2017 Week 9 Preview

As we move into the final few weeks of the regular season, teams are scrambling for position in their respective conferences, and the teams featuring Aussies are no exception. Hofstra and Murray State attempt to continue their run towards regular season titles, whilst Wyoming endeavour to move back into the title race in a tight Mountain West Conference.

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Five points clear, nine points to play for. The equation is simple for Hofstra – win both of their games this week and they will be Colonial Athletic Association regular season champions. The Pride have opened their league schedule with six straight wins, and with Emily Hulbert back in the starting lineup after a couple of weeks coming off the bench after recovering from a knock, the Pride are back to full strength. Hofstra face third-placed Northeastern first up, with the Huskies holding a game in hand but sitting seven points behind the Pride. On paper, this will be the toughest opponent Hofstra face in conference play – Northeastern are also undefeated in league play, but have two draws to their name. Hofstra then host Elon on senior day, with the Phoenix having won just one of their six conference games to this point. With that in mind, four points should be the absolute minimum Hofstra take from this weekend, which would earn our Aussie duo of Monique Iannella and Emily Hulbert no worse than a share of the regular season title, even if fellow Australian Emma Heckenberg and Drexel were to win all of their remaining games and Hofstra were to lose next weekend.

UCLA and Stanford remain the top two teams in the coaches’ poll, but after UCLA’s unexpected 2-2 draw with Arizona, their positions have switched and it is now the Cardinal who sit atop the poll, as well as the Pac-12 standings. Whilst there are very few easy games in the Pac-12, both sides would be expected to win their sole game this week, especially UCLA, who host a Utah side that is yet to tally a single goal in their five league games so far and sit second from bottom in the standings. That bodes well for Teagan Micah’s clean sheet numbers, but maybe not her total saves number as the Utes won’t be expected to trouble the Australian sophomore particularly often. Stanford, on the other hand, face a slightly more difficult challenge as they host fifth placed Washington. The Huskies possess one of the tighter defences in the league, giving up just six goals all season and only one in their five conference games this season. However, there is a counterpoint: Stanford’s defence has given up only five goals all season, and the Cardinal have banged home 54 goals in 13 games. Short of drafting in someone like Becky Sauerbrunn to help out, any defence would find it tough against this Stanford attack, and hopefully we can see Beattie Goad afforded more playing time in this classy outfit, having been used only sparingly in recent games.

Wyoming currently sit on the cusp of the Mountain West Conference tournament spots in a league that is incredibly close at the top with five games to play. To that point, this weekend could be pivotal for the Cowgirls, who play the lowly Utah State before facing fellow mid-table team Boise State. With Wyoming hosting both games this week, this is certainly one pair of games that the Cowgirls will be seeing as one that they can take the full six points from to strengthen their position in the conference standings. After making 14 saves in 135 minutes of play last week, Georgia Rowntree is in some of the best form she has exhibited in her time at Wyoming, which will no doubt boost the confidence of her teammates, including Alisha Bass and Jemma House, who have both been involved in the team’s attacking output recently, chalking up a goal and an assist respectively last week.

Due to a combination of a couple of draws and holding a game in hand at this point, Murray State are surprisingly in third in the Ohio Valley Conference heading into this week’s games. However, the Racers are unlikely to be worried by their current position in the standings, especially with the opportunity to knock off the current top team, Belmont, this week. However, they first have to take on rivals Austin Peay in their first game of the week. Whilst Australian senior Harriet Withers has only gone one game without scoring a goal, due to Murray State’s schedule that now equates to 12 days, and there is no doubt that the Palm Beach product will be itching to get out and bang home a hatful, whilst at the other end, Nyomi Devine remains ever reliable as part of a Racers defence that has given up just two goals in six conference games.

Full Schedule:

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: at Vermont – 10am, Friday October 13; v Maine – 4am, Monday October 16

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: v St Francis – 10am, Saturday October 14; v Robert Morris – 3am, Monday October 16

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: at USC – 10am, Saturday October 14

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: v Charleston – 4am, Monday October 16

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: at Wofford – 10am, Saturday October 14; at Furman – 5am, Monday October 16

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: v Bryant – 3am, Monday October 16

Grambling State (Priya Gakhar)

This week: v Alabama State – 8am, Saturday October 14; v Alabama A&M – 5am, Monday October 16

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: v Chicago State – 1pm, Saturday October 14; v UMKC – 7am, Monday October 16

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

This week: v UC Santa Barbara – 4pm, Friday October 13; v Cal State Northridge – 2pm, Monday October 16

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

This week: at Northeastern – 9am, Friday October 13; v Elon – 4am, Monday October 16

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

This week: at St. Bonaventure – 10am, Friday October 13; v Fordham – 4am, Monday October 16

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: v Arkansas – 10am, Saturday October 14

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: v Austin Peay – 7am, Friday October 13; at Belmont – 6am, Monday October 16

Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: at Sam Houston State – 11am, Saturday October 14; at Stephen F. Austin – 5am, Monday October 16

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

This week: v Southern Miss – 7am, Saturday October 14; v Louisiana Tech – 4am, Monday October 16

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

This week: v Arizona – 1pm, Saturday October 14

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: at BYU – 1pm, Friday October 13

St. Francis (Shelby Milton)

This week: at Central Connecticut State – 10am, Saturday October 14; at Wagner – 4am, Monday October 16

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)

This week: v Eastern Illinois – 10:30am, Saturday October 14; v SIU Edwardsville – 6am, Monday October 16

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: v Washington – 2pm, Saturday October 14

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: v Alcorn State – 11am, Saturday October 14; v Mississippi Valley State – 5am, Monday October 16

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: v Oklahoma State – 11am, Saturday October 14

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: v Utah – 2pm, Friday October 13

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: at Furman – 10am, Saturday October 14; at Wofford – 5am, Monday October 16

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: at UNC Wilmington – 10am, Friday October 13; at Northeastern – 4am, Monday October 16

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

This week: v Utah State – 8am, Saturday October 14; v Boise State – 6am, Monday October 16

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