It’s getting down to the business end of the season now. Several Aussies are chasing conference tournament berths, whilst in the Pac-12 it’s a team featuring Aussies at the top of the table, but not the one you’d expect! That could all change though as an action-packed back half of the Pac-12 schedule gets started this week. Down in the Southeast, it’s all about survival for Alex Huynh’s college career as Troy try to nab the result they need to reach the conference tournament.
The Pac-12 is, as the kids say, absolutely lit at the moment. Colorado are perfect through 6 games at the top, but play 2nd through 6th them in their last five games of conference action. They kick off that brutal back-end of the schedule with an Aussie v Aussie matchup as Isobel Dalton and Kahlia Hogg face off against Beattie Goad and Stanford, before taking on second placed California in their second game of the weekend. These matches are vital for Colorado as, despite their impressive record to this point, their lack of quality wins sees them still not even close to assured of an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Teagan Micah and UCLA have things a bit easier, but nothing’s truly easy in the Pac-12. The Bruins host the two Washington schools, who sit at 9th and 10th in the conference. On their home patch, UCLA should comprehensively deal with both opponents as they continue their own charge towards the title. Lulu Pullar and USC are in the same boat as Washington and Washington State play both Los Angeles schools this weekend, and it should be expected that our LA-based Queenslanders both emerge with six points from the weekend’s play.
East Tennessee State will host the final weekend of this year’s Southern Conference tournament, but if Isabel Hodgson and her teammates want to play in front of their own fans, they’ll have to secure a home quarter-final first. In this final week of league play, they get the chance to do just that. First up, they take on bottom-placed Wofford in a must-win match. If they can get the win there, they will have to take at least a point from second placed Furman in their final league match of the season if they want to avoid relying on other results. Two wins would secure no worse than a 3rd seeding, and if they were to somehow sneak into a top 2 spot, they would face a play-in team who would have an extra match in their legs by this stage. A win and a draw is probably the most likely option though.
Hofstra sprung a huge upset last week in defeating ladder leaders Northeastern as Emily Hulbert continued her comeback from a foot injury, and this week they look to salvage something from the season with games against James Madison and Towson. With just the two games left in the conference schedule and only six teams qualifying for the conference tournament, it’s going to take an almighty weekend for the Pride to sneak in, but having beaten Northeastern, there’s no reason they can’t knock off the new top dogs in James Madison and follow that up with a win over Towson. Elsewhere in the Colonial, Emma Heckenberg and Drexel have just one game remaining in their season, and a win over Delaware would not only seal a home quarter final, it would also assist Emily Hulbert and Hofstra in their bid for a tournament spot.
It’s been a tough season for both Texas and Texas Tech so far, with Aussies Monique Iannella and Demi Koulizakis having differing levels of success on personal levels for their respective teams. This week, however, they come up against one another with a conference tournament berth on the line. With only one team in the Big 12 missing out on the tournament, a win for Texas Tech would clinch a berth for the Red Raiders, whilst Texas need to get a result as they play #1 team in the nation West Virginia followed by the very team they are battling for the last tournament spot, TCU, in their final game.
Alexandra Huynh and Troy are almost assured of a conference tournament spot in the Sun Belt, but they’re still going to need results in both games this weekend to clinch. Other games which they may rely on look as if they should go the Trojans’ way, but wins over Arkansas-Little Rock and Louisiana-Monroe would ensure that Alex’s college career continues at least beyond this weekend. In fact, a win over Louisiana-Monroe would force an absolute avalanche of results to go against the team for them to miss out, but you never want to be too careful!
Massachusetts (Laura Johns)
This week: v Duquesne – 7am, Friday October 21; v Virginia Commonwealth – 4am, Monday October 24
USC (Lulu Pullar)
This week: v Washington State – 8am, Friday October 21; v Washington – 5am, Monday October 24
Albany (Claire Urquhart)
This week: at Maine – 10am, Friday October 21; v UMBC – 4am, Monday October 24
LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)
This week: v Auburn – 10am, Friday October 21; v Alabama – 5am, Monday October 24
UCLA (Teagan Micah)
This week: v Washington – 11am, Friday October 21; v Washington State – 7am, Monday October 24
Stanford (Beattie Goad)
This week: v Colorado – 12pm, Friday October 21; v Utah – 7am, Monday October 24
Colorado (Isobel Dalton, Kahlia Hogg)
This week: at Stanford – 12pm, Friday October 21; at California – 7am, Monday October 24
Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Jade Horcicka, Harriet Withers)
This week: v Jacksonville State – 7am, Saturday October 22; v Belmont – 6am, Monday October 24
Troy (Alexandra Huynh)
This week: at Louisiana-Monroe – 8am, Saturday October 22; at Arkansas-Little Rock – 5am, Monday October 24
Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)
This week: v Robert Morris – 8:30am, Saturday October 22; at Central Connecticut State – 3am, Monday October 24
East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)
This week: v Wofford – 10am, Saturday October 22; v Furman – 5am, Monday October 24
Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)
This week: v James Madison – 10am, Saturday October 22; v Towson – 4am, Monday October 24
Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)
This week: v Furman – 10am, Saturday October 22; v Wofford – 5am, Monday October 24
Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)
This week: at Texas – 11am, Saturday October 22; at TCU – 7am, Monday October 24
Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)
This week: v Jackson State – 11am, Saturday October 22; at Southern – 6am, Monday October 24
Nicholls State (Jess Coates, Kristy Helmers)
This week: at Northwestern State – 11am, Saturday October 22; at Central Arkansas – 5am, Monday October 24
Texas (Monique Iannella)
This week: v Texas Tech – 11am, Saturday October 22; v West Virginia – 9am, Monday October 24
Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)
This week: at New Mexico – 12:30pm, Saturday October 22; v San Diego State – 6am, Monday October 24
San Francisco (Price Keogh)
This week: at Loyola Marymount – 1pm, Saturday October 22; at Pepperdine – 5am, Monday October 24
Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)
This week: at Portland – 1pm, Saturday October 22; at Gonzaga – 7am, Monday October 24
Iona (Kiri Dale)
This week: v Niagara – 4am, Sunday October 23
Indiana (Julia De Angelis)
This week: at Purdue – 10am, Sunday October 23
Winthrop (Jai Jackson)
This week: at Presbyterian – 10am, Sunday October 23
Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)
This week: v Delaware – 4am, Monday October 24
Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell, Siena Senatore)
This week: v Morehead State – 6am, Monday October 24