After no less than five Australians managed to bang home goals last week, there is plenty to be excited about this week. The 12 teams play 21 games between them this week, meaning there will be plenty of opportunities for the Aussies to be right amongst the action.
Nicholls State (Jess Coates)
This week: v Louisiana-Lafayette – 6am, Saturday September 6; v Louisiana-Monroe – 3am, Monday September 8
Captain Jess Coates and Nicholls State will look to grab a couple of wins this week as they take on in-state foes Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana-Monroe in matches that are a little hard to judge. The Colonels and their opponents have all played in some lopsided matches early on which makes reading their form a little tough. Louisiana-Monroe in particular have played a weak schedule so far, scoring 19 goals in 4 games and conceding zero. Despite this, they may be the easier opponent for Nicholls State this week, as Louisiana-Lafayette have managed wins against some teams that appear stronger than any that Louisiana-Monroe have faced. Nicholls State will find these matches tough, but both are winnable.
Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)
This week: at UNC Asheville – 6am, Saturday September 6; at Presbyterian College – 3am, Monday September 8
After playing just the one game last week, Alabama State move back to the regular two-game weekend, taking a trip to the Carolinas to play UNC Asheville and Presbyterian. Interestingly, Alabama State, UNC Asheville, and Presbyterian all have one common opponent so far this season: USC Upstate, and all 3 sides have won their match 1-0. On the face of it, it would appear that these games will both be fairly close, with Alabama State possibly being slight underdogs due to their other results so far this season. Shelbi Vienna-Hallam has played 90 minutes in all of Alabama State’s games so far this season, and is poised to continue this run in a great start to her Division I career.
Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alexandra Huynh)
This week: v Kansas – 7am, Saturday September 6; v Detroit – 5am, Monday September 8
After conceding a heartbreaking late winner to Kent State last week, the Aussie duo of Kahlia Hogg and Alexandra Huynh will be part of a Colorado side looking to make amends, firstly against former conference rival Kansas, before taking on Detroit in the weekend’s second game. Kansas should prove to be a tight matchup for Colorado, as the Jayhawks have won all 5 of their matches so far, including 4 competitive fixtures, and are primed to take a shot at a national tournament berth this season. Detroit, on the other hand, have been a bit up and down this season, and if Colorado are on form, they should be able to grab a comfortable win in this match.
Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)
This week: at Florida International – 7am, Saturday September 6; at Florida Gulf Coast – 3am, Monday September 8
The two Aussie freshmen have been well and truly making their mark at Murray State in the early stages this season, with both Nyomi Devine and Harriet Withers making their way into the starting side. Harriet has scored 2 goals already so far this season and could end up being a revelation at Murray State. This week, the side takes a trip to Florida to face Florida International and Florida Gulf Coast. Florida Gulf Coast in particular will prove to be a tricky opponent, already notching up wins against the likes of Arizona and Miami, whilst Florida International have had some encouraging results, including sticking with nationally ranked Santa Clara in a 1-0 loss, and defeating Aussie Ellie Papalexiou and Pacific 1-0.
Kennesaw State (Nicole Calder)
This week: v Austin Peay – 7am, Saturday September 6; v South Florida – 4am, Monday September 8 (both at Middle Tennessee State)
Another week, another tournament for Nicole Calder and Kennesaw State as they make their way to Tennessee for Middle Tennessee State’s Blue Raider Classic, where they take on Austin Peay and South Florida. Neither of the weekend’s opponents have enjoyed much success so far this season, with Austin Peay only managing one win in six games, and South Florida only managing one win in four. Unfortunately, Kennesaw State are much in the same boat, but Nicole Calder’s absence has been felt by the side. Nicole will hopefully be back this week from a sprained ankle to lead the side to a couple of much-needed victories.
Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Bridget Sankey)
This week: v UC Davis – 7am, Saturday September 6 (at Colorado College); at Northern Colorado – 4am, Monday September 8
After picking up their first win last week, Southeast Missouri State head to Colorado to face a UC Davis team with a 4-1-0 record before taking on Northern Colorado, who currently possess a 1-3-0 record. Jenna Collingridge and Maddy Cornell have been integral members of the Southeast Missouri State side so far, and it will take outstanding performances from not only them, but the entire Redhawks side, if this team is to pick up positive results in both games this week.
Creighton (Anastasia McCleary)
This week: v New Mexico State – 8am, Saturday September 6; v Drake – 6:30am, Monday September 8
The so far untouchable Creighton side this week play host to New Mexico State before taking on former conference foe Drake on a weekend that could see them move to 5 wins from 5 if all goes to plan. Neither of the weekend’s opponents can boast a record even approaching that of the Bluejays, with New Mexico State losing their first four in a row before picking up a win against Incarnate Word last week, whilst Drake have two wins and two losses to show from their four competitive outings so far. Anastasia McCleary has provided a real spark off the bench for Creighton so far this season, and can’t be far away from a starting berth. It may be a case, however, that the Creighton coach wishes to continue using her in a way that has proved productive for both player and team so far.
UMBC (Lilly Rydon)
This week: at St Joseph’s – 9am, Saturday September 6
Just the one game this week for UMBC, as they take on a St. Joseph’s side that has already played against two Aussies so far this year, having dismantled Ellie Papalexiou and Pacific 4-1 before Emily Hulbert and Hofstra dismantled them 5-0. That 4-1 result against Pacific is the Hawks’ only win in four games, whilst UMBC are a perfect four from four so far this year in their bid to return to the national tournament. Lilly Rydon has been on song for the Retrievers so far this year, scoring in both games last week as she steps up to become a real leader of the side in her senior year.
Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)
This week: at Utah Valley – 11:30am, Saturday September 6
Another team with only one game this week, Wyoming head south to Utah to take on Utah Valley desperate to atone for two heartbreaking overtime losses against teams they really should have beaten. Utah Valley are yet another team that Wyoming should be taking care of if they play well, and the Aussie duo of Alisha Bass and Candace Sciberras will be a big part in deciding whether this happens. Georgia Rowntree has unfortunately been consigned to the bench as starter Alex Boehm has played 90 minutes in each of the side’s games so far.
Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)
This week: v Canisius – 12:00pm, Saturday September 6; v San Jose State – 6am, Monday September 8
Despite a poor start to the season, winning only one of their first four, Ellie Papalexiou and Pacific will be eyeing their first game this weekend against Canisius as a great chance to kickstart the season by getting their second victory of the year on the board. Canisius have lost all 3 Division I fixtures they have played, and were forced to double overtime to defeated Roberts Wesleyan, a school still in its transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II. San Jose State appear to be a more daunting proposition, having picked up a win over Sacramento State last week, a side that Pacific lost to in overtime earlier in the season. Ellie Papalexiou has been given starts in the majority of matches so far, and appears to be edging towards making the left midfield berth her own. The young winger has been heavily involved in attacking forays and can’t be far from scoring her first goal of the year.
Southern (Simone Arthur)
This week: v Louisiana Tech – 9am, Saturday September 6; v South Alabama – 4am, Monday September 8
The Jaguars play host this weekend, as Louisiana Tech and South Alabama make their way to Baton Rouge. The season has not started well for Southern, losing their first 3 matches. Things don’t stand to improve much this weekend unless the side’s performances improve, with Louisiana Tech putting together 4 wins and a draw from their first five games, and South Alabama putting together a handy, if not resounding, 3-2-0 record so far this season. Simone Arthur has been unavailable for the Southern side in its first few games; if she makes a comeback this weekend, it will definitely help the Jaguars’ chances.