2017 Week 4 Preview

The California-based Pac-12 Aussies are flying right now, but nothing is certain and both teams will have to be at their best to remain at the pointy end of the coaches’ poll. Meanwhile, Paige Hayward and Texas Southern return after an enforced break due to Hurricane Harvey, and Sam Roff looks to marshal the Fairleigh Dickinson defence against a Buffalo team that banged home five goals last weekend.

UCLA are flying at this point, winning all six of their games to this point and sitting atop the coaches’ poll for the last two weeks. Teagan Micah has been a massive part of this, with her six-save performance to secure a 1-0 win over BYU of particular significance. The Bruins will face a significant test on the road this week though, taking on #8 ranked Virginia in a battle of top 10 teams. The Cavaliers have compiled a solid 4-1 record to this point, which includes an overtime win over 2016 national runners-up West Virginia, although they did slip to an unexpected 1-0 loss to Wisconsin. This game will certainly be a battle of an attacking blitzkrieg and a wall-like defence. Virginia have given up just two goals in their five games this season, whilst UCLA have scored a mind-boggling 20 goals in their six games to this point. Virginia’s attack has only conjured seven goals in five games so far, but with such a stingy defence, showers of goals haven’t exactly been required for the Cavaliers to pick up wins to this point.

If UCLA do slip up against Virginia, there is another team featuring an Aussie waiting to take that #1 spot in the poll. Beattie Goad and Stanford take on San Francisco in a local derby before taking on Yale later in the week. Like UCLA, Stanford have been on fire in attack, scoring 22 goals in five games so far. Whilst the defence has given up just three goals to this point, those three unfortunately all came in a 3-2 loss to Florida, the only blot on the Cardinal’s copybook so far. Their first opponent this week, San Francisco, started the season solidly, compiling a 2-1-1 record, but dropped both games last week to slip below .500, with Olivia Ellis and Oregon State the most recent team to knock off the Dons. However, nobody has been able to stop Yale so far. Hofstra, with their Australian duo of Emily Hulbert and Monique Iannella, perhaps went closest, taking the Bulldogs to double overtime, but Yale escaped with a 107th minute golden goal to move to 5-0 to commence the season. Despite their brilliant start, Stanford will still be considered significant favourites in this one, especially on their home patch. Beattie Goad secured a start last week against Georgetown, and will no doubt be hoping to make her way back into the starting eleven in any of the number of positions in which she has played to this point in her Stanford career.

After a leaky start to the campaign which saw the Knights give up seven goals in three games, Fairleigh Dickinson have tightened things up at the back to concede just two goals in their most recent three games, with Sam Roff at the heart of everything the FDU defence does. That defence is going to need to be at its best in the team’s two games this week, with goals hard to come by recently and their opponents each in decent goalscoring form. Niagara have scored multiple goals in three of their last four games, compiling a 3-1-1 record to this point, with their only loss coming to Big Ten side Michigan State. The Knights’ second opponents, Buffalo, have done things slightly differently. Coming into last week’s game against Youngstown State, the Bulls had scored just one goal in their three games to that point. However, an attacking explosion saw Buffalo chalk up a 5-0 win to come into this weekend on a high. Roff and the Knights’ defence may be able to slow down both opponents this week, but they will still be relying on what has been a lacklustre attack to this point if Fairleigh Dickinson are going to pick up a win or two this week.

Four games. Six goals. There’s not much more one needs to say about Murray State’s Australian powerhouse Harriet Withers, who is once again setting the world alight up front for the Racers. Whilst the team plays just one game this week, that doesn’t mean we won’t see multiple goals from the senior against an Arkansas-Little Rock team that has compiled a fascinating record to this point. The Trojans gave up five goals in their first two games, falling to losses to Memphis and Texas. However, they then faced some slightly less challenging opposition and proceeded to bang home seven goals in two games. But neither Sam Houston State nor Missouri State have a defender of the calibre of Nyomi Devine, nor a striker of Withers’ lethality, so we could certainly see yet another game in which the Australians are vital at both ends of the field.

Texas Southern were forced into a week off last week due to Hurricane Harvey, costing them a couple of games against in-state rivals last week. However, Paige Hayward and the Tigers are back in action this week, hosting two games in Houston. They won’t find it easy though. Lamar have shown at times, especially against SWAC teams, that they can certainly find a way to get the ball in the back of the net, and it has only been against power conference teams that they have really struggled. Southern Miss have also shown a propensity for beating up on lower conference teams, but were brought crashing back to Earth last week with an 8-0 loss to Ole Miss. Whilst Texas Southern will still be heavy underdogs, Paige Hayward may be able to take advantage of a defence that is yet to keep a clean sheet this year to pick up a goal here or there.

Full Schedule:

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: v Dartmouth – 9am, Friday September 8; v Colgate – 5am, Monday September 11

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: at Navy – 3am, Monday September 11

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: at Texas – 10am, Saturday September 9; at Texas-San Antonio – 10am, Monday September 11

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: at Monmouth – 9am, Saturday September 9

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: v Virginia Tech – 9am, Friday September 8

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: at Niagara – 9am, Saturday September 9; at Buffalo – 2am, Monday September 11

Grambling State (Priya Gakhar)

This week: v Cal State Bakersfield – 10am, Saturday September 9; v UC Riverside – 8:30am, Monday September 11

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: v UC Santa Barbara – 9am, Friday September 8; at Houston Baptist – 6am, Monday September 11

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

This week: v Fordham – 9am, Saturday September 9; v Monmouth – 3am, Monday September 11

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

This week: at Villanova – 3am, Monday September 11

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: at UCF – 9am, Saturday September 9; v Liberty – 9am, Monday September 11

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: v Arkansas-Little Rock – 6am, Saturday September 9

Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: at Alcorn State – 7am, Saturday September 9; at Louisiana-Lafayette – 9am, Monday September 11

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

This week: at UNC Wilmington – 9am, Friday September 8

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

This week: v Portland State – 12pm, Saturday September 9; v BYU – 10am, Tuesday September 12

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: v Yale – 12pm, Saturday September 9; at Northern Arizona – 10am, Monday September 11

St. Francis (Shelby Milton)

This week: at Georgetown – 6am, Saturday September 9; at George Washington – 3am, Monday September 11

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: v San Francisco – 12pm, Saturday September 9; v Yale – 6am, Monday September 11

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: v Lamar – 10am, Friday September 8; v Southern Miss – 5am, Monday September 11

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: at Arizona – 8am, Saturday September 9; v Arizona State – 5am, Monday September 11

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: at Virginia – 9am, Friday September 8

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: v Lipscomb – 9am, Friday September 8; v Tennessee-Martin – 4am, Monday September 11

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: at Maryland – 9am, Friday September 8; at DePaul – 4am, Monday September 11

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

This week: at Utah Valley – 11:30am, Saturday September 9; v Northern Colorado – 5am, Monday September 11

2 thoughts on “2017 Week 4 Preview”

  1. ETSU Isabel Hodgson out due to ankle injury from game 2 days ago. 😦

    Nothing serious but only 2 days between Games so resting it.

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