At #15 in the United Soccer Coaches national rankings, Texas Tech are the second-highest ranked Big 12 team, and also finished second in the conference standings before knocking off Baylor in last weekend’s conference tournament quarter-finals. That put the Red Raiders into a semi-final against TCU, with the Horned Frogs the only Big 12 team to deliver Texas Tech a defeat this season. However, that slip-up doesn’t change the fact that Texas Tech will come into this game as favourites, with senior Demi Koulizakis part of a Red Raiders attack that has done the required job on just about every occasion this season. With a solid defence that has conceded just five goals in conference play backing them up, Texas Tech has eked out four 1-0 victories this season on their way to second place in the conference standings. However, a 4-1 win over Kansas State last week displayed the Red Raiders’ offensive prowess, and with nine goals in their last four games, if everything clicks, Texas Tech could yet storm to the championship game.
Hawaii have already made history just by reaching the Big West tournament, but that is merely a step on the pathway as the Rainbow Wahine look to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007. With the tournament being hosted by the regular season champion, Hawaii’s semi-final against Cal State Fullerton in the 1st v 4th semi-final becomes a true road game rather than a neutral venue contest. However, Hawaii have already drawn with the Titans on the very same pitch that they will be playing this game. It was a hardly a game in which Hawaii just eked out a draw either; although they were outshot 20-13, the Rainbow Wahine certainly had their chances throughout the contest. Big West All-Conference First Team selection Eliza Ammendolia’s emergence as part of the attack has certainly been a game-changer for Hawaii, and whilst they have only won one of their last five, the Rainbow Wahine have lost only one of their past eight as they carved out a number of draws to pick up vital points on their way to the tournament.
UCLA and USC played out one of the most thrilling games of the regular season in 2018, and sparks look set to fly once again as the crosstown rivals face off on the final day of Pac-12 play. Last year’s contest saw Teagan Micah make one of the plays of the season, coming up with an acrobatic tip over the bar with just two seconds remaining in regulation to force the game to overtime. UCLA would go on to secure the golden goal victory, and another victory this week would greatly assist in the Bruins’ push to secure as high a seeding for the NCAA Tournament as possible. Micah kept two clean sheets last week to maintain some outstanding form of late, and another performance of similar ilk would just about get the Bruins halfway to a victory – you can’t lose if you’re not conceding goals!
Siena Senatore and Southeast Missouri State have run roughshod over much of the Ohio Valley Conference this season, giving themselves a golden chance to secure a conference title and reach the NCAA Tournament in Senatore’s final season. Having received a double-bye through to the semi-finals, the Redhawks need just two wins to secure the title, with that semi-final coming at home against SIU-Edwardsville. Southeast Missouri State already have a 2-1 win at home, but the Cougars are a dangerous team, smashing home 29 goals and finishing with the second-best goal difference in the league. That is where Senatore comes into play for the Redhawks. A solid defensive performance, of which the senior will most likely play a crucial role off the bench, has the potential to stifle SIU-Edwardsville’ attack and turn this game into a defensive battle. That is an area in which the Redhawks can claim superiority, having conceded just 13 goals in 10 games compared to SIU-Edwardsville’s 17. Should the Redhawks get a win, they could face a Murray State team that has already beaten them 5-0 once this season. If that is the case, then Senatore and the Redhawks defence would become even more crucial if they are to get revenge for that result and secure a conference championship.
Alabama State (Sophie Bui)
This week: @ Prairie View A&M – 10:30am, Friday November 8 (SWAC Tournament Quarter-Final)
Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)
This week: v Bryant – 8am, Saturday November 9 (Northeast Conference Tournament Semi-Final)
Hawaii (Eliza Ammendolia, Kiri Dale)
This week: @ Cal State Fullerton – 2:30pm, Friday November 8 (Big West Tournament Semi-Final)
Hofstra (Monique Iannella, Grace Watson Carr)
This week: v James Madison – 5am, Sunday November 10 (CAA Tournament Final)
La Salle (Claudia Jenkins, Alyssa Van Heurck)
This week: @ Saint Louis – 6am, Saturday November 9 (Atlantic 10 Tournament Semi-Final)
Southeast Missouri State (Siena Senatore)
This week: v SIU-Edwardsville – 11:30am, Saturday November 9 (Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Semi-Final)
Stanford (Beattie Goad)
This week: v California – 2pm, Saturday November 9
Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)
This week: v TCU – 12pm, Saturday November 9 (Big 12 Tournament Semi-Final)
UCLA (Rachel Lowe, Teagan Micah)
This week: v USC – 1pm, Saturday November 9
Washington State (Aly Hay)
This week: @ Washington – 2pm, Saturday November 9