2023 Week 5 Preview

The odd team may have a non-conference game or two left to play, but for the most part, conference season kicks off in earnest this Friday. A number of Aussies are expected to play major roles, with Pacific’s Libby Davy and Little Rock’s quartet hoping to get their teams off to a solid start.

Greta Kraszula and VCU ran Stanford reasonably close last week in a 2-1 defeat, and whilst they didn’t get the result, the Rams have every reason to be buoyed by the final scoreline as they head into conference play. Although non-conference play left VCU with a 1-4-2 record, they played one of the toughest schedules in the nation, so that record is not only deceiving, it also fails to show how battle-tested this Rams team will be. Conversely, local rivals and upcoming opponents Richmond played a far easier non-conference schedule but only sit at 2-3-3. Meanwhile, the Rams’ other opponent this weekend, George Mason, sit at 0-8 against a schedule that included some difficult opponents but certainly wasn’t as difficult as VCU’s. In an Atlantic 10 that shapes to be cut-throat at the top, if Kraszula and her teammates want to finish atop the pile come the end of October (and it is a distinct possibility), it will start with getting a pair of wins in these two games against a pair of teams picked to finish in the bottom six of the 15-team league.

Little Rock’s Aussies have each played significant roles so far this season, helping the Trojans to a 2-1-4 record as they head into their final non-conference game before kicking off their Ohio Valley Conference schedule against Natasha Tanner and Morehead State later in the week. Louisiana Tech won’t be an easy opponent, but Little Rock picked up a couple of confidence-boosting wins last week (not to mention a combined three goals from Emily Jensen and Bronte Peel) whilst their opponents fell to a 6-2 defeat to Mississippi. A win in this one would be an ideal way to lead into league play, particularly as they start with a tough matchup. Western Australian freshman Natasha Tanner and her Morehead State team are tipped to finish third in the league this year, with Little Rock not far behind, picked to finish fifth. Even this early in the conference schedule, dropped points are almost unforgivable for teams looking to challenge for honours, so this should be a cracking matchup, particularly for Aussie fans as Candice Kilderry, Cameron Barreiro, Emily Jensen, and Bronte Peel have all been integral parts of the Little Rock side to this point.

Libby Davy has starred for Pacific between the sticks so far this season, and this week gives the freshman another couple of chances to help build on the Tigers’ 5-2-1 record. Whilst they won’t be overlooking the game against Mountain West side Fresno State, of particular interest is the match against Cal Poly later in the week. The Mustangs sit at 1-3-2, which on the face of it isn’t a remarkable record. However, they ran defending national champions UCLA close in a 2-1 loss, and held nationally ranked Santa Clara to a 1-1 draw. Their record may not show it, but Cal Poly could well be a testing opponent for Davy and the Tigers as they look to build towards West Coast Conference play. Pacific were picked seventh in the nine-team league, but as always, the WCC is an elite league and no game will be easy, even for the top teams, and the Tigers will be out to show that. First though, they have to get through this week.

Meanwhile, in the MAAC, a pair of Aussies are set to face off in a contest between two teams picked to finish in the midpack of the conference. Eloise Jones’ Rider side slotted in at fifth in the preseason poll, whilst Iona Snape and Siena were tabbed to finish eighth in the 11-team conference by the league’s coaches. To this point, the team’s records are almost identical, with Rider sitting at 1-4-2 and Siena at 2-4-1, but the latter side has played a tougher schedule in the process. However, for teams in smaller conferences that aren’t eyeing off an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, non-conference play is a way to ensure that they are ready for league play, so neither the opponent nor the record are necessarily of paramount importance. Iona Snape has been heavily involved for Siena this season, whilst we saw Eloise Jones play her first minutes in recent weeks, so hopefully we see both Aussies on the pitch In this one.

Alabama State (Madison Chambers, Grace Norbury)

This week: v Jacksonville St. – 9:00AM, Friday September 15

Bellarmine (Teagan Douglas)

This week: @ Austin Peay – 9:00AM, Friday September 15; v Lipscomb – 3:00AM, Monday September 18

Butler (Claire Farrington)

This week: v Ball St. – 9:00AM, Friday September 15

Coastal Carolina (Asha McClurg)

This week: v Old Dominion – 8:00AM, Saturday September 16

Dartmouth (Kate Ryan)

This week: v UMass Lowell – 3:00AM, Monday September 18

Denver (Isabella Chidiac)

This week: v Colorado – 11:00AM, Saturday September 16

Eastern Kentucky (Sophie MacAlpine)

This week: @ Lipscomb – 9:00AM, Friday September 15; v Austin Peay – 3:00AM, Monday September 18

Grambling State (Aimee Benton)

This week: v ULM – 10:00AM, Friday September 15

Hawaii (Eliza Ammendolia)

This week: v CSUN – 3:00PM, Friday September 15

High Point (Meg Roden)

This week: @ NC State – 9:00AM, Friday September 15

Illinois (Isabel Rolley)

This week: @ Iowa – 4:00AM, Monday September 18

La Salle (Courtney Butlion)

This week: @ Saint Louis – 4:00AM, Monday September 18

Little Rock (Cameron Barreiro, Emily Jensen, Candice Kilderry, Bronte Peel)

This week: @ Louisiana Tech – 10:00AM, Friday September 15; v Morehead St. – 2:00PM, Monday September 18

Long Island (Matilda Boyle, Isabella Stein)

This week: v Stonehill – 4:00AM, Friday September 15; @ Wagner – 3:00AM, Monday September 18

Louisiana (Emma Bates)

This week: @ Texas St. – 4:00AM, Monday September 18

Maine (Lara Kirkby)

This week: v Vermont – 5:00AM, Monday September 18

Massachusetts (Hannah Peric)

This week: v George Washington – 6:00AM, Friday September 15; @ Dayton – 3:00AM, Monday September 18

Morehead State (Natasha Tanner)

This week: v UNC Asheville – 6:00AM, Friday September 15; @ Little Rock – 2:00PM, Monday September 18

Northwestern State (Caitlin Le Roux)

This week: v Southeastern La. – 7:00AM, Monday September 18

Oral Roberts (Layla Lopez)

This week: v Tarleton St. – 10:00AM, Friday September 15

Oregon State (Katie Godden)

This week: v Montana – 5:00AM, Monday September 18

Pacific (Libby Davy)

This week: v Fresno St. – 12:00PM, Friday September 15; @ Cal Poly – 5:00AM, Monday September 18

Rider (Eloise Jones)

This week: @ Siena – 3:00AM, Sunday September 17

Santa Clara (Holly Furphy)

This week: @ Stanford – 11:00AM, Monday September 18

Siena (Iona Snape)

This week: v Rider – 3:00AM, Sunday September 17

Southern Illinois (Chantelle Symes)

This week: v UIC – 4:00AM, Monday September 18

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Molly Arens)

This week: v UTRGV – 10:00AM, Friday September 15; v Tex. A&M-Commerce – 4:00AM, Monday September 18

UAB (Abbey Burns)

This week: @ Charlotte – 9:00AM, Friday September 15

UMBC (Isobel Davy, Annaliese Grove)

This week: v Bryant – 3:00AM, Monday September 18

UNC Asheville (Jasmine Barry)

This week: @ Morehead St. – 6:00AM, Friday September 15

USC (Talia Grossman)

This week: v New Mexico St. – 8:00AM, Friday September 15

VCU (Greta Kraszula)

This week: v Richmond – 9:00AM, Friday September 15; @ George Mason – 5:00AM, Monday September 18

About Lachy 383 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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