Whilst at the start of the weekend there was a possibility of up to 10 or more teams with Australians featuring in the NCAA Tournament, it didn’t quite pan out that way. With that being said, many of those teams were outsiders in conference tournaments. Nonetheless, plenty of Aussies performed well even if their teams didn’t quite get the results they wanted.
Isabel Hodgson has flourished since being moved into a more advanced role midway through the season, and conference tournament time saw the South Australian sophomore take on a starring role for East Tennessee State. Isabel volleyed home the opener after her initial shot was blocked, before tallying an assist after her shot cannoned off the crossbar straight into the path of Molly Collinson to restore the Buccaneers’ lead after Mercer had equalised earlier. Isabel then added the insurance with East Tennessee State’s third goal 14 minutes from time.
Isabel then scored the opener in the final against Samford after just two minutes. However, the top seeded side would storm home for a 2-1 win to end the Buccaneers’ season one game shy of reaching the NCAA Tournament.
The final day of the Pac-12 saw three teams with Australians still in the hunt for a conference title: Beattie Goad and Stanford were in the box seat, but Lulu Pullar and USC and Colorado’s pair of Isobel Dalton and Kahlia Hogg were both still in the hunt. Isobel and Kahlia played minor roles off the bench in the opening game of the day as Colorado drew 1-1 with Utah, denying the Buffaloes a chance at the title, but securing third place in the league. That left USC sweating on California beating Stanford to give themselves a chance at the title. Stanford were having none of it though, demolishing their rivals 4-1, with Beattie Goad scoring, with no exaggeration, in the final second of the game as the Cardinal secured the Pac-12 title.
As it was, USC fell to Teagan Micah and UCLA in front of over 8000 people at StubHub Center, the home of LA Galaxy. Teagan was a huge part of the win as well, coming up with seven saves in a 1-0 win. With Annie Alvarado’s winner being one of just two UCLA shots on target, Teagan’s performance was all the more important as the Bruins moved into fourth place to end the Pac-12 season.
Murray State had been undefeated in two consecutive regular season conference schedules and were odds-on to storm their way through the conference tournament after winning the Ohio Valley Conference title last season in overtime against Southeast Missouri State. This year, overtime did not favour the Racers as last year’s wooden spooners SIU Edwardsville got the upset in the semifinals. All three goals came after halftime, with SIU Edwardsville opening the scoring just shy of the hour mark before Harriet Withers equalised ten minutes later. Deep into the first period of overtime, SIU Edwardsville managed to get clear of the Murray State defence and, with just 12 seconds remaining before halftime of overtime, banged home the winner to head to the final.
Player Of The Year Points:
3: Isabel Hodgson (East Tennessee State)
2: Teagan Micah (UCLA)
1: Harriet Withers (Murray State)
Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)
This week: defeated Prairie View A&M 1-0 (SWAC Quarterfinals), lost 2-1 to Alabama State (SWAC Semifinals)
Paige Hayward had a ridiculous 8 shots against Prairie View A&M but couldn’t find the back of the net in a complete game. Paige did score the opener against Alabama State, but the team featuring Shelbi Vienna-Hallam as an assistant coach stormed home to get the win.
Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)
This week: defeated James Madison 2-0 (CAA Semifinals), lost 3-0 to Northeastern (CAA Final)
Emma Heckenberg started both games for Drexel, playing the full 90 minutes against James Madison and 71 minutes against Northeastern.
Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Jade Horcicka, Harriet Withers)
This week: lost 2-1 (OT) to SIU Edwardsville (OVC Semifinals)
Harriet Withers scored the Racers’ only goal in a 97 minute performance against SIU Edwardsville, whilst Nyomi Devine played all 100 minutes in the loss.
Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)
This week: lost 2-0 to St Francis University (NEC Semifinals)
Sam Roff maintained her starting spot for Fairleigh Dickinson and played a complete game for the fifth consecutive fixture.
Colorado (Isobel Dalton, Kahlia Hogg)
This week: drew 1-1 with Utah
Isobel Dalton and Kahlia Hogg both came off the bench for Colorado, with Isobel playing a single minute and Kahlia playing 12 minutes in her comeback from injury.
UCLA (Teagan Micah)
This week: defeated USC 1-0
Teagan Micah played the full 90 minutes for UCLA, coming up with 7 vital saves in the win over USC.
Stanford (Beattie Goad)
This week: defeated California 4-1
Beattie Goad came off the bench to play 11 minutes and scored her first college goal with literally one second remaining in the game as Stanford clinched the Pac-12 title.
USC (Lulu Pullar)
This week: lost 1-0 to UCLA
Lulu Pullar did not feature for USC against UCLA.
East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)
This week: defeated Mercer 3-1 (SoCon Semifinals), lost 2-1 to Samford (SoCon Final)
Despite going down in the final, Isabel Hodgson had a spectacular weekend. Isabel scored twice and tallied an assist in the 3-1 win over Mercer, before scoring the opener in the final before Samford launched a comeback.
Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)
This week: lost 1-0 to Pepperdine
Ellie Papalexiou did not feature this week due to injury.
San Francisco (Price Keogh)
This week: lost 2-1 to Santa Clara
Price Keogh did not feature for San Francisco against Santa Clara.
Albany (Claire Urquhart)
This week: defeated Hartford 2-1 (America East Final)
Albany reached the NCAA Tournament with a 2-1 win but Claire Urquhart did not feature in the final.