2017 Week 3 Preview

Three Pac-12 teams that feature Aussies are in the top 25, and all will seek to maintain their position with a pair of games this week. Meanwhile, the Louisiana-based Aussies will face each other, and Claire Urquhart seeks to keep a grip on a starting spot for Albany.

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It’s a battle of the Aussies in Louisiana, as Priya Gakhar and Grambling State take on Nicholls State’s Australian pair of Kristy Helmers and Tenille Harberger. The game will be Grambling State’s second in as many days, taking on Southern Mississippi on the road before coming home to host the Colonels. The Tigers have picked up a win over NCAA Division III side Texas A&M-Texarkana before going down to New Mexico State in a respectable 1-0 loss, with Gakhar coming off the bench in both games. On the flipside, it is Nicholls State’s first game in 12 days after last week’s game against Prairie View A&M was cancelled due to Hurricane Harvey. Ordinarily, Nicholls State would be clear favourites against any SWAC team, and the case may remain here, but the Colonels have already fallen to Mississippi Valley State this season to sit at 0-2 to start the season. 2016 Co-Freshman of the Year Kristy Helmers has yet to tally a goal this season, and there would be no more perfect time to get her scoring exploits back on track as the team could really do with a win, either against Grambling State, or Jackson State in their second game of the week, to kickstart their season.

Beattie Goad and Stanford fell to their first loss to Florida in program history last week, and things don’t stand to get much easier as the Cardinal face #10 Georgetown this week, although they do at least have the benefit of playing at home against the Hoyas. Georgetown lost their opener to West Virginia 1-0, but since then have been on a tear, scoring 10 goals and conceding a grand total of zero to improve their record to 3-1. Like Georgetown, Stanford have been banging in the goals, scoring 11 in three games to this point, with Beattie Goad responsible for the most recent of these in the loss to Florida. Stanford’s second opponent of the week, Navy, have also compiled a solid 3-2 record to this point, and the Cardinal would be unwise to take the Midshipmen lightly.

Thanks to a combination of their own success and upsets in other games, Teagan Micah and UCLA have moved to the top of the coaches’ poll this week, and have been rewarded for their success with a trip to Utah to take on BYU and Weber State. It’s been a slightly slow start to the season for BYU following the graduation of now-NWSL striker Ashley Hatch following the 2016 campaign, with the Cougars able to tally just three goals in their four games to this point, resulting in a 1-1-2 record after four games. Admittedly, BYU have kept two clean sheets in those four games, but Penn State’s offence is the only one they have faced which is at the level of UCLA’s, so we could see another Bruin goal fest. The only question is – how much work will Teagan Micah actually get in this game? The Australian goalkeeper hasn’t had a huge amount of work to do so far this season, although she did manage to pick up a Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week award last week. Weber State’s offence has been even more lacklustre than BYU’s scoring just two goals to this point, falling to a 1-3 record after four games. The Wildcats are perhaps, on paper, the weakest non-conference opponent that UCLA will face this season, but the Bruins will still need to ensure that they get the job done as slip-ups in these games can make a real difference in a team’s seed line come NCAA Tournament time.

Isobel Dalton and Colorado also face BYU this weekend as they attempt to maintain their position in the Coaches’ Poll Top 25, but they first must take on Cal State Northridge. The Matadors are undefeated to this point, compiling a 2-0-2 record to this point. Goals could be tough to come by in this one, with CSUN giving up just three goals in four games, and Colorado yet to concede at all in 2017. Isobel Dalton came off the bench to give a good account of herself for half an hour in the Buffaloes’ 6-0 win over UC Riverside last week, which will hopefully lead to more minutes for the former Brisbane Roar midfielder.

Claire Urquhart has seen what at first glance appears to be increased minutes for Albany so far this season. However, a quick look back at the records shows that the junior has been given opportunities in early season games in all three years of her college career to this point, and game time going forward will be the real telling point of Urquhart’s progress. This week, the Great Danes face a pair of in-state opponents in Iona and Siena, a pair of teams probably more at Albany’s level after a challenging first three games saw them drop to an 0-3 record to start the season. Iona also started the season 0-3, and in fact only scored their first goals in their fourth game of the season as they picked up their first win last weekend, 2-1 against LIU Brooklyn. Siena, on the other hand, started the season far more promisingly, picking up a pair of wins before falling 3-0 to Georgia Southern on the road last weekend in a game in which they were significant underdogs. This pair of games will not only show the team where they stand against comparable opposition, but also hopefully ensure that Urquhart can secure a starting berth for the remainder of the season after a pair of false starts in her opening two seasons.

Full Schedule:

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: at Iona – 5am, Saturday September 2; v Siena – 8am, Monday September 4

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: v Harvard – 9am, Saturday September 2; v Connecticut – 8am, Monday September 4

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: v CSU Northridge – 5am, Sunday September 3; v BYU – 5am, Tuesday September 5

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: at La Salle – 9am, Friday September 1; at Rutgers – 3am, Monday September 4

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: at Monmouth – 9am, Saturday September 2; v La Salle – 3am, Monday September 4

Grambling State (Priya Gakhar)

This week: at Southern Miss – 8am, Friday September 1; v Nicholls State – 8am, Saturday September 2

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: v Nevada – 9am, Saturday September 2; v Detroit – 4am, Monday September 4

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

This week: at Idaho – 11am, Saturday September 2; at Gonzaga – 6:30am, Monday September 4

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

This week: v Eastern Washington – 9am, Friday September 1; v Yale – 9am, Tuesday September 5

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

This week: v Drexel – 9am, Friday September 1; at Fairleigh Dickinson – 3am, Monday September 4

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: v George Washington – 7am, Friday September 1; v Houston – 8am, Monday September 4

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: at Northern Kentucky – 4am, Monday September 4

Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: at Grambling State – 6am, Saturday September 2; at Jackson State – 4am, Monday September 4

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

This week: at East Carolina – 7am, Monday September 4

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

This week: at San Francisco – 6am, Monday September 4

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: v Navy – 12pm, Saturday September 2; v Portland State – 6am, Monday September 4

St. Francis (Shelby Milton)

This week: at VMI – 6am, Friday September 1; v Loyola Maryland – 4am, Monday September 4

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)

This week: at Missouri State – 8am, Saturday September 2; v Louisville – 9:30am, Tuesday September 5

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: v Georgetown – 9am, Saturday September 2; v Navy – 6am, Monday September 4

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: v Appalachian State – 10am, Monday September 4

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: at BYU – 11am, Saturday September 2; at Weber State – 11am, Monday September 4

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: v Elon – 9am, Friday September 1; v Charlotte – 4am, Monday September 4

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: at Virginia Tech – 9am, Friday September 1; v Wisconsin – 4am, Monday September 4

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Jemma House, Georgia Rowntree)

This week: v UTEP – 8:30am, Saturday September 2; v McNeese State – 5am, Monday September 4

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