rush)

The Inferno Rush were one of the toughest teams to break down all season long and a key reason behind it was the stellar goalkeeping play of Kelly O'Brien. She was the only goalie across all conferences to earn a Defensive Player of the Year award in 2018 and was named the Defensive Player of the Week back in Week V. The former Lafayette Leopard posted four clean sheets in the regular season and shut out Connecticut in the East Conference Championship Game to send her team to the UWS National Championship. While Inferno did fall in the National Final, O'Brien held Houston at bay by making a dozen saves, and a few in spectacular effort, which was a season high for her.

East Conference Coach of the Year - Francisco Cleaves (Inferno Rush)

Inferno Rush experienced a big turn around from 2017 to 2018. After finishing last year's campaign near the bottom of the East, Francisco Cleaves guided the Rush to both the East Conference Regular Season and Championship Game title and was only minutes away from potentially lifting the UWS title as well. His team was consistently one of the toughest to break down, as they won five of their seven regular season matches by shutout and had the knack for finding the killer strike. He will have plenty to build on as well prior to next season as his team placed seven players on All-Conference teams.

2018 UWS All-East Conference First Team

GK: Kelly O’Brien (Inferno Rush)

D: Kylee McIntosh (Connecticut Fusion)

D: Caroline Kopp (Rochester Lady Lancers)

D: Aubrey Suydam (Inferno Rush)

MF: Brooke Barbuto (Rochester Lady Lancers)

MF: Teresa Rook (Rynier) (Inferno Rush)

MF: Chanel Johnson (Connecticut Fusion)

MF: Tesa McKibben (Inferno Rush)

F: Haley Crawford (Inferno Rush)

F: Carissima Cutrona (Western New York Flash)

F: Tori Sousa (Connecticut Fusion)

2018 UWS All-East Conference Second Team

GK: Meghan Dalton (Connecticut Fusion)

D: Ashley Chilcoat (Inferno Rush)

D: Alana O’Neill (New Jersey Copa FC)

D: Taylor Groth (Long Island Rough Riders)

MF: Megan Carroll (Inferno Rush)

MF: Kelly Quigley (Connecticut Fusion)

MF: Jenna Menta (New York Surf)

F: Furtuna Velaj (New York Surf)

F: Kate Howarth (New England Mutiny)

F: Elin Eklund (Rochester Lady Lancers)

F: Kayla Saager (Long Island Rough Riders)


Iron Women of the Year (Players who played every minute of every match)

Tesa McKibben (Inferno Rush)

Stephanie Santos (Connecticut Fusion)

Caroline Kopp (Rochester Lady Lancers)

Brooke Barbuto (Rochester Lady Lancers)

Kylee McIntosh (Connecticut Fusion)

Lysianne Proulx (New England Mutiny)


Player of the Week for Lancers

Rochester Lady Lancers:

           GK: Caitie Broderick (Week V hon. mention, Week VI)

           DEF: Caroline Kopp (Week X)

           MID: Brooke Barbuto (Week II, Week V, Week VI hon. mention, Week IX)

           FOR: Elin Eklund (Week II, Week V)