In a week where a few of the star Aussies such as Monique Iannella and Harriet Withers had a week off after securing conference tournament first round byes, there were still a few players who showcased outstanding performances as either their seasons or careers came to and end this week.
East Tennessee State dropped into the first round of the Southern Conference tournament after a final day loss to Western Carolina, but put Wofford to the sword with a comprehensive 5-0 win. Isabel Hodgson was at the heart of the Buccaneers’ win, tallying both a goal and an assist. The South Australian opened the scoring by burying one in the bottom right corner in the 17th minute, but the floodgates would take a while to open. East Tennessee State found their second in the 54th minute, and by the 63rd minute the score had blown out to 5-0, with Hodgson registering her assist on the team’s fourth goal, teeing up a team-mate who was able to smash the ball home from inside the six-yard area. The win saw the Buccaneers move on to play Furman in the quarter-finals, and although Hodgson played the full 90 minutes, it would be the Paladins who triumphed 2-1 to end Hodgson and East Tennessee State’s season slightly earlier than they would have liked.
Alisha Bass had a final game to remember as the curtain came down on the Wyoming stalwart’s career following a 3-2 win over Colorado State. The senior converted a penalty in the 18th minute to give Wyoming an early 1-0 lead, but Colorado State equalised in the 25th minute. The teams traded goals yet again, with a 36th minute Wyoming goal cancelled out by a 63rd minute Colorado State strike which left the game poised at 2-2 with just under half an hour to play. However, just a minute after Colorado State’s equaliser, Bass picked up a pass from Alyssa Murray, beat a defender, and slotted the ball home for what would prove to be the game-winner, sending both herself and fellow senior Aussie, goalkeeper Georgia Rowntree, out on a high.
The Northeast Conference has been tight all season, and in the end it was a pair of teams featuring Australians that secured a share of the regular season title. Shelby Milton’s St. Francis team and Sam Roff’s Fairleigh Dickinson side came into the final weekend tied for first place, and with both teams winning both games this weekend, the teams remained equal on points. However, it would be Fairleigh Dickinson who would secured top seed and hosting rights for the conference tournament following a better result over third placed Central Connecticut State after Fairleigh Dickinson and St. Francis played out a 1-1 draw earlier in the season. Roff was especially valuable for the Knights, as she has been all season, playing all 180 minutes across the weekend.
Whilst Beattie Goad may not have seen playing time this week as Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe utilised a short bench in both games this week, there was still reason to celebrate as the Cardinal became the first team to officially secure a berth in the NCAA Tournament. With the Pac-12 not employing a conference tournament to decide its champion, a pair of wins this week were enough to secure the conference title and the automatic bid to the national tournament that comes with it. Stanford secured a 1-0 win over UCLA courtesy of a goal to Jordan DiBiasi, but could be considered lucky to escape with the win after a Hailie Mace shot appeared to rocket in off the crossbar for UCLA, but was deemed to have not crossed the line. The Cardinal’s 3-1 win over USC was slightly more routine, allowing the Trojans just two shots on target all game and taking a two goal-lead just after the hour mark to ease to victory.
Maddy Cornell and Southeast Missouri State have had a whirlwind of a weekend in progressing to the Ohio Valley Conference tournament semi-finals, where they will face Murray State and the Aussie pair of Harriet Withers and Nyomi Devine. Cornell started for the Redhawks against Austin Peay, where Southeast Missouri State were outshot 18-8, but two goals less than a minute either side of the half-hour mark proved to be enough as Austin Peay’s sole tally of the game came in the 81st minute as the Redhawks secured a 2-1 win. Cornell once again started in the Redhawks’ game against Belmont, where they were outshot again, this time 20-6, with just one shot on target. However, the Redhawks managed to scrap their way through 110 minutes to a shootout, where all five penalty takers slotted home for the Redhawks, whilst Belmont’s final taker put the ball over the crossbar, sending the Redhawks into delirium as well as into the semi-finals.
Player Of The Year Points:
3: Alisha Bass (Wyoming)
2: Isabel Hodgson (East Tennessee State)
1: Sam Roff (Fairleigh Dickinson)
Albany (Claire Urquhart)
This week: lost 2-1 to Vermont
Claire Urquhart did not feature in Albany’s conference tournament loss to Vermont.
Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)
This week: defeated LIU Brooklyn 3-0
Lauren Featherstone did not feature in Central Connecticut State’s win over LIU Brooklyn.
Colorado (Isobel Dalton)
This week: defeated Oregon State 1-0; defeated Oregon 2-0
Isobel Dalton did not feature for Colorado in either game this week.
East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)
This week: defeated Wofford 5-0; lost 2-1 to Furman
Isabel Hodgson scored the opener and tallied an assist on another in East Tennessee State’s win over Wofford, and played the full 90 minutes in the season-ending tournament loss to Furman.
Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)
This week: defeated Sacred Heart 3-1; defeated Mount St. Mary’s 3-1
Sam Roff played the complete 90 minutes in both games this week as a pair of wins secured Fairleigh Dickinson a share of the Northeast Conference regular season title and hosting rights for the conference tournament.
Grambling State (Priya Gakhar)
This week: defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff 3-0
Priya Gakhar came off the bench in Grambling State’s win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff, playing 50 minutes.
Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)
This week: defeated Cal State Bakersfield 3-0
Sandra Hill came off the bench for Grand Canyon in their win over Cal State Bakersfield, playing 14 minutes.
Hawaii (Kiri Dale)
This week: lost 3-0 to Cal State Fullerton; lost 4-0 to UC Riverside
Kiri Dale started both games for Hawaii this week, playing 90 minutes against Cal State Fullerton and 75 minutes against UC Riverside.
La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)
This week: defeated Dayton 3-2
Claudia Jenkins did not feature in La Salle’s conference tournament quarterfinal victory over Dayton.
LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)
This week: lost 2-0 to Missouri
Caitlin Cantrill did not feature for LSU as the Tigers’ season ended prematurely with a loss to Missouri.
Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)
This week: lost 1-0 to Southeastern Louisiana
Kristy Helmers came off the bench for Nicholls State, playing 59 minutes and registering two shots in the season-ending loss to Southeastern Louisiana, but Tenille Harberger did not feature for the Colonels.
Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)
This week: defeated Charlotte 3-2
Gaby Bentley came off the bench for Old Dominion in the win over Charlotte as the Monarchs secured the fifth seed in the conference tournament.
Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)
This week: lost 1-0 to Colorado; defeated Utah 2-1
Olivia Ellis did not feature for Oregon State in either game this week.
Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)
This week: lost 9-0 to Pepperdine; lost 1-0 to Loyola Marymount
Ellie Papalexiou came off the bench to play the final 20 minutes of the loss to Pepperdine, but did not feature against Loyola Marymount.
St. Francis (Shelby Milton)
This week: defeated Mount St. Mary’s 3-1; defeated LIU Brooklyn 5-0
Shelby Milton came off the bench to play 20 minutes in St. Francis’ win over Mount St. Mary’s, but did not feature in the win over LIU Brooklyn which secured the Red Flash a share of the Northeast Conference regular season title.
Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)
This week: defeated Austin Peay 2-1; defeated Belmont 5-4 on penalties (0-0 AET)
Maddy Cornell started both games this week as Southeast Missouri State moved into the Ohio Valley Conference semi-finals, playing 51 minutes against Austin Peay and 44 minutes in the shootout win over Belmont.
Stanford (Beattie Goad)
This week: defeated UCLA 1-0; defeated USC 3-1
Beattie Goad did not feature in either game for Stanford this week as the Cardinal secured the Pac-12 title, and by extension became the first team to secure their spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)
This week: lost 2-0 to Prairie View A&M
Paige Hayward started and played 45 minutes in Texas Southern’s loss to Prairie View A&M, registering two shots in the process.
Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)
This week: defeated Oklahoma 3-0
Demi Koulizakis came off the bench for Texas Tech in the win over Oklahoma, playing 9 minutes.
UCLA (Teagan Micah)
This week: lost 1-0 to Stanford; defeated California 1-0
Teagan Micah played the full 90 minutes on both occasions this week, making two saves in each game.
Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)
This week: defeated VMI 1-0
Kate Swartwout did not feature for Western Carolina in the win over VMI as the Catamounts progressed to the Southern Conference tournament semi-finals.
William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)
This week: defeated James Madison 4-3
Lorena Bugden did not feature for William & Mary as the tribe defeated James Madison 4-3 to progress to the Colonial Athletic Association tournament semi-finals.
Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Jemma House, Georgia Rowntree)
This week: defeated Colorado State 3-2
All four available Aussies started in Wyoming’s win over Colorado State, with Jessie Gentle unavailable due to an injury sustained in last week’s loss to New Mexico. Alisha Bass was the star, finishing with two goals in 79 minutes of playing time in the final game of her collegiate career. Georgia Rowntree made four saves in what was also the final game of her collegiate career, playing the full 90 minutes. Jemma House started and played 49 minutes, whilst Annika Clayton also started and played 49 minutes, registering a single shot in the process.