As is the usual case at this time of year, we kick things off with the latest round of individual honours as NAIA conferences begin to dish out their awards.
East Tennessee State transfer D’arne Boato has enjoyed an inspired season at Georgia Gwinnett College this season, being rewarded with an All-Continental Athletic Conference First Team selection. A regular 90-minute player, Boato has helped lead the Grizzlies to the NAIA Tournament after reaching the CAC Championship game.
Lauren Woodcock also helped lead her team to the NAIA Tournament as Campbellsville secured their first Mid-South Conference championship in program history. For her efforts, Woodcock earned an All-Conference Second Team nomination after starting in 16 of her 17 appearances and playing the entire game on all bar five occasions.
Meanwhile, former Blacktown Spartans midfielder Felicity McNeil has given herself a platform from which to build upon in her first season at LSU Shreveport. The Pilots finished with a respectable 9-5-3 record, whilst McNeil picked up an All-Red River Conference All-Freshman team selection in a season that saw her score the first goal of her college career and also tally four assists.
Moving to the actual matches, whilst we may not have seen any of the remaining Aussies in the NCAA Division I Tournament on the pitch this week, two of the three have advanced to the Round of 32 following first-up victories. Holly Furphy’s Santa Clara side needed extra time to get past local rivals California in a contest that was as tight as it appeared on paper. A last-minute Izzy D’Aquila winner was all that separated the sides in a 1-0 win as the Broncos advanced to take on #1 seed Notre Dame in the Round of 32.
Meanwhile, whilst Amy Sayer was in Melbourne as the Matildas knocked off Sweden, her Stanford teammates were also taking care of a blue and yellow team in a 6-0 win over San Jose State. Stanford will take on BYU in the second round, with the Cougars always a tricky opponent.
Unfortunately, Talia Grossman and USC fell victim to UC Irvine’s second first-round upset over a Los Angeles school in as many years. Having knocked off UCLA in 2021’s tournament opener, the Anteaters added the Women of Troy to their list of victims with a 2-0 win that ended USC’s season, just a week after ending Aimee Medwin and Long Beach State’s season in the Big West championship game.
The only goal of the week from an Aussie came in the NCAA Division II Tournament as Gannon advanced to the second round with a 3-0 win over Fairmont State. Coming off the bench in the first half, Holly Gray nodded home the opener as the team from Erie, Pennsylvania rolled to victory in the opener. Unfortunately, the Knights couldn’t repeat the dose in the second round, losing 1-0 to Kutztown.
However, one Aussie does remain as the NCAA Division II Tournament enters the Round of 16. Having defeated Imogen Noon’s Southern New Hampshire side 3-1 in their opener, Brianna Trappett and Franklin Pierce needed penalties to get past Bridgeport in the second round. Trappett played around an hour in both games, and will no doubt remain an integral part of the Franklin Pierce side as they look to knock off #1 seed Saint Rose and advance to the quarter-finals. Saint Rose have already defeated one Aussie this season after getting past Olivia Riddel and Jefferson in the opener, but hopefully Trappett can exact some revenge for her countrywoman.
The NAIA National Tournament bracket was revealed early on Tuesday morning, with five teams featuring Aussies involved. Lauren Woodcock’s Campbellsville and Georgia Little’s Keiser side both earned auto-bids as conference champions, with Keiser earning the #1 overall seed and Campbellsville’s auto-bid coming by way of the first conference championship in program history.
D’arne Boato and Georgia Gwinnett earned a spot after reaching the championship in the two-bid Continental Athletic Conference despite falling to Bellevue in a heartbreaking penalty shootout in the final. Meanwhile, a regular season crown in the Great Plains Athletic Conference was enough for Gaby Sarkis and Jamestown to secure an auto-bid despite falling in the conference tournament.
One team also secured an at-large bid, with a conference tournament loss to Campbellsville hardly enough to shake the CV of Georgia Martell’s Cumberlands side. Ranked #3 in the most recent United Soccer Coaches poll, the Patriots are well and truly in the mix for a national title as the tournament kicks off on Thursday. In fact, with all five teams drawn in different regions for the opening round, all five could yet reach the final round in Orange Beach, Alabama in the first week of December.
NJCAA National Championship play also kicked off this week, with three teams featuring Aussies in the Division I Tournament and another one in the Division II Tournament. Unfortunately, Mattiese Loretan and Laramie County Community College fell in the pool stage of the Division I Tournament following losses to Hill and Eastern Florida State, but the remaining teams remain in the hunt for a championship, albeit with varying degrees of optimism at this stage. Amelia Suma and Isabel Andrews will feature in the national semi-finals after winning both of their pool games, but Shivani Battaglia, Samantha Bayer, and Seminole State will need to win their second game by enough to win a three-team tiebreaker after falling in their opener.
NJCAA Division II side Northeast find themselves in the same position as Seminole State, as Mackenzee Stokes’ goal was not enough to prevent a three-goal defeat as they fell 4-1 to Northwest Mississippi. Like Seminole State, they will need to win by plenty in their second game in an attempt to force a three-way tiebreaker and hopefully sneak through by that route.
NCAA Division I Tournament
Santa Clara (Holly Furphy)
First Round: defeated California 1-0 (OT)
Holly Furphy did not feature in Santa Clara’s win over California as the freshman continues to sit out with a season-ending injury.
Stanford (Amy Sayer)
First Round: defeated San Jose State 6-0
Amy Sayer did not feature in Stanford’s first-round win over San Jose State, with the midfielder away on national team duty with the Matildas.
USC (Talia Grossman)
First Round: lost 2-0 to UC Irvine
Talia Grossman did not feature in USC’s first-round defeat to UC Irvine.
NCAA Division II Tournament
#2 Franklin Pierce (Brianna Trappett)
First Round: defeated #7 Southern New Hampshire 3-1
Second Round: defeated Bridgeport 4-2 on penalties (2-2 AET)
Brianna Trappett came off the bench for Franklin Pierce in both games this week, playing 43 minutes in the win over Southern New Hampshire and 67 minutes in the shootout victory over Bridgeport.
#3 Gannon (Holly Gray, Paige Taylor)
First Round: defeated #6 Fairmont State 3-0
Second Round: lost 1-0 to Kutztown
Holly Gray came off the bench for Gannon in both games this week, scoring the opener in a 36-minute outing against Fairmont State and playing 52 minutes in the loss to Kutztown. Paige Taylor did not feature in either game this week.
#8 Jefferson (Olivia Riddel)
First Round: lost 3-0 to #1 Saint Rose
Olivia Riddel did not feature in Jefferson’s opening round loss to Saint Rose.
#5 Mississippi College (Erin Stamatopoulos)
First Round: lost 2-0 to #4 Florida Southern (OT)
Erin Stamatopoulos did not feature for Mississippi College in their loss to Florida Southern.
#7 Southern New Hampshire (Imogen Noon)
First Round: lost 3-1 to #2 Franklin Pierce
Imogen Noon started for Southern New Hampshire in their loss to Franklin Pierce, playing 51 minutes.
#8 Southwestern Oklahoma State (Ashley Hughes)
First Round: lost 5-0 to #1 Central Missouri
Ashley Hughes started for Southwestern Oklahoma State in their first-round loss to Central Missouri, making six saves in 75 minutes.
#5 West Virginia State (Emma Farrelly)
First Round: defeated #4 Bloomsburg 3-2 (OT)
Second Round: lost 1-0 to #1 West Chester
Emma Farrelly did not feature for West Virginia State in either of their NCAA Tournament matches.
NJCAA Division I National Championship
#11 Laramie County (Mattiese Loretan)
Pool Stage Game 1: lost 4-2 to #2 Hill
Pool Stage Game 2: lost 4-0 to #7 Eastern Florida State
Mattiese Loretan started both games for Laramie County this week, registering a shot in 47 minutes against Hill and playing 57 minutes against Eastern Florida State.
#10 Salt Lake (Isabel Andrews, Amelia Suma)
Pool Stage Game 1: defeated #3 Butler 3-1
Pool Stage Game 2: defeated #6 Monroe CC 1-0
Neither Isabel Andrews nor Amelia Suma featured in either game as Salt Lake advanced to the national semi-finals with two victories in the pool stage.
#5 Seminole State (Samantha Bayer, Shivani Battaglia)
Pool Stage Game 1: lost 3-1 to Iowa Western
Pool Stage Game 2: v #4 Polk State – 9:30am, Wednesday November 16
Shivani Battaglia made five saves in a 90-minute outing against Iowa Western, whilst Samantha Bayer is listed as playing but her stat line is completely blank in the box score.
NJCAA Division II National Championship
#9 Northeast (Chelsea Dolbel, Kailey Lincoln, Mackenzee Stokes)
Pool Stage Game 1: v lost 4-1 to Northwest Mississippi
Pool Stage Game 2: v #5 Pima – 9:30am, Wednesday November 16
All three Aussies featured in Northeast’s loss to Northwest Mississippi, with Mackenzee Stokes scoring the Hawks’ lone goal on one of her three shots on target.
Campbellsville (Lauren Woodcock)
This week: defeated Tennessee Southern 3-1 (Mid-South Conference Championship)
Lauren Woodcock started for Campbellsville in their conference championship win over Tennessee Southern, registering a shot on target in 57 minutes of playing time.
Georgia Gwinnett (D’arne Boato)
This week: defeated USC Beaufort 1-0 (Continental Athletic Conference Tournament Semi-Final); lost to Bellevue 3-2 on penalties (1-1 AET) (Continental Athletic Conference Championship)
D’arne Boato played every minute of the weekend for Georgia Gwinnett, with a full 90 minutes against USC Beaufort followed by a 110-minute effort in the championship game against Bellevue.
Keiser (Georgia Little)
This week: defeated Southeastern 1-0 (The Sun Conference Championship)
Georgia Little came off the bench for Keiser in their conference championship victory over Southeastern, playing 57 minutes.
LSU Alexandria (Elena McConnachie)
This week: defeated Houston-Victoria 3-0 (OT) (Red River Conference Tournament Semi-Final); lost 1-0 to Texas A&M-Texarkana (OT) (Red River Conference Championship)
Elena McConnachie came off the bench to play 13 minutes in LSU Alexandria’s semi-final win over Houston-Victoria, but did not feature in the championship game loss to Texas A&M-Texarkana.
Rio Grande (Saskia Vos)
This week: lost 7-1 to IU Kokomo (River States Conference Championship)
Saskia Vos did not feature in Rio Grande’s conference championship defeat to IU Kokomo.