The regular season is over, as are the conference tournaments, and the season is over for all bar two of our Aussies: Colorado’s pair – Alexandra Huynh and Kahlia Hogg, who have reached the NCAA Tournament. There were plenty of highs and lows in the final week, but unfortunately no other team was able to secure a ticket to the national tournament.
Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)
This week’s results: defeated Mississippi Valley State 2-0, lost to Prairie View A&M 2-0
Alabama State had been on a brilliant winning run over these last few weeks, but knew that they would have to exact revenge on a team that had beaten them earlier in the season if they were to reach the NCAA Tournament. First, however, they would have to pick up a second win over Mississippi Valley State this season, and they managed to do this to the tune of a 2-0 victory. Goals were hard to come by for the Hornets in the first half, and it took until the 69th minute for the side to open the scoring. The game remained tight until the 82nd minute, when Aaliyah Lewis scored a second for Alabama State, assisted by Shelbi Vienna-Hallam (I’m not making this up, it literally happens almost every game). This led the Hornets to a rematch with Prairie View A&M, but unfortunately Alabama State couldn’t exact revenge on the Panthers for the loss earlier in the season, with Prairie View A&M winning 2-0, capitalising on a 21-15 shot advantage that Alabama State had led 9-4 at one point.
Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alexandra Huynh)
This week’s result: defeated Utah 2-0
Colorado came into the final week of the Pac-12 season needing a win to assure themselves of a position in the NCAA Tournament, and the Buffaloes duly delivered with a 2-0 victory over Utah. This game also saw the long-awaited return of Alex Huynh to the paddock as she came on late in the game for her first appearance since breaking her foot several weeks ago. Both sides had their fair share of chances, but it was Colorado who took theirs, as they scored in the 27th and 37th minutes to put themselves ahead 2-0 at halftime. Utah had their chances to come back in the second half, but could only manage two shots on target in the second 45 minutes, both of which were dealt with easily by Colorado goalkeeper Kate Scheele. Kahlia Hogg started for Colorado in midfield and played the full 90 minutes, tallying a shot.
Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)
This week’s result: lost to Morehead State 5-1
Murray State came into the Ohio Valley Conference quarterfinals favoured to topple Morehead State in the 3 v 6 matchup, but evidently nobody had informed Morehead State of this. Morehead State came out firing, scoring after 11 minutes and adding two more in the next twenty minutes to be up 3-0 by halftime. When they added a fourth just after the break, the game was over as a contest and a fifth four minutes later just made even more sure of the result. There was one positive to come out of the game, though, with Harriet Withers scoring Murray State’s only goal. Nyomi Devine started for the Racers, but as a defensive player would probably prefer to forget this game.
Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Bridget Sankey)
This week’s result: lost to Jacksonville State 1-0
Southeast Missouri State came into the Ohio Valley Conference tournament as the top seed and host, but came up against a Jacksonville State side more than ready to tangle. The two sides were evenly matched throughout the match, with the shot tally being edged 12-11 in Southeast Missouri State’s favour, but it was Jacksonville State who tallied the only goal of the game in the 66th minute to leave the Redhawks wondering what might have been as they missed out on a massive chance to play in the NCAA Tournament. Jenna Collingridge started for Southeast Missouri State, but unfortunately neither Maddy Cornell nor Bridget Sankey saw any playing time.
Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)
This week’s results: defeated James Madison 4-3, lost to Northeastern 2-0
Despite being one of the better sides in the nation, Hofstra came up against two other top-level sides in an unusually stacked Colonial Athletic Association tournament, taking on James Madison in the conference semi-finals before coming up against Northeastern in the championship game. The game against James Madison proved to be one of the most exciting of the week, as James Madison opened the scoring just 5 minutes in before Hofstra equalised through Sam Scolarici just two minutes later. Scolarici added a second eleven minutes later before James Madison equalised on the half-hour mark to leave the game poised at 2-2, which the scoreline remained at until halftime. The scoring slowed down for the first 15 minutes of the second half, before Hofstra took their first lead of the game on a Leah Galton goal. Once again, though, there was a comeback in the making, this time from James Madison, who made the score 3-3 with 20 minutes to play. Emily Agudelo saved the best for last though; her 45 yard free kick flying into the top of the net for what proved to be the winner. Unfortunately, all the exciting semi-finals in the world don’t mean anything in a final, and Northeastern opened the scoring 11 minutes into the final, and despite Hofstra’s best efforts, their inability to get shots on target (3 of 10) meant that when Northeastern scored a second with 20 minutes remaining, Hofstra were in a whole lot of trouble, and it proved as much as Northeastern took the win and the NCAA Tournament berth. Emily Hulbert started both games for Hofstra, playing the full 90 minutes against James Madison, and 51 minutes against Northeastern.
Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)
This week’s results: defeated New Mexico 2-1 (OT), lost to San Diego State 1-0 (OT)
Wyoming endured an absolute rollercoaster of a weekend this weekend as they managed to do everything but win the conference tournament. The Cowgirls went down 1-0 to New Mexico on the half-hour mark, but with 18 minutes remaining, Candace Sciberras was the first of Wyoming’s saviours on the night, slotting from close range from a corner. The Cowgirls and Lobos traded blows until the 90 minutes expired, but neither could find a winner. 4 minutes into overtime, Laurel Ramer received the ball from Kaitlyn Lomsnes four yards out from goal and buried the finish for a thrilling win. Overtime was again the order of the day in the championship game as Wyoming withstood an absolute onslaught from the San Diego State attack, as the Aztecs had 23 attempts on goal, although they could only manage two shots on target. Conversely, Wyoming only managed eight shots, but had three on target. In the end though, it’s the shot that actually hits the net that counts in overtime, and on this occasion it was San Diego State senior Katie Perry who finished from 18 yards to give San Diego State their third straight Mountain West title. Alisha Bass and Candace Sciberras started for Wyoming in both games and were major parts of the side’s attacking flow in both games.
Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)
This week’s result: lost 3-0 to San Francisco
Losing to St. Mary’s left Pacific staring perilously at a winless conference season, and it unfortunately came to fruition with a 3-0 loss to San Francisco this week. Two goals to the Dons before halftime made the game tough for the Tigers, with goals coming in the 17th and 35th minutes. San Francisco scored a third in the 72nd minute to put the game to bed, and whilst Pacific had 12 shots, they weren’t able to manage a goal. Ellie Papalexiou once again came off the bench for Pacific.
Nicholls State (Jess Coates)
This week’s results: defeated McNeese State 1-0, lost to Stephen F. Austin 5-0
Nicholls State’s up and down season unfortunately ended on a fairly large down, as the Colonels went down 5-1 to Stephen F. Austin in the conference semi-finals. The side did manage a quarterfinal win over McNeese State prior to that though, a 1-0 victory courtesy of a Spencer Valdespino goal just after the 70 minute mark. Jess Coates proved to be one of the side’s most potent attacking weapons in this game, however despite four shots and three on target, she was denied by the McNeese State goalkeeper. Unbelievably, in the side’s 5-0 loss to Stephen F. Austin, Nicholls State had 18 shots in comparison to their opponents’ 19, but just couldn’t manage to find the net, with only five shots on target, all of which were saved. SFA were far more clinical, scoring their five goals on eight on-target shots, with all their scoring coming in a 35 minute period between the 23rd and 58th minutes.
Kennesaw State (Nicole Calder)
This week’s results: defeated Lipscomb 1-0, lost to Florida Gulf Coast 3-1
Kennesaw State weren’t expected to provide much excitement in the Atlantic Sun tournament, coming in as the sixth seed, but after defeating #3 seed Jacksonville 5-0, the Owls were all set to crash the party against #2 seed Lipscomb, and came away with a 1-0 win. It took a lot more time than the Owls would have wanted to get the win, though, as they led the shot count 17-8, but took until 3 minutes from the end of overtime to score the winner after regulation time finished 0-0. Both sides were hampered by their inability to get shots on target, but Khatra Mahdi managed to put the ball past the Lipscomb goalkeeper for the winner. Unfortunately, the top seed in the Atlantic Sun tournament was Florida Gulf Coast, a side generally considered to be in the top 30 in the nation, and as such the final would be a lot tougher than the previous two games for the Owls. And it proved as much, with FGCU scoring the first two goals before halftime to move into a commanding position. Kennesaw State refused to lie down, however, and grabbed one back with about 20 minutes to go. Unfortunately, that would be as close the Owls would get as their opponents scored a third with 8 minutes to go. Nicole Calder came off the bench in both games, despite her knee injury, but wasn’t able to impact the scoresheet.