This week sees Colorado, UMBC, and Creighton look to extend their winning starts to the season, and freshman Ellie Papalexiou and Pacific get a taste of College Matildas history, taking on ex-Canberra United midfielder Beck Kiting’s former college team of Quinnipiac.
Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)
This week: v Georgia State – 6am, Saturday August 30; at Dayton – 3am, Monday September 1
After a couple of tough losses, Murray State will be looking to kickstart their season with some positive results against Georgia State and Dayton. Georgia State looks to be the best opportunity for a win this week, having recently been held to a tie by Nicole Calder’s Kennesaw State side, whilst Dayton lost a close 3-4 game to nationally ranked Texas A&M last week. Harriet Withers and Nyomi Devine have forced their way into the side as freshmen, with Harriet’s performances off the bench making her impossible to ignore in these early stages.
Kennesaw State (Nicole Calder)
This week: at Troy – 6am, Saturday August 30; v South Alabama (at Troy) – 3am, Monday September 1
After a loss and a tie last week, Nicole Calder and Kennesaw State travel to Troy in Alabama to play two matches in an early-season tournament hosted by Troy University. First up is the host school, who last week knocked off Shelbi Vienna-Hallam and Alabama State 6-0 after losses to LSU and Louisiana Tech. The Owls then take on South Alabama, who also defeated an Aussie last week, easing past Jess Coates and Nicholls State to the tune of a 3-0 win. Nicole Calder has been eased into the side after being struck down with illness during the preseason, but is now back to full fitness and starting as captain for Kennesaw State.
Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)
This week: at Idaho State – 8am, Saturday August 30; at Weber State – 4am, Monday September 1
A mixed week last week for Wyoming, with a win and a loss in their two games. This week provides a couple of eminently winnable games, against Idaho State and Weber State. Alisha Bass and Candace Sciberras have been integral parts of the Wyoming side so far this season, with Alisha cementing her spot in the starting lineup as far back as spring exhibition games. This form has continued into the season and hopefully the Australians can play roles in a couple of wins this week.
Southern (Simone Arthur)
This week: v Louisiana-Monroe – 9am, Saturday August 30
Coming off the back of a couple of tough matches last week, including an unfortunate 6-0 loss to Arkansas-Little Rock, Simone Arthur and Southern this week have just the one game, against Louisiana-Monroe. The Warhawks played just one competitive fixture last week, defeating Northwestern State 3-0, and the Jaguars will be up against it in trying to get a result out of this game. Simone Arthur sat out last week’s games; if she is back for these games, it’ll be a big game changer for Southern.
Nicholls State (Jess Coates)
This week: at Arkansas-Little Rock – 9am, Saturday August 30; at Arkansas-Pine Bluff – 4am, Monday September 1
A short trip across the border to Arkansas for Jess Coates and Nicholls State this week, as they take on Arkansas-Little Rock and Arkansas-Pine Bluff in an early season invitational tournament. Arkansas-Little Rock should prove a stern test, as they have so far dispatched of Chicago State and Southern (minus Simone Arthur) to the tune of 7-0 and 6-0 respectively. Arkansas Pine-Bluff, however, lost to the same Chicago State side 4-1 in their only match of the season so far, and the Colonels would be eyeing this one off as a potential victory. As captain of the Nicholls State side, Jess Coates has been leading the side with aplomb in these early season matches and hopefully she can keep up her solid form.
Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Bridget Sankey)
This week: v Missouri-St Louis – 9:30am, Saturday August 30
With last week’s game against Tennessee-Martin cancelled, this match against NCAA Division II Missouri-St Louis will be the Redhawks’ first match in 16 days, and should provide the side with an opportunity to secure their first win of the season, following losses to Lipscomb and Saint Louis in exhibition play. Maddy Cornell and Jenna Collingridge have been ever-present in the starting side this season, and hopefully Bridget Sankey can soon join them.
Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)
This week: v South Carolina Upstate – 10am, Saturday August 30
After a three game week last week, Shelbi Vienna-Hallam and Alabama State slow things down a bit this week, playing just the one game, against South Carolina Upstate. South Carolina Upstate have only won 1 of their first 4 games, but are yet to concede more than one goal in any of their games. Conversely, this means they have also only scored 1 goal in 4 games. With their opponents’ goalscoring being so lax early on in the season, Shelbi and the rest of the Alabama State defence will be pinpointing this fixture as one to claim a clean sheet in and give the team a real chance of victory in this match.
Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alexandra Huynh)
This week: at UNLV – 12:00pm, Saturday August 30, v Kent State (at UNLV) – 7am, Monday September 1
The Aussie pair of Kahlia Hogg and Alexandra Huynh travel with the Colorado squad to Las Vegas this week to take on UNLV and Kent State in an early season tournament. Following two shutout victories against Colorado State and Northern Colorado in their own home tournament last week, the Buffaloes will be looking to the defence to lead the team to two more victories as the side looks to pad its CV in its quest for an at-large NCAA Tournament bid. Kahlia and Alexandra have been large parts of the side’s wins so far, with Kahlia picking up an assist on the winner against Northern Colorado.
Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)
This week: v Quinnipiac – 12:00pm, Saturday August 30; v Florida International – 6am, Monday September 1
After a heartbreaker of a loss to Sacramento State last week, Ellie Papalexiou and Pacific host a couple of east coast teams, including Quinnipiac, who count former Canberra United player Beck Kiting as an alumnus. Quinnipiac have played just one game this season, a 1-0 loss to Maine. Meanwhile Florida International have split their first two games this year, losing 2-0 to Arizona, but defeating North Florida 3-0. Pacific would be desperate to get at least one positive result out of this weekend and avoid slipping into a losing streak. Ellie Papalexiou has started one game so far this season and come off the bench in another so far, playing on the left side of midfield, and it appears as if she’s impressing the coaching staff at Pacific, and a start in at least one of these games wouldn’t be out of the question.
UMBC (Lilly Rydon)
This week: at Howard – 4am, Sunday August 31; at Bucknell – 9am, Wednesday September 3
Lilly Rydon and UMBC managed to register two wins from their first two competitive fixtures last week, and will be looking for more of the same this week against Howard and Bucknell. Bucknell have already suffered a loss to an Australian this season, going down 4-2 to Emily Hulbert and Hofstra last weekend, and UMBC would have to be confident of notching up wins in both the Bucknell contest and the game against Howard as they continue their charge through a season that will hopefully end in the already predicted national tournament berth. Lilly Rydon has nailed down a starting spot in her senior season, and there appears no reason for her to lose that as the side is performing well with her playing in an advanced role.
Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)
This week: v St. Joseph’s – 3am, Monday September 1
After an attacking explosion in their second game last week against Bucknell, Emily Hulbert and Hofstra will be looking to put together another stellar performance, and they’ll need to if they are to get a result against a much stronger opposition in the form of St. Joseph’s, who have already dispatched with Ellie Papalexiou and Pacific 4-1 this season, although they followed that up with a 4-0 loss to St. Mary’s during their trip to California. Emily Hulbert has been seeing some decent minutes for Hofstra in the early stages, and will hopefully continue to push for more game time this week.
Creighton (Anastasia McCleary)
This week: v Western Illinois – 3am, Tuesday September 2
The Bluejays have firmly put the disappointment of their exhibition losses behind them, and come storming out of the gates with two wins in their first two competitive matches, and there is no doubting that they can make it 3 from 3 in this game against Western Illinois. The Leathernecks have managed one win in their first two matches, defeating Northern Illinois after suffering a loss to Kent State. Anastasia McCleary has been providing a real spark off the bench for Creighton in these early matches, and it’s surely only a matter of time until she nabs a starting spot.