This week is, on paper, one of the biggest regular season weekends in history for Australians in college women’s soccer. Beattie Goad and #1 Stanford will face off against Teagan Micah and #10 UCLA before taking on Lulu Pullar and #7 USC. Staying in California, Pacific v San Francisco has the potential to be an Aussie v Aussie game as well if Ellie Papalexiou makes a return from injury. Elsewhere, Emma Heckenberg and Drexel are equal top in the CAA, whilst Paige Hayward and Texas Southern also share top billing in the SWAC, and both will continue their charge towards a potential auto-bid to the NCAA Tournament this weekend.
Undoubtedly, the biggest events of the week will be on the west coast as Stanford face challenges from UCLA and USC. Beattie Goad is currently starting at right fullback for a Stanford team which is favourite to win the national title, but this week they face a massive test against two top 10 opponents. UCLA may be missing captain Darian Jenkins due to injury, but still have the attacking weaponry to bring down any defence, and between the sticks they have our own Teagan Micah, who has kept 6 clean sheets so far this season. Stanford also take on USC, who are ranked even higher than UCLA, and also have some class players in the form of midfielder Morgan Andrews and goalkeeper Sammy-Jo Prudhomme. Whilst Lulu Pullar may be unlikely to feature in this game as squad rotation fairly goes out the window in such a tough game, you never know what can happen in soccer.
Julia De Angelis and Indiana also face a pair of ranked teams, including defending national champion Penn State. The Nittany Lions are not of title-winning class this season after losing the likes of Britt Eckerstrom, Raquel Rodriguez, and Mallory Weber to the professional ranks, but they still sit #13 in the polls and Indiana will have a task getting something out of this game. Rutgers are also ranked at the moment, with their much vaunted defence continuing to act as the backbone for their success, even if they too have slipped slightly from last season. Julia has been starting regularly for Indiana, but her minutes have been erratic to say the least. Hopefully this is the week that the freshman sees some more solid playing time.
Drexel have compiled a 3-1 record in conference play to this point, but will need to keep winning as this week they face a pair of teams hot on their heels. Both College of Charleston and UNC Wilmington have put together 1-1-1 records in the CAA to this point, and defeating Drexel would pull each of them right back into the regular season title conversation. Drexel’s good form has coincided with Emma Heckenberg’s own good form, with the Victorian sophomore keeping her spot in the starting lineup for the last few weeks.
Texas Southern have also started well, sitting at 3-1 in the SWAC, and they have Paige Hayward to thank for a lot of that. Paige has contributed a goal or an assist in three of the Tigers’ four games, but things will be tough this week. Mississippi Valley State have slipped a bit since losing their coach, who took two of their star players with him, prior to the season, but are still a threat in the SWAC, whilst Alcorn State are vastly improved from last season’s team which regularly fielded fewer than 11 players.
Murray State are hitting form at the right time after a fairly dismal non-conference season, and they’ll have to keep up that form if they want to make a run at the top spot as they take on Eastern Kentucky, who are undefeated in conference play to this point. Harriet Withers has been in hot scoring form lately, and Nyomi Devine is getting amongst the attack too, forcing an own goal on the weekend and grabbing an assist in midweek.
Colorado were tipped by many to be stuck in the cellar of the Pac-12, but behind freshman sensation Taylor Kornieck’s goalscoring, the Buffaloes are firmly in the hunt for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. This week, they host both Oregon and Oregon State in an effort to stay on track for what would be an unlikely ticket to the big dance, to say the lease. Kahlia Hogg is proving to be solid in the centre of defence for Colorado following her shift from fullback, and with Oregon and Oregon State both having trouble finding the back of the net lately, a solid effort from Kahlia and the rest of her defensive line should offer Colorado’s attack the opportunity to jag a tight win in each game. They’ve certainly got form – their last four games have been 1-0 victories.
Massachusetts (Laura Johns)
This week: v George Mason – 7am, Friday October 7; v George Washington – 4am, Monday October 10
Colorado (Isobel Dalton, Kahlia Hogg)
This week: v Oregon – 8:30am, Friday October 7; v Oregon State – 6am, Monday October 10
Albany (Claire Urquhart)
This week: at Binghamton – 10am, Friday October 7; at Hartford – 5am, Monday October 10
Stanford (Beattie Goad)
This week: at USC – 10am, Friday October 7; at UCLA – 7am, Monday October 10
Indiana (Julia De Angelis)
This week: v Penn State – 10am, Friday October 7; v Rutgers – 4am, Monday October 10
USC (Lulu Pullar)
This week: v Stanford – 10am, Friday October 7; v California – 5am, Monday October 10
LSU (Caitlin Cantill)
This week: v Tennessee – 11am, Friday October 7; at Georgia – 5am, Monday October 10
UCLA (Teagan Micah)
This week: v California – 1pm, Friday October 7; v Stanford – 7am, Monday October 10
Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Jade Horcicka, Harriet Withers)
This week: v Tennessee Tech – 7am, Saturday October 8; v Eastern Kentucky – 6am, Monday October 10
Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)
This week: v Air Force – 8am, Saturday October 8; v Colorado College – 8am, Monday October 10
Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)
This week: v Oklahoma State – 10am, Saturday October 8; v Baylor – 5am, Monday October 10
East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)
This week: v UNC Greensboro – 10am, Saturday October 8; v VMI – 5am, Monday October 10
Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)
This week: v College of Charleston – 10am, Saturday October 8; v UNC Wilmington – 3am, Monday October 10
Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)
This week: v VMI – 10am, Saturday October 8; v UNC Greensboro – 5am, Monday October 10
Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)
This week: v Elon – 10am, Saturday October 8; v William & Mary – 4am, Monday October 10
Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell, Siena Senatore)
This week: at Jacksonville State – 11am, Saturday October 8; at Belmont – 6am, Monday October 10
Nicholls State (Jess Coates, Kristy Helmers)
This week: at McNeese State – 11am, Saturday October 8
Troy (Alexandra Huynh)
This week: at South Alabama – 11am, Saturday October 8
Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)
This week: at Mississippi Valley State – 11am, Saturday October 8; at Alcorn State – 5am, Monday October 10
Texas (Monique Iannella)
This week: v Kansas State – 11am, Saturday October 8
Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)
This week: at Santa Clara – 1pm, Saturday October 8; at San Francisco – 7am, Monday October 10
San Francisco (Price Keogh)
This week: v Saint Mary’s – 1pm, Saturday October 8; v Pacific – 7am, Monday October 10
Winthrop (Jai Jackson)
This week: at Campbell – 7am, Sunday October 9
Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)
This week: at Wagner – 3am, Monday October 10