There’s already been one game this week, with Southern getting us off to an early start against Louisiana College, but a torrential downpour on the hour mark saw the game abandoned with Southern leading 1-0. There’s still plenty of football to come though!
Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)
This week: v IUPUI – 6am, Saturday 20 September; v Northern Kentucky – 3am, Monday 22 September
After finishing last week with a win and a loss, Murray State come up against an IUPUI side that is just as hungry as the Racers are for a win, with both sides sitting on 2 wins and 5 losses, with IUPUI also having two draws on their record. IUPUI are fresh off a last minute loss to Butler, whilst Murray State defeated Saint Louis in their last start. Northern Kentucky also played Butler in their last game, in an even more ludicrous finish than IUPUI were subjected to, if that’s possible. Northern Kentucky conceded a tying goal with 3 seconds to go, and Butler scored the winner just 90 seconds into overtime, at which point the Butler coach was also red-carded after the final whistle! These will both be tight games for Murray State, and could easily be as close as last week’s two 1-0 games. Harriet Withers should continue to play solid minutes for the Racers, whilst Nyomi Devine will hopefully be back this weekend.
Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)
This week: at California – 7am, Saturday 20 September; v UC Santa Barbara – 6am, Monday 22 September
This weekend could prove to be very interesting for Pacific. Last week, their first half against nationally ranked USC saw them concede 14 shots, but the majority of these were only half-chances and the sides went into the break tied 0-0. Although Pacific went down 3-0 in that game, Ellie Papalexiou and the side were buoyed by this performance and a similar effort against California (the college home of Alex Morgan) could see the Tigers sneak an upset. UC Santa Barbara appear to be more on Pacific’s level and a win in this game wouldn’t be as surprising as one against California would, although the Gauchos have put together a 3-3-2 record compared to Pacific’s 2-5 record. Ellie Papalexiou has been coming off the bench for Pacific more often than not so far this year, but has been putting in solid performances all season, and things look poised to continue in the same vein this weekend.
Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alexandra Huynh)
This week: v Bryant – 8am, Saturday 20 September; v San Francisco – 4am, Monday 22 September
Teams from the both sides of the country travel to Boulder this week, as Rhode Island’s Bryant University and University of San Francisco take on the Buffaloes. Colorado will be thankful for these less testing games as they look to continue the momentum they’ve gained throughout their non-conference schedule as they head into Pac-12 league play – one of the toughest conferences in the nation. Bryant have managed just two wins in their first eight games this season, whilst San Francisco have put together a 4-2-2 record, but Colorado should still be able to take care of the Dons. Alex Huynh and Kahlia Hogg have both been instrumental in Colorado’s success so far this season, and this looks unlikely to change, with both players expected to start.
Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Bridget Sankey)
This week: at Arkansas State – 8am, Saturday 20 September
After two tough losses last week, Southeast Missouri State come up against an Arkansas State side just as desperate for a win as the Redhawks are. Arkansas State are sitting at 2-5-0 at the moment, with their wins coming against Mississippi Valley State and Murray State, whilst Southeast Missouri State are at 2-3, but those 3 losses have come in their last 3 games. Arkansas State’s defence has been their weakness this year, and this may prove to be the opportunity that the Southeast Missouri State attack needs after three goalless games in a row. Jenna Collingridge will most probably start this game, with Maddy Cornell and Bridget Sankey hopefully coming off the bench.
UMBC (Lilly Rydon)
This week: v Delaware State – 9am, Saturday 20 September; v American – 9am, Wednesday 24 September
Following a mixed week at the Battle Of Baltimore last week, UMBC get back into action this week with two eminently winnable games against Delaware State and American. Delaware State have won just two of their eight games this season, with one of those being a 2-1 win over the same Mount St. Mary’s side that UMBC demolished 6-0 last week, whilst American are doing slightly better with a 3-5-0 record, also including a win over Mount St. Mary’s, by a 3-0 scoreline. Lilly Rydon scored two goals against Mount St. Mary’s to continue her stellar start to the season, and will surely be confident of knocking another one or two in this week.
Nicholls State (Jess Coates)
This week: at McNeese State – 9am, Saturday 20 September; v Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 3am, Monday 22 September
Nicholls State kick off conference play with what, on paper, appears to be the easiest two games they will face this season. McNeese State have won just two games this season, both against SWAC opponents, whilst Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s sole win for the season is also against a SWAC opponent in the form of Texas Southern. Furthermore, Nicholls State’s two opponents have been predicted to occupy the bottom two places in the 12 team Southland Conference this year, whilst Nicholls are predicted to finish 5th. Jess Coates has put in solid captain’s efforts so far this season and we can expect more of the same this week.
Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)
This week: v Yale – 9am, Saturday 20 September; at Monmouth – 3am, Monday 22 September
Ordinarily, this would be considered a tough week for Hofstra, and whilst it’s certainly not a week of easy games for the Pride, last week’s win against Duke has made for a slight readjustment in expectations for the side. Yale have won 4 of their 5 games so far, but it hasn’t been the most testing of schedules so far. Likewise, Monmouth have won their last four in a row, but also against a fairly comfortable set of teams. As such, it appears that whilst Hofstra are the side with the poorer record so far in both matchups, they may actually come into these games as slight favourites. Emily Hulbert played over 40 minutes against Virginia last weekend after only seeing limited time in the previous games, and this may be the start of a more integral role in the Hofstra side for the young Victorian.
Creighton (Anastasia McCleary)
This week: v UMKC – 10am, Saturday 20 September; at Omaha – 7am, Monday 22 September
Creighton have started this season perfectly, with seven wins in a row at this point, and if they can win these two games, they’ll finish this year’s non-conference slate with a 16 match non-conference winning streak that dates back to last season. The UMKC game looms as the tougher fixture, with the Kangaroos (yes, that’s actually their nickname) tallying a 3-3-2 record so far. Creighton will still be favourites for this game, but will have to be at their best to make sure of the win. Omaha have won just 2 games of 7 so far this season against a schedule that hasn’t been particularly strong, and Creighton will be even stronger favourites in this game. Games between local rivals are never quite that simple, though. Anastasia McCleary has been the perfect impact player for the Bluejays so far this year, playing about half an hour in each game, and notching shots in most of these appearances, and tallying two goals so far this year.
Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)
This week: at Northern Colorado – 11am, Satuday 20 September
Consistently inconsistent is the best way to describe Wyoming so far this season as they have stumbled to a 2-5-0 record despite performances that may have deserved more. Their opponent this week, Northern Colorado, have put together a 4-4-0 record, but their wins have come against some weaker teams, whilst their losses have come against much stronger teams, with little in the way of games that appeared even on paper. This game is one of those even games, given the respective performances of the two teams so far. As this is Wyoming’s last non-conference game, they’ll be looking for a win more than ever now to build some momentum going into league play. Expect to see Alisha Bass start for Wyoming, whilst Georgia Rowntree has seen a good deal of playing time lately. Candace Sciberras came off the bench in Wyoming’s last game after sitting out due to a red card, but it would not be surprising to see her starting again.
Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)
This week: at Alabama – 4am, Monday 22 September
Alabama State have had a tough couple of weeks, going down in three straight games, and things aren’t about to get any easier, as the Hornets travel to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama. Known more for their football team, the Crimson Tide have put together a solid record this year, with four wins and a draw from their first seven games of a schedule that has been testing if not exceedingly challenging. Alabama State have shown so far this season that they have more than enough talent at their disposal to challenge for the SWAC title, but a game against Alabama is something else entirely. Regardless of the result of this match, the Hornets’ non-conference schedule ends with this game, and they’ll be looking forward to SWAC league play, where they’ll be favoured to take the league’s national title bid. Shelbi Vienna-Hallam has been almost ever-present in the Alabama State defence, and her performance in this game will play a big part in deciding the final score, if not the result, of this game.
Southern (Simone Arthur)
This week: at Southern Mississippi – 4am, Monday 22 September
After Friday morning’s game was abandoned due to a downpour during play that forced the players from the field, Southern take on Southern Mississippi on Monday morning. Southern have had a tough season, both on and off the field, having lost all seven games so far and only carrying a squad of 13 or 14 players each game. They are definite underdogs for this game, but Southern Mississippi have little to brag about of their own, with a 3-4 record that seems based more around beating up minnows than truly testing themselves, and it’s backfired as they’ve lost some games they’d usually be expected to win. Despite Southern’s problems, nobody can fault their effort in any of their games this season, and they’ll be looking forward to getting into SWAC play next week, where they were expected to have a solid year before they lost a couple of players. Simone Arthur has been in and out of the side so far this year, but hopefully this weekend will be one that she’s in the team.