We are down to under 15 schools featuring Australians still playing, and all bar two are still in with a shot at making the NCAA Tournament. All four Aussies in the Pac-12 are basically locked into tournament spots already, whilst plenty more have earned high seedings for conference tournaments, giving them excellent shots at winning a conference title and heading to the NCAA Tournament.
Paige Hayward and Texas Southern kick off the weekend with a SWAC tournament quarterfinal against Prairie View A&M on Friday morning. Paige scored two goals against Prairie View A&M just last week to hand the Tigers a 2-0 win and set up a rematch in the #2 v #7 matchup. Texas Southern will be expected to go all the way to the final, and tomorrow morning’s match is just the start of a 3 game campaign to reach the NCAA Tournament.
The Pac-12 has been a dogfight to the last and the Australians have been right amongst it, with USC (Lulu Pullar), Stanford (Beattie Goad), and Colorado (Isobel Dalton, Kahlia Hogg) all still with at least a slight chance of clinching the conference title on the final matchday. It would be unwise to forget about Teagan Micah and UCLA, though. The Bruins take on USC, and a win would destroy the Trojans’ title chances and almost certainly hand the crown to Stanford or Colorado. Stanford sit top of the pile as things stand, so they only need to win, whilst Colorado need to defeat Utah and rely on other results going their way, as will USC if they are to defeat UCLA.
Murray State were forced to share the Ohio Valley Conference regular season title this year, but still secured the top seed and a first round bye in the conference tournament. Now coming off a week’s rest, the Racers take on SIU Edwardsville in the semifinals. These two sides battled to a 1-1 draw on SIUE’s home patch, but this game will take place at the fortress that is Murray State’s Cutchin Field. Harriet Withers’ goal production has been down slightly recently in recent weeks, but the striker has been creating plenty of opportunities for herself and hopefully will be able to find the back of the net again in this must-win game. Nyomi Devine has been out for a couple of weeks and it is unknown as to whether she will return for this game.
Fairleigh Dickinson missed out on the conference title by virtue of a final-day loss that saw the Knights drop to fourth in the standings. This week, they take on the team that jumped them to win the title, St Francis University, in the semifinals of the Northeast Conference tournament. Whilst Fairleigh Dickinson were able to come away with a 3-2 victory at home in the regular season meeting, they will now have to travel to Pennsylvania for this fixture. Sam Roff has been ever-present for the Knights this season, switching between defence and midfield, and a big performance from the freshman will no doubt go a long way to keeping the St Francis attack at bay for the 90 minutes, or 110 if need be.
Emma Heckenberg and Drexel have flown slightly under the radar this season, but with some excellent early season form of their own combined with some upset losses for teams around them despite no wins in their last four, the Dragons managed to play themselves into second spot in the Colonial Athletic Association and a first-round bye. Their semi-final matchup will see them take on James Madison, a side that looked set to take a top two spot until Emily Hulbert and Hofstra knocked them off, paving Drexel’s way to the bye. If the Dragons can turn around their mediocre recent form, they already have an away win over James Madison under their belt, which will no doubt give the team confidence to do the same at a neutral site.
Isabel Hodgson and East Tennessee State have already played one tournament game at home, defeating Western Carolina 2-1 in a nail biter this week. This week, they host both the semi-finals and final of the Southern Conference tournament regardless of seedings, and will be looking to make full use of the advantage. First up, they have to get past Mercer, whom they lost to 3-2 away earlier in the year. Since that game, East Tennessee have won 6 of their last 8 games, with their only loss coming to regular season champions Samford. With Isabel Hodgson pushed into a more advanced role for the latter half of the season, the Buccaneers’ attack is firing and revenge is most definitely on the cards.
Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)
This week: v Prairie View A&M – 8:30am, Friday November 4 (SWAC Quarterfinals)
Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)
This week: v James Madison – 5am, Saturday November 5 (CAA Semifinals)
Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Jade Horcicka, Harriet Withers)
This week: v SIU Edwardsville – 5am, Saturday November 5 (OVC Semifinals)
Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)
This week: at St Francis University – 5am, Saturday November 5 (NEC Semifinals)
Colorado (Isobel Dalton, Kahlia Hogg)
This week: v Utah – 8am, Saturday November 5
UCLA (Teagan Micah)
This week: at USC – 9am, Saturday November 5
Stanford (Beattie Goad)
This week: at California – 9am, Saturday November 5
USC (Lulu Pullar)
This week: v UCLA – 9am, Saturday November 5
East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)
This week: v Mercer – 10:30am, Saturday November 5 (Southern Conference Semifinals)
Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)
This week: at Pepperdine – 7am, Sunday November 6
San Francisco (Price Keogh)
This week: v Santa Clara – 1pm, Sunday November 6
Albany (Claire Urquhart)
This week: v Hartford – 10am, Monday November 7 (America East Final)