2022 Week 6 Preview

League play gets underway around the country this weekend, and for most teams a conference title is the only way they will reach the NCAA Tournament at the end of the year. However, for some others it is also a chance to bolster their résumé as they search for the fall-back of an at-large bid as well as the highest seeding possible in the postseason.

Greta Kraszula faced a fellow Aussie defender in Hannah Peric last week, but there is a chance her battle against a fellow Australian could involve far closer combat as Western Australian forward Courtney Butlion and La Salle come to town. Two draws for Kraszula and VCU on opening week have left the Rams four points off the conference leaders even at this early stage, but they still retain the confidence gained from their win over Pittsburgh and draw with Virginia just a couple of weeks ago. Meanwhile, La Salle faced conference favourites Saint Louis during Week 1, so whilst they remain without a point after two games, it’s fair to say that most teams will drop points to Saint Louis this year, so it isn’t exactly panic stations for the Explorers. However, too many more dropped points would see any dreams of a conference regular season title start slipping away. Kraszula has been utterly crucial to VCU’s fortunes this season, whilst Butlion has certainly had her moments for La Salle, so we could see plenty of Aussie highlights.

Meanwhile, on the west coast, the Australian Pac-12 contingent kicks off conference play with some highly intriguing games. Amy Sayer’s Stanford side take on Talia Grossman’s USC in their league opener, with both teams well and truly among the contenders for the crown in a conference that does not feature a tournament. Whilst we unfortunately haven’t seen Grossman between the sticks for USC this season, Sayer has had the ball on a string at times for Stanford, and it truly feels like the assists, and perhaps even goals, are almost pre-destined to continue to flow for the Sydneysider. Meanwhile, Oregon’s Aussie trio of Isabel Rolley, Lara Kirkby, and coach Rachael Doyle will take on a Washington team that has compiled a solid 6-0-2 record to this point. Both teams will be looking to make the leap from mid-table obscurity into true contenders, and a win in this opener will be crucial to breaking away from the remainder of the chasing pack.

Staying on the west coast, Eliza Ammendolia and Hawaii will head to California looking to add to their 1-0 start to Big West play following last week’s win over UC Davis. The Rainbow Wahine’s first game this week comes against UC Santa Barbara, who were tipped to finish midtable in the conference, but have picked up just one win so far. However, Santa Barbara is rarely an easy place for any opposition to pick up a win and Hawai’i will need to be at their best to secure a result. Things don’t get any easier for Hawai’i in their second game as they take on Cal Poly, a team that secured three first-place votes in the Big West preseason poll. However, Hawai’i ran the Mustangs close last season in a 2-1 defeat to a team that finished top of the tree in the Big West and reached the conference championship game. As has been the case throughout her career, Ammendolia has been integral to the Rainbow Wahine’s fortunes this season. Although her name hasn’t featured on the scoresheet quite as often as in previous seasons, that hasn’t diminished her impact on the team in 2022.

Meanwhile, flipping to the other side of the country, the sizeable Aussie contingent of the Big East starts their league schedule this week. Seton Hall’s twin duo of Grace Mitchell and Sarah Mitchell start their conference slate by hosting Providence and Villanova, two teams that have struggled in non-conference play. However, whilst Villanova are tipped to finish 10th in the conference, Providence slotted in nicely at fourth in the preseason poll. However, that means Seton Hall may be catching the Friars at an ideal time as they look to make the pollsters who picked them to finish bottom of the conference eat their words. If the Pirates are to lift themselves out of the Big East doldrums, picking up results in games like these will be crucial.

In Indianapolis, Claire Farrington and Butler have faced a tough schedule but would have hoped for more success in non-conference play following their win over then-top 10 side Michigan on the opening weekend of the season. However, they can put that all behind them this weekend with a win over title-chasing Xavier before they face a Marquette side that they will be favoured to beat. Xavier have been on a roll in non-conference, going 6-2-1, whilst Marquette’s 4-3-1 record is fairly healthy as well. Butler’s record of 3-4-1 is shaped partly by the schedule they have faced, but there is no doubt a couple of those dropped results will rankle. Perhaps though, that is just the motivation they need.

Katie Godden and DePaul will face the same opponents as Butler this week, and like the Bulldogs, have dropped a couple of results this season in games they would have seen as eminently winnable. Picked to finish in the lower reaches of the Big East this season, picking up a win in either one of these games would be a massive boon to the Blue Demons’ chances of lifting themselves well above their expected finishing position. With Katie Godden in solid form of late, could we see the Australian Under 23 representative chip in with a goal or assist for a winner this weekend?

Finally, it appears Renée Pountney and Creighton have drawn the short straw on opening weekend as they host Connecticut before travelling to overwhelming conference favourites Georgetown. However, the Bluejays remain undefeated following non-conference play with a 4-0-4 record, and that is something that no other team in the Big East can say at this stage. Although they are tipped to finish just seventh in the 11-team league, could the team from Omaha be ready to completely tear up the form guide? A solid showing this weekend against two of the league’s heavy hitters would go a long way to doing so.

Full Schedule

(All Times AEST)

Alabama State (Madison Chambers, Grace Norbury)

This week: @ Texas Southern – 10am, Saturday September 24; @ Prairie View A&M – 4am, Monday September 26

Butler (Claire Farrington)

This week: v Xavier – 9am, Friday September 23; v Marquette – 3am, Monday September 26

Coastal Carolina (Asha McClurg)

This week: @ Appalachian State – 8am, Friday September 23; v Georgia State – 2am, Monday September 26

Creighton (Renée Pountney)

This week: v Connecticut – 9:30am, Friday September 23; @ Georgetown – 3am, Monday September 26

Denver (Isabella Chidiac)

This week: v North Dakota State – 11am, Saturday September 24; v North Dakota – 4am, Monday September 26

DePaul (Katie Godden)

This week: v Marquette – 7am, Friday September 23; @ Xavier – 3am, Monday September 26

Hawai’i (Eliza Ammendolia)

This week: @ UC Santa Barbara – 12pm, Friday September 23; @ Cal Poly – 5am, Monday September 26

Kent State (Lua Suero)

This week: v Ohio – 9am, Friday September 23; @ Akron – 3am, Monday September 26

La Salle (Courtney Butlion)

This week: v George Washington – 8am, Friday September 23; @ VCU – 4am, Monday September 26

Long Beach State (Aimee Medwin)

This week: v Cal State Bakersfield – 11am, Friday September 23

Long Island (Isabella Stein)

This week: @ Stonehill – 5am, Friday September 23

Louisiana (Emma Bates)

This week: v South Alabama – 4am, Monday September 26

Louisiana Tech (Caitlin Le Roux)

This week: @ Charlotte – 9am, Friday September 23; v Rice – 4am, Monday September 26

Massachusetts (Hannah Peric)

This week: @ Saint Joseph’s – 9am, Friday September 23; v Dayton – 2am, Monday September 26

Oral Roberts (Layla Lopez)

This week: @ Western Illinois – 6am, Saturday September 24

Oregon (Lara Kirkby, Isabel Rolley)

This week: v Washington – 12pm, Saturday September 24

Rider (Eloise Jones)

This week: v Saint Peter’s – 9am, Sunday September 25

Sam Houston State (Cameron Barreiro)

This week: @ Stephen F. Austin – 10am, Saturday September 24; @ UTRGV – 3am, Monday September 26

San Francisco (Ashley Jordan)

This week: @ Santa Clara – 12pm, Friday September 23

Santa Clara (Holly Furphy)

This week: v San Francisco – 12pm, Friday September 23; @ Pacific – 6am, Monday September 26

Seton Hall (Grace Mitchell, Sarah Mitchell)

This week: v Providence – 8am, Friday September 23; v Villanova – 3am, Monday September 26

Siena (Iona Snape)

This week: @ Albany – 9am, Friday September 23

Southern Illinois (Chantelle Symes)

This week: @ Belmont – 4am, Monday September 26

St. Francis Brooklyn (Chloe Walker)

This week: @ Fairleigh Dickinson – 2am, Monday September 26

Stanford (Amy Sayer)

This week: @ USC – 7am, Saturday September 24

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Molly Arens)

This week: v Nicholls State – 10am, Saturday September 24

UAB (Abbey Burns)

This week: @ Florida International – 9am, Friday September 23; v Florida Atlantic – 3am, Monday September 26

UMBC (Isobel Davy, Annaliese Grove)

This week: v Maine – 2am, Monday September 26

UNC Asheville (Jasmine Barry)

This week: v Gardner-Webb – 5:30am, Sunday September 25

USC (Talia Grossman)

This week: v Stanford – 7am, Saturday September 24

UTRGV (Dani Rutstein, Caitlin Webster)

This week: v New Mexico State – 9:30am, Saturday September 24

VCU (Greta Kraszula)

This week: v St. Bonaventure – 9am, Friday September 23; v La Salle – 4am, Monday September 26

About Lachy 343 Articles
Founder of College Matildas. An Australian women's football fan who also happens to be a college sports fan. Often found at A-League Women or NPLW games.

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