2019 Week 4 Preview

With Stanford and UCLA in the top 5 in the coaches’ poll, and Mississippi and Texas Tech receiving votes, there are plenty of Aussies playing for top teams at the moment in varying capacities. However, there are plenty of other places you can find Aussies performing well, including at Illinois, where Ashleigh Lefevre continues to cement her spot in the Fighting Illini’s starting eleven.

Stanford moved up to #2 in the coaches’ poll this week thanks to a combination of their own outstanding form and UCLA’s loss to Santa Clara, and Beattie Goad and her Cardinal teammates will be hoping to maintain that level as they head down the coast to face Pepperdine and UC Santa Barbara. Pepperdine are often a tough opponent, but have struggled to start the season, and Stanford are certainly not a team anyone wants to face when trying to break out of a bad run of form. UC Santa Barbara have had an interrupted start to the season, with a cancelled game against Montana meaning they have played just a single game since August 30, although that one game was a 3-0 win over Idaho. However, given her recent form, Goad will no doubt be champing at the bit to get herself involved in a few more goals against a pair of teams that Stanford really should have little trouble dispatching.

With three wins in their last four games, La Salle are hitting form at the right time, and with Claudia Jenkins playing superbly between the sticks, the Explorers will be confident heading into their last weekend of non-conference play. It won’t be easy though, facing a pair of opponents that are both playing well at this early stage. Delaware have won four of their six games to this point, and with the Fightin’ Blue Hens (yes, that is their nickname) having kept clean sheets in all four of those victories, goals will be at a premium at both ends. Meanwhile, Navy sit at 5-1 and have yet to concede more than a goal in any of their contests, also keeping four clean sheets. However, if Jenkins can reprise the same kind of form shown in her 10-save performance against Florida Gulf Coast, one goal may be enough to secure a result in each game for La Salle. That, fittingly, is where Alyssa Van Heurck comes into the conversation. The sophomore has been a regular starter in attack for the Explorers, and having played solid if unspectacular minutes in most contests to this point, a breakout performance could be just around the corner for the Western Australian, and this would be a perfect time to pull one out.

Illinois have had little trouble scoring goals, but despite their 4-1 record, are yet to record a clean sheet and have conceded multiple goals in all bar one game to this point. Regular starter, sophomore Ashleigh Lefevre and her teammates will have to make this the week that they start locking down oppositions, with the Fighting Illini facing a pair of high-scoring attacks this week in the form of Butler and Colorado College. Butler sit at 4-2 to this point, scoring at least two goals in all bar one of their games, which was a 2-1 loss to then #15 Wisconsin. Meanwhile, Colorado College have banged in 12 goals in moving to 4-0 to start their campaign, and whilst their schedule to this point hasn’t been the strongest, the Tigers have certainly proved their potency in front of goal. Having started three games this season but not played more than 59 minutes in any one game, if Lefevre is going to prove that she deserves to be a 90-minute player, now is the perfect time to show the kind of form that will merit a full-time spot in the lineup.

UCLA slipped to a 2-0 defeat last week against Santa Clara, and whilst Teagan Micah and the Bruins will be looking to make a quick return to form, Wisconsin will be no pushovers, with the Badgers sitting at #22 in this week’s coaches’ poll. With their only loss this season coming in overtime to the same Florida State side that UCLA defeated a couple of weeks ago, Wisconsin have compiled a solid 4-1-1 record to this point, and with this fixture their final non-conference game, the Big Ten side will be looking to enter conference play on a high note. However, UCLA had been riding a 17-game unbeaten streak coming into last week’s game, and a single loss doesn’t undo all that good work, nor does it detract from the fact that the Bruins are still one of a handful of national championship contenders. Wisconsin will also have to contend with the Pac-12’s record-holder for most Goalkeeper of the Week awards in Matildas squad member Micah, and with the Badgers scoring just seven goals in six games despite their solid record, just notching a goal against one of the nation’s top goalkeepers looks to be a stern test for Wisconsin. This may also be the week in which we see the return of Rachel Lowe to the lineup after tallying a few DNPs over the last couple of weeks, particularly if UCLA can jump out to an early lead, something they will be itching to do after last week’s profligacy in and around the area.

Texas Tech have reached the NCAA Tournament in six of the last seven seasons, if they continue in the same form that has seen the Red Raiders post a 5-1 record to this point, they could very easily make it seven in eight. This week, they travel to Pullman to face UC Irvine and Loyola Marymount on neutral ground at Washington State, a venue that has seen a couple of Aussies tear things up in recent years, including Tia Gavin and current Hawaii assistant coach Rachael Doyle. Whilst she won’t be pulling on a Cougars jersey, Demi Koulizakis will be hoping to have the same kind of success that Doyle had on the Palouse, particularly against a pair of teams that have combined for a single win this season. UC Irvine currently sit 1-5 and conceded three or more goals in three of those losses, including a 7-0 drubbing by Virginia, whilst Loyola Marymount gave up 5 goals to Pittsburgh in a thrilling 5-4 defeat and three more to then #7 Penn State in a 3-0 defeat, so there will certainly be opportunities for the senior to not only score goals, but tee up teammates this weekend.

Finally, we have potential for an Aussie v Aussie matchup this week as Sam Roff’s Fairleigh Dickinson side takes on a Hofstra roster featuring Grace Watson Carr and Monique Iannella. However, whilst Roff has been just about ever-present for the Knights, neither of Hofstra’s Aussies have been involved recently, meaning that whilst there may be three Aussies at the venue, only one may actually take to the pitch. However, this remains a crucial game for both teams, with Fairleigh Dickinson looking to shake a 1-2-3 start to hit form coming into the conference season and Hofstra attempting to build on a 3-3 start before attempting to assert their dominance on the CAA.

Full Schedule

Alabama State (Sophie Bui)

This week: @ Samford – 10am, Saturday September 14; @ Charleston Southern – 4am, Monday September 16

Chicago State (Sarah Clark)

This week: @ SIU-Edwardsville – 7am, Saturday September 14; @ Eastern Illinois – 4am, Monday September 16

East Tennessee State (D’arne Boato)

This week: v Radford – 9am, Saturday September 14; @ Winthrop – 9am, Monday September 16

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: @ Hofstra – 9am, Friday September 13; @ Binghamton – 3am, Monday September 16

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: @ UC Santa Barbara – 12pm, Saturday September 14; v North Dakota – 12pm, Monday September 16

Hofstra (Monique Iannella, Grace Watson Carr)

This week: v Fairleigh Dickinson – 9am, Friday September 13; v Columbia – 3am, Monday September 16

Illinois (Ashleigh Lefevre)

This week: @ Butler – 7am, Friday September 13; v Colorado College – 4am, Monday September 16

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins, Alyssa Van Heurck)

This week: v Delaware – 9am, Friday September 13; v Navy – 3am, Monday September 16

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: v Arizona State – 3am, Monday September 16

Marshall (Laura Farrelly)

This week: v High Point – 3am, Monday September 16

Mississippi (Aimee Medwin)

This week: v Long Beach State – 7am, Friday September 13; v South Alabama – 4am, Monday September 16

Nicholls State (Tessa Calabria, Kristy Helmers, Shauni Reid)

This week: @ Alcorn State – 7am, Saturday September 14; @ Southern – 4am, Monday September 16

North Dakota State (Eden Taylor-Wineera)

This week: @ Drake – 9am, Saturday September 14; @ Northern Iowa – 4am, Monday September 16

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

This week: @ East Carolina – 9am, Friday September 13; v William & Mary – 8am, Monday September 16

Rhode Island (Teresa Morrissey)

This week: v Holy Cross – 9am, Friday September 13; @ Boston University – 4am, Monday September 16

Southeast Missouri State (Siena Senatore)

This week: @ Arkansas State – 4am, Monday September 16

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: @ Pepperdine – 8am, Saturday September 14; @ UC Santa Barbara – 6am, Monday September 16

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: v Loyola Marymount – 9:30am, Saturday September 14; v UC Irvine – 3:30am, Monday September 16

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: v Wisconsin – 11am, Sunday September 15

UMBC (Abi Jordan, Teal Kilbride)

This week: @ Lehigh – 8am, Saturday September 14; @ Longwood – 3am, Monday September 16

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: v High Point – 9am, Friday September 13; v Radford – 9am, Monday September 16

Wyoming (Indianna Asimus)

This week: v Southern Utah – 8am, Saturday September 14; @ Montana – 5am, Monday September 16

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