2014 Week 9 Preview

This week sees our first Aussie v Aussie matchup, and there are plenty of Aussies involved, as Southeast Missouri State’s trio of Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, and Bridget Sankey take on Murray State and their Aussie duo of Nyomi Devine and Harriet Withers. Elsewhere, UMBC kick off their conference schedule, whilst Wyoming and Southern aim to keep their 100% winning records in conference play.

UMBC (Lilly Rydon)

This week: at Vermont – 5am, Friday October 3; v Stony Brook – 4am, Monday October 6

UMBC finally get their conference schedule kicked off, taking on Vermont and Stony Brook in a weekend that should, on paper, allow the side to ease their way into league play. UMBC have compiled an 8-2-0 record so far this season, whilst Vermont and Stony Brook have just two and three wins respectively, against teams that are no better than those faced by UMBC. Lilly Rydon has played up front most of the season for UMBC, contributing with both goals and assists, and there is no reason not to expect more of the same this week as she makes the most of her final season in college.

Creighton (Anastasia McCleary)

This week: v Providence – 10am, Friday October 3; v Seton Hall – 5am, Monday October 6

After rolling through their non-conference schedule with just one loss, Creighton hit a major speed bump in conference play, losing both of their first two games to DePaul and St. John’s. Things don’t get much easier in their first game this week, coming up against a Providence side that have played a tough schedule but managed to eke out a 5-4-2 record. The Bluejays have a much better chance this week, however, of coming away with a result against lowly rated Seton Hall, whose record sits at just 3-6-2. Anastasia McCleary may be just the player to nab a victory for Creighton this week; whilst her chances have been limited in recent matches, she has made her impact felt when she has been given the chance.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week: at Utah State – 7am, Saturday October 4; at Boise State – 5am, Monday October 6

Two tightly contested match appear to await Wyoming this week, although it appeared that way last week against Nevada and UNLV and it ended in two massive victories. Still, the Cowgirls will be have to be on their game to defeat a pair of sides that have been more than nuisance value so far this season. Wyoming’s two wins to start conference play have put them atop the Mountain West standings, and two more would be enough to see them, at worst, in a two-way tie for the conference lead. The three Australians have become vital cogs in the team, with Alisha Bass scoring goals regularly, Candace Sciberras playing well in midfield, and Georgia Rowntree becoming something akin to a brick wall with reflexes in goal, and they’ll all need to be in top form to ensure that Wyoming pick up a pair of victories this weekend.

Southern (Simone Arthur)

This week: at Alcorn State – 8am, Saturday October 4; at Mississippi Valley State – 5am, Monday October 6

After two wins this week, Southern come into these two matches with a great chance to extend their conference winning streak and put themselves in prime position to gain a top seed in the SWAC tournament – in a conference where each team plays 10 games, four straight wins is a great start. Alcorn State and Mississippi Valley State have been tipped to be near the bottom of the SWAC, and Alcorn State only played three non-conference games this year, which unfortunately says more than a bit about how seriously the program is taken by the athletics department. Whether Simone Arthur will play this weekend or not is still up in the air – hopefully she will be back soon.

Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alexandra Huynh)

This week: at USC – 8am, Saturday October 4; at UCLA – 7am, Monday October 6

After a loss to California last week, things don’t get any easier for Colorado this week, as a trip to Los Angeles sees the usual Disneyland and Universal Studios become nationally ranked #23 USC and #1 UCLA. Against two sides that have only one loss between them this season, this will prove to be the toughest test of the season for the Buffaloes, but if they can somehow pull a rabbit out of a hat in one of these games, they may just reignite their increasingly remote at-large bid chances. Kahlia Hogg will most probably start up front again this week, but Alex Huynh is out indefinitely with a foot injury, putting a huge hole in Colorado’s defence.

Nicholls State (Jess Coates)

This week: at Lamar – 9am, Saturday October 4

Jess Coates has stepped into the captain’s role superbly this season, performing outstandingly so far this season, and this week her Nicholls State side takes on Lamar, once the home of Australian defender Danielle Pearce. These sides are fairly evenly matched, and both need a win in order to keep their hunt for a high seed in the Southland conference tournament. Nicholls State have had little trouble scoring goals, but have had a few problems at the other end of the field. This game may be an opportunity for the Colonels’ defence to build a little confidence against a Lamar side that has had problems of its own scoring goals. If the defence can put in a solid shift, the Nicholls State attack should have no problems putting this game away.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week: v James Madison – 9am, Saturday October 4; v Towson – 4am, Monday October 6

Despite their loss to William and Mary last week, Hofstra remain as one of the strongest teams in the Colonial league this year, and are hot favourites to pick up two wins this week against James Madison and Towson. The Pride will have to be wary of James Madison’s attack, however, which racked up eight goals last week in a pair of 4-2 wins, whilst Towson have already defeated Lilly Rydon’s UMBC team this year and run some more fancied teams close despite only winning three games so far this season. Emily Hulbert has become an integral part of the Hofstra side, and could very well play a big part if the defence is indeed forced to work as hard as James Madison’s attacking stats suggest.

Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Bridget Sankey)

This week: v Tennessee-Martin – 9:30am, Saturday October 4; v Murray State – 5am, Monday October 6

Southeast Missouri State provide one side of the first Aussie v Aussie matchup of the season, as they take on Murray State in the second game of the weekend in what is set to be a hotly contested matchup. Before that, however, comes a game against Tennessee-Martin, which appears to be the tougher of the two games. Tennessee-Martin have put together 7 wins in their first 11 games, whilst Southeast Missouri State have compiled a 3-3-0 record so far, partly due to some games being abandoned or cancelled. Jenna Collingridge is playing well in midfield this season, whilst Maddy Cornell is beginning to establish herself as a presence off the bench for the Redhawks.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: at SIU Edwardsville – 10am, Saturday October 4; at Southeast Missouri State – 5am, Monday October 6

The other half of our Aussie v Aussie matchup, Murray State currently sit atop the Ohio Valley conference standings with two wins from their first two conference games. Their first opponent of the weekend, SIU Edwardsville, have compiled a 4-4-1 record so far this season, but haven’t played the most testing schedule, and Murray State will be fancied to make it 3 wins on the trot in conference play. Following that, however, comes the game featuring five Australians between the two teams. This game actually has the potential to be a cracking contest, with both teams compiling solid records and both having the opportunity to establish themselves at the pointy end of the conference standings.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: at Portland – 12pm, Saturday October 4; at Gonzaga – 7am, Monday October 6

Ellie Papalexiou and Pacific face a difficult start to their conference season, and to make things tougher, they have to face possibly the most famous crowd in college soccer when they travel to Portland to face the Pilots at Merlo Field, where attendance regularly tops 3,000. After facing Portland, the side travel even further north to Spokane to take on Gonzaga. Whilst this match doesn’t appear on paper to be as tough as the Portland game, Pacific will still be the outsiders in this one, with Gonzaga sitting at 5-5-0 in comparison to Pacific’s 2-7-1. Pacific’s main problem has been their inability to score goals; they have scored just one goal in their last five games, and this will have to change if they are to get positive results in the coming weeks. Expect to see Ellie Papalexiou to come off the bench for Pacific again this week to make an impact on the left side of midfield.

Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)

This week: at Howard – 5am, Monday October 6

With Howard, whose campus is in Washington D.C., playing their home games in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, this is almost an extra home game for Alabama State as they make the 90 minute drive to take on the newest member of SWAC women’s soccer. The two sides have had completely opposite starts to the conference season, with Howard playing two of the weakest sides in the conference and picking up two wins, whilst Alabama State slipped to surprise losses against Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern. At the start of the season, this would have been pegged as a certain win for the Hornets, but now it appears Howard have more than half a chance to win this game. It will be interesting to see how Shelbi Vienna-Hallam is used in this game, after she was moved from defence into a striking role against Texas Southern, and scored her first college goal. With Howard having little trouble scoring goals lately, Shelbi may have to move back into defence out of necessity.

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