Conference tournaments kicked off this week, with mixed fortunes for teams featuring Australians. Hofstra have perhaps been the most impressive to this point, with Monique Iannella a mainstay in the lineup for a Pride team that will play in the CAA championship game next weekend. Hofstra dominated Delaware in the quarterfinals, holding their opponents to just six shots for the entire game, all of which came in the first half. However, despite having the run of play for the whole evening, Hofstra could only tally a single 33rd minute goal, but secured a 1-0 victory to face perennial contenders Northeastern in the semi-finals. This time, it was Hofstra who found themselves under the pump throughout, but a ninth-minute goal from Lucy Porter on one of just two shots on target for the Pride proved enough as Northeastern were unable to convert any one of their twenty shots into a goal. Iannella played every minute of the two games, and Hofstra will now face James Madison in the conference title game. The Dukes have a link to Australia of their own – first-year head coach Josh Walters was an assistant at UCLA prior to moving to James Madison, and in fact helped to recruit Teagan Micah to the Bruins.
Unfortunately, Emma Heckenberg and Drexel were unable to join Hofstra in the semi-finals after falling 3-2 to Charleston in an overtime thriller. Heckenberg rattled off two shots, with one on target, in a game that saw Drexel rally from two goals down with an 87th minute equaliser before eventually giving up the golden goal winner with just five minutes remaining in extra time. The loss also spells the conclusion of an outstanding career for Heckenberg, who took a while to find her spot in the Drexel lineup, but eventually carved out her spot as an integral member of the Dragons’ team.
Isabel Hodgson also played the full 90 minutes in a defensive struggle against Mercer as East Tennessee State won their quarterfinal contest in the Southern Conference tournament. In a game that saw each team manage just six shots apiece, and it took East Tennessee State until the 80th minute to break the deadlock through Sarah Connolly. The Buccaneers will now face UNC Greensboro in the semi-finals, a team they beat 2-1 on their home patch in the regular season.
Demi Koulizakis and Texas Tech secured a win over Texas on the final day of the regular season to set up a Big 12 tournament quarterfinal against TCU. In a pulsating fixture that somehow failed to yield a goal, Koulizakis saw 14 minutes on the pitch before Texas Tech advanced after a 5-3 win on penalties.
Unfortunately, the remaining six Australians failed to see the pitch in their teams’ conference tournament matches. Ashleigh Lefevre’s Illinois, Claire Urquhart’s Albany and Caitlin Cantrill’s LSU sides remain in contention for conference titles next weekend, but for Freyja Murray’s Akron, Siena Senatore’s Southeast Missouri State and Kate Swartwout’s Western Carolina outfits, their next games will come in 2019 after falling in their own conference tournament games.
Back in league action, Wyoming came into their game against arch-rivals Colorado State knowing that a win would not only give them the 2nd seed in the Mountain West conference tournament, but also give them a chance of securing a share of the regular season title if Boise State were to lose later in the afternoon. On a windy day in Laramie, the Cowgirls had the edge in the first half despite running into the gale, and once the teams switched sides for the second half, Wyoming dominated. However, it took until the 76th minute for a ball pinging around in the box to finally be slotted home by Adalyn Vergara for the 1-0 victory. Whilst the Australian quartet weren’t involved in the goal, they were highly impressive. Indianna Asimus found herself in good positions on multiple occasions and should possibly have done better with her three shots, all of which went narrowly over the bar, whilst seniors Annika Clayton and Jessie Gentle saw out their careers at Laramie in style with solid performances. Caitlin Pickett also started, but came out of the game after 33 minutes. As it turns out, Boise State did fall in their final game of the season against Utah State, handing Wyoming and New Mexico a three-way split of the league title ahead of next week’s conference tournament.
Beattie Goad has been given a slightly increased role in the Stanford lineup of late, and the junior continued to be a threat for the nation’s top team as the Cardinal continued to extend their unbeaten streak. Earning the start in Stanford’s 2-0 win over Washington, Goad was solid in midfield and managed to tally a single shot before showing more promise against Washington State. The junior tallied another two shots, forcing a point-blank save from Cougars’ goalkeeper Rachel Thompson in a game that looked certain to end in a Stanford win. However, a calamitous misplay at the back from Stanford allowed Washington State to tally an open-goal equaliser late on, and with neither team able to break the deadlock in extra time, the spoils were shared in a 1-1 draw.
Akron (Freyja Murray)
This week: defeated Buffalo 3-2; lost 1-0 to Western Michigan
Freyja Murray did not feature for Akron in either game this week as the Zips’ season ended with a first-round conference tournament loss to Western Michigan.
Albany (Claire Urquhart)
This week: defeated New Hampshire 1-0; defeated Hartford 1-0
Claire Urquhart did not feature for Albany in either game this week as Albany advanced to the America East conference championship game.
Chicago State (Sarah Clark)
This week: lost 8-0 to UMKC
Sarah Clark did not feature for Chicago State in their loss to UMKC.
Colorado (Isobel Dalton)
This week: lost 1-0 to USC; lost 2-1 to UCLA
Isobel Dalton did not feature for Colorado in either game this week.
Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)
This week: lost 3-2 to Charleston (OT)
Emma Heckenberg played all 104 minutes in her final game of college soccer, registering two shots with one on target in Drexel’s season-ending loss to Charleston.
East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)
This week: defeated Mercer 1-0
Isabel Hodgson played the full 90 minutes as East Tennessee State advanced to the Southern Conference tournament semi-finals with a 1-0 win over Mercer.
Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)
This week: lost 1-0 to Sacred Heart
Sam Roff played the full 90 minutes for Fairleigh Dickinson in their loss to Sacred Heart.
Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)
This week: drew 3-3 with Cal State Bakersfield
Sandra Hill started and played all 110 minutes for Grand Canyon in their thrilling draw with Cal State Bakersfield.
Hawaii (Kiri Dale)
This week: defeated UC Riverside 2-0; lost 2-1 to Cal State Fullerton
Kiri Dale started both games this week, registering a shot in 68 minutes against UC Riveride before tallying another in the dying seconds of Hawaii’s season-ending loss to Cal State Fullerton as part of a 35-minute performance.
Hofstra (Monique Iannella, Grace Watson-Carr)
This week: defeated Delaware 1-0; defeated Northeastern 1-0
Monique Iannella played the full 90 minutes on both occasions this week as Hofstra advanced to the CAA championship game with a pair of 1-0 wins. Reserve goalkeeper Grace Watson-Carr did not feature in either game.
Illinois (Ashleigh Lefevre)
This week: defeated Wisconsin 3-0 on penalties (0-0 after extra time)
Ashleigh Lefevre did not feature as Illinois defeated Wisconsin on penalties to advance to the Big Ten tournament semi-finals.
LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)
This week: defeated Mississippi State 2-1; defeated Missouri 3-2 (OT)
Caitlin Cantrill did not feature for LSU in either game this week as the Tigers advanced to the SEC tournament semi-finals with an overtime win over Missouri.
Marshall (Laura Farrelly)
This week: lost 2-0 to Western Kentucky
Laura Farrelly did not feature for Marshall in their loss to Western Kentucky.
Nicholls State (Tessa Calabria, Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)
This week: lost 4-0 to Southeastern Louisiana
Kristy Helmers came off the bench for Nicholls State in their loss to Southeastern Louisiana to play 42 minutes, whilst Tenille Harberger and Tessa Calabria did not feature.
North Dakota State (Lauren Featherstone)
This week: defeated South Dakota 1-0
Lauren Featherstone did not feature for North Dakota State in their win over South Dakota.
Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)
This week: defeated North Texas 4-0
Gaby Bentley came off the bench for Old Dominion in their win over North Texas, playing 23 minutes and registering a single shot on target.
Southeast Missouri State (Siena Senatore)
This week: defeated Belmont 4-3 on penalties (0-0 after extra time); lost 3-2 on penalties to Eastern Illinois (1-1 after extra time)
Siena Senatore did not feature for Southeast Missouri State in either game this week as the Redhawks’ season ended in a shootout loss to Eastern Illinois.
St. Francis University (Shelby Milton)
This week: lost 1-0 to Central Connecticut State; defeated Wagner 5-0
Shelby Milton did not feature for St. Francis in their loss to Central Connecticut State, but came off the bench play 27 minutes in the win over Wagner.
Stanford (Beattie Goad)
This week: defeated Washington 2-0; drew 1-1 with Washington State
Beattie Goad started and tallied a shot in 49 minutes in the win over Washington before coming off the bench to register two shots in 52 minutes against Washington State, with one on target.
Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)
This week: defeated Texas 1-0; defeated TCU 5-3 on penalties (0-0 after extra time)
Demi Koulizakis came off the bench in both games this week, playing 24 minutes in the win over Texas and 14 minutes in the shootout victory over TCU that handed Texas Tech a Big 12 tournament semi-final berth.
UCLA (Teagan Micah)
This week: defeated Utah 5-1; defeated Colorado 2-1
Teagan Micah played the full 90 minutes against Utah but did not make a save before playing the second half against Colorado, making one save and giving up the one goal that UCLA conceded.
Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)
This week: lost 1-0 to Furman
Kate Swartwout did not feature for Western Carolina in their season-ending Southern Conference tournament loss to Furman.
Wyoming (Indianna Asimus, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Caitlin Pickett)
This week: defeated Colorado State 1-0
All four Aussies started for Wyoming in their win over Colorado State. Annika Clayton played 82 minutes, whilst Jessie Gentle was a menace out wide for her 86 minutes. Indianna Asimus registered three shots, all of which went narrowly over the bar, in her 62 minutes on the pitch, whilst Caitlin Pickett played 33 minutes.
Player of the Year Points:
3: Indianna Asimus (Wyoming)
2: Beattie Goad (Stanford)
1: Emma Heckenberg (Drexel)