Yet another Aussie wrapped up a conference regular season title this week, as Emily Hulbert and Hofstra claimed no less than a share of the Colonial Athletic Association league crown, joining Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers, and Murray State as regular season champions. Elsewhere, Drexel finished their season agonisingly close to making the conference tournament, whilst Shelbi Vienna-Hallam enjoyed a Senior Day for the ages at Alabama State.
Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)
This week’s results: defeated SIU Edwardsville 2-0, defeated Eastern Illinois 4-0
What more can you say about Murray State? Having already secured the conference title last week with a 7-0 record in league play, they now sit at 9-0 and just one game away from a perfect league slate. The Racers were challenged against an SIU Edwardsville team with a lot of pride on the line as last year’s champions despite a lean year in 2015, and in fact they outshot the Racers 10-9. Murray State were far more clinical in their finishing though, and scored either side of the break for a 2-0 win. The Racers then beat Eastern Illinois at an absolute canter. Outshooting their opponents 28-6, Murray State somehow took 20 minutes to score the first goal, which Rebecca Bjorkvall slotted home, but then even more astoundingly, didn’t score again until the 66th minute. Assisted by Taylor Richerson and Aussie sophomore Harriet Withers, Taylor Stevens was able to finish with ease to double the Racers’ lead. Emily Nielhaus added a 3rd in the 80th minute, before Harriet scored one of her own in the 86th minute to finish the rout. As well as Harriet’s superb performance, Nyomi Devine continued her streak of playing every minute this season as she again was present throughout this weekend.
Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)
This week’s results: defeated Boise State 1-0, defeated Utah State 2-1
After an inconsistent conference season so far, Wyoming hit their straps at the right time, picking up two wins this weekend to put themselves within striking distance of a conference tournament berth with a game to play. Facing two teams also in the hunt for a tournament spot, the Cowgirls got off to the best possible start as they defeated Boise State to give themselves a chance of jumping the Broncos. In keeping a clean sheet, the Wyoming defence, which has featured Alisha Bass as an integral piece this season, broke the Wyoming single season record for shutouts. Mandy Meyer headed home the game’s only goal in the 52nd minute to give Wyoming the 1-0 win. The Cowgirls were unable to extend that shutout record against Utah State as they almost threw away a victory. Annika Clayton had the assist on the game’s opening goal as she crossed for Shaina Ashouri, who directed the ball home in the 18th minute. With no more goals for the next hour or so, it looked as if 1-0 would be the final result. But Utah State had other ideas, and tied things up in the 81st minute. Enter Kaitlyn Lomsnes. The Canadian sophomore, whose season has been interrupted by injuries after a stellar freshman year, buried a through ball from Ashouri to give Wyoming a 2-1 victory and keep them in the hunt for a conference tournament place. Annika Clayton and Alisha Bass started both games this weekend. Jessie Gentle came off the bench in both games as well, but unfortunately there was no playing time for goalkeeper Georgia Rowntree this weekend.
Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)
This week’s results: defeated Northeastern 3-1, lost to Hofstra 1-0
Requiring two monumental upset victories to give themselves a shot at reaching the conference tournament, Drexel nearly pulled off a miracle but went down narrowly to Hofstra after defeating Northeastern. Facing Northeastern away, Drexel would have been given little chance of registering anything better than a draw, and things looked bleak early as they conceded a goal to Breeana Koemans in just the 8th minute. There’s always a positive when you concede early, though: you have plenty of time to recover. And recover is exactly what Drexel did – goals to Imani Walker and Wilhelmina Hauch-Fausboll put the Dragons up 2-1 at halftime and on the brink of a boilover victory. Despite being outshot 20-13, Drexel made the most of their opportunities and it was Vanessa Kara who gave them a bit of breathing room as she scored the game’s final goal with 24 minutes remaining for a 3-1 victory. The Dragons then faced Hofstra, where one team with an Aussie was almost guaranteed celebration: either Emily Hulbert and Hofstra would be on the brink of a regular season title, or Emma Heckenberg and Drexel would sneak into the conference tournament. The 1-0 loss coupled with a Delaware victory, ironically over Northeastern, meant that it was Australian sophomore Emily Hulbert’s headed goal that ended Drexel’s season as they narrowly missed out on the conference tournament. Unfortunately, Emma Heckenberg did not play in either match this weekend.
East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)
This week’s results: lost to Samford 1-0, lost to Chattanooga 3-1
East Tennessee State lost the game they were probably expected to lose against Samford, but slipped up against lowly Chattanooga to drop themselves from a potential fourth seed and opportunity to host a game against Mercer in the first round of the conference tournament to a fifth seed, meaning they will play the same opponent, but away instead of at home. Surprisingly, East Tennessee State were the more dominant of the two sides against Samford, but a shot count of 13-6 meant little as each team had three shots on target. This meant goals were going to be few and far between, and it proved as such as the lone goal of the game came in the 86th minute via a strike from Samford’s Malcanisha Kelley. So it was onwards to the match against Chattanooga, on Senior Day, for the Buccaneers to secure a home quarterfinal. Once again, East Tennessee State dominated the stats and the play, and opened the scoring in just the fourth minute through Eleonora Goldini. Unfortunately, that would be as good as it would get for the home side as Chattanooga’s Peyton McCollum decided that this day would be a good day to score a hat-trick, and did just that, scoring in the 32nd, 58th, and 71st minutes to relegate East Tennessee State to their second loss of the weekend. Isabel Hodgson played 90 minutes against Samford, before coming off the bench to play 53 minutes against Chattanooga as the graduating players were afforded more of a role on Senior Day.
Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)
This week’s results: defeated Delaware 3-0, defeated Drexel 1-0
Hofstra needed to win both games this weekend to give themselves a chance of winning the Colonial Athletic Association regular season title, and they did it with an absolute bucketload of help from Aussie sophomore Emily Hulbert. First up, the Pride took on Delaware and it was relatively smooth sailing as they scored within the first five minutes before tacking on a second late in the first half to give themselves a cushion going into the break. Outshooting Delaware 29-8, Hofstra tacked on a third through Jenn Buoncore in the 71st minute which was the icing on the cake and completed half of the weekend’s job. The match against Drexel proved to be far tougher, though. Despite outshooting the Dragons 16-9, Hofstra could only get 3 shots on target all game, which limited their ability to score. Emily Hulbert had no such problems with accuracy, though. 90 seconds before halftime, the young Victorian met a cross with her head and sent it into the back of the net. That proved to be the game’s only goal, and after William and Mary could only secure a draw with James Madison, Hofstra were assured of at least a share of the Colonial league title and the top seed in the conference tournament. Emily played just under 20 minutes in each game, but it seems that was all she needed to make an impact against Drexel.
Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)
This week’s results: lost to Texas Southern 6-1, defeated Prairie View A&M 3-2
Alabama State went from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs this weekend, as a crushing defeat was followed by a thrilling victory on Senior Day. The Hornets started well against Texas Southern as Aaliyah Lewis opened the scoring in the 10th minute, but that goal appeared to poke the bear more than anything as Texas Southern unleashed on the Alabama State goal for the next 80 minutes. 3 goals in the first half, followed by another 3 in a four minute stretch in the middle of the second half condemned the Hornets to a disappointing 6-1 defeat. They were quick to shake that defeat off, though, as Senior Day brought one of the most thrilling games of the Hornets’ season. Prairie View A&M went up 1-0 early, as Courtney Aleman scored the opener in the 14th minute. 69 seconds later, Aussie senior Shelbi Vienna-Hallam headed home an Ariela Lewis corner and the game was level at 1-1. Lewis then scored a goal of her own in the 31st minute to put Alabama State up 2-1, which is how the score would remain until halftime. Courtney Aleman scored her 2nd for Prairie View A&M in the 60th minute to even things up again, and with 5 minutes to go, the score was still 2-2. Enter the attacking trio of Aaliyah Lewis, Ariela Lewis, and Shelbi Vienna-Hallam. Ariela scored her second of the day on assists from Aaliyah and Shelbi to provide the Alabama State seniors with a Senior Day they won’t soon forget.
Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alex Huynh)
This week’s results: lost to UCLA 2-1, lost to USC 3-0
Colorado may have been in the shadows of Disneyland, but that didn’t make it the happiest place on Earth as the Buffaloes dropped both games this weekend. They weren’t without their chances against UCLA though, but couldn’t convert their seven shots on target into more than one goal. Conversely, UCLA had just two shots on target all game, and scored on both. The Bruins opened the scoring in the seventh minute of the second half through Amber Munerlyn, before Danica Evans headed in a Joss Orejel corner to tie things up for the Buffaloes. Fifteen (yes, fifteen) seconds later, UCLA had won a penalty, albeit a fairly disputable one, and it was duly converted by Annie Alvarado to put UCLA ahead and that is how the game would finish. USC were expected to provide even more of a challenge, and they did just that, piling on 29 shots to Colorado’s 11, so a few goals were always likely to be scored. Unfortunately, all three goals in this game went the way of the Trojans. Savannah Levin opened the scoring inside the first 10 minutes, heading a home a cross at the back post, before Morgan Andrews converted a penalty in the 24th minute to give USC a solid early advantage. Andrews popped up again in the second half to head home a corner which put USC up 3-0 and from there, there was no way back for Colorado. Alex Huynh played a full 90 minutes against UCLA, and also 61 minutes against USC.
Winthrop (Jai Jackson)
This week’s result: drew with Radford 1-1 (2OT)
Winthrop had the chance to put themselves in prime position for the eighth and final spot in the Big South tournament, but could only manage a draw with bottom side Radford in their only game this week. They could be considered fortunate to even get a draw, though, as they only managed to scrap an equaliser in the dying embers of regulation time. In a remarkably open match considering the scoreline, the sides combined for 40 shots, with Winthrop just edging that stat 22-18, including 9 in extra time. The opening goal came for Radford in the 69th minute, as Jordan Lundin ripped a shot from 30 yards that found its way into the back of the net. With less than a minute to go, however, Winthrop won a free kick and the set piece move ended in a goal to Macey Bosley as the Eagles just about stole an equaliser. Winthrop were amazingly aggressive in extra time, attacking the Radford defence repeatedly, but could not find a goal to grab the winner. Jai Jackson started for Winthrop, and once again played a full match, as has become routine in recent weeks.
Creighton (Anastasia McCleary)
This week’s result: lost to Xavier 3-0
This weekend saw Creighton travel to Cincinnati as opponents for Xavier’s Senior Day, and despite doing everything they could to spoil the festivities, somehow Xavier ended up winning 3-0. Outshooting their opponents 20-8, the Bluejays just couldn’t find a way past Musketeers goalkeeper Rachel Piccus, who had 9 saves. Xavier opened the scoring in the 26th minute, but a three minute stretch just after halftime saw them add two more goals and put the game out of Creighton’s reach. On a more positive note, Anastasia McCleary started in her penultimate college game and played 74 minutes.
Massachusetts (Laura Johns)
This week’s result: drew with VCU 2-2 (2OT)
Massachusetts almost threw this game away before they even had a chance to get going against VCU, as they conceded twice in the first 20 minutes as goals to Sharon Wojcik and Julia Suarez put VCU up 2-0 early. The coach must have put a rocket under the Minutewomen at halftime though, as they came out firing in the second half. Goals in the 48th and 53rd minutes to Paige Kozlowski and Rebekka Sverisdottir respectively put Massachusetts back on level terms, and they kept attacking as they looked for the winner, outshooting VCU 7-3 in the second half. Neither team could find another goal in regulation time or in the two periods of extra time, and in the end it was a brief attacking explosion by each team that decided this game and saw the score finish 2-2. Laura Johns started this game but only played 25 minutes.
Albany (Claire Urquhart)
This week’s result: defeated Maine 1-0
After a 4-0 drubbing of Massachusetts-Lowell last week, Albany didn’t quite have it all their own way against Maine this week, as is expected when playing one of the top teams in the conference. By the end of this game though, Albany would be sitting in second position in the America East, one above Maine, as the 1-0 win put the Great Danes ahead on head-to-head. The game’s only goal came courtesy of a corner by Caitlyn Paltsios in the 40th minute that was almost an Olimpico but for a touch from the Maine goalkeeper which couldn’t keep the ball out. It was a deserved win for Albany, who enjoyed the majority of the attacking chances throughout the game. Unfortunately, there was no game time for Claire Urquhart in this one.
Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Siena Senatore)
This week’s result: drew with Tennessee Tech 0-0
Southeast Missouri State drew this weekend with Tennessee Tech to give themselves a shot at reaching the conference tournament but still leaving themselves some work to do next week. On Jenna Collingridge’s Senior Day, Southeast Missouri State dominated everywhere but on the scoresheet as they outshot their opponents 11-4. Credit must be given to Tennessee Tech goalkeeper Kari Naerdemann who pulled off five saves to keep the Redhawks at bay, including one off a shot from Jenna, who started this game and played 40 minutes. Maddy Cornell played 69 minutes off the bench, but Siena Senatore unfortunately missed this game through injury.
Washington State (Tia Gavin)
This week’s result: lost to California 1-0
In what had been touted as a tight contest between a pair of top 25 teams, it was unfortunately Washington State who went down 1-0 to California in their only game of the weekend. Despite giving up 18 shots to the Golden Bears, Washington State limited their opponents’ open chances and only allowed 5 shots on target, whilst they had 5 of their own on target from 11 opportunities. But it only took one chance for California to win this one, as Karly Graf hit the top corner from the edge of the box in the 56th minute for the game’s only goal. Tia Gavin came off the bench for a couple of brief cameos towards the end of each half.
Player Of The Year Points:
3: Shelbi Vienna-Hallam (Alabama State)
2: Harriet Withers (Murray State)
1: Emily Hulbert (Hofstra)