2018 End Of Season Wrap

(Featured Image Credit: University of Wyoming Media Relations)

As was the case in 2017, we saw 30 Australians take to the pitch in NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer this season. Although the season didn’t end with a national champion for the first time in three years, there was still no shortage of players enjoying outstanding campaigns in a thoroughly entertaining 2018, with both familiar faces and new stars putting on a show.

(33 Australians were on rosters at the end of the season. However, Caitlin Cantrill, Laura Farrelly, and Grace Watson-Carr did not feature this season and as such are not featured below.) 

Indianna Asimus (Wyoming)
Team Record:
12-4-4 (Mountain West Conference Semi-Finals)
Stats: 20 games, 9 starts, 0 goals, 0 assists

Indianna Asimus enjoyed a solid first college season. (Photo Credit: University of Wyoming Media Relations)

Indianna Asimus may have been the lesser used of the four Australians on the Wyoming roster, but nonetheless the freshman had enough of an impact for the Cowgirls to suggest that her playing time will increase going forward. Asimus started each of the final five games of the season, and although the freshman didn’t manage a goal, she did rattle off seven shots in the final two games. That alone is evidence in itself that Asimus found herself in good positions, which will serve her well over the next three seasons, particularly as she looks to snag one of the positions left by the six graduating seniors from the 2017 team.

Gaby Bentley (Old Dominion)
Team Record:
8-7-4 (Conference USA Quarter-Finals)
Stats: 14 games, 2 goals, 0 assists

An impact player off the bench for much of the season, Gaby Bentley may not have started every game but gave just as much as many of the starters for an Old Dominion side that once again found itself in the Conference USA Tournament before being knocked out in the quarter-finals for the third consecutive season. Although her general play was solid throughout the season, Bentley also doubled her scoring output from last season, tallying two goals for the season. With a number of midfielders graduating after the 2018 season, Bentley may just find herself in the starting lineup on a more regular basis in her senior year. 

Lorena Bugden (William & Mary)
Team Record:
6-10-1
Stats: 5 games, 1 start, 0 goals, 0 assists

Having spent her first season at William & Mary recovering from injury, new issues plagued Lorena Bugden in her sophomore year with the Tribe, culminating in just five appearances in a tough season on both a personal level and for the team. Under a new coach for the 2018 campaign, Bugden earned a start in one of her appearances, but the injury problems curtailed what could have been a promising season that may have set the sophomore up for the next couple of seasons at William & Mary. As it is, Bugden will have to hit the ground running in 2019 in order to put together the kind of season she is capable of producing.

Jodie Burchell (Towson)
Team Record:
4-12-3
Stats: 14 games, 7 starts, 1 goal, 0 assists

Freshman Jodie Burchell took a while to establish herself in the Towson side, but once she did, she latched onto her spot and eventually entrenched herself as a member of the starting lineup. Despite playing just 14 games, all of Burchell’s seven starts came in the last eight games of the season. Although the freshman came up with only a single goal in her 485 minutes on the pitch, Burchell was able to fashion chances on occasion, finishing with 10 shots for the season in a solid first campaign in college soccer.

Tessa Calabria (Nicholls State)
Team Record:
3-15-0
Stats: 6 games, 1 start, 0 goals, 1 assist

Although it was a disappointing season for Nicholls State, things began promisingly for Tessa Calabria, starting her first game and playing more than hour in two of her first three appearances before picking up an assist against Alcorn State in the first game of September. However, that would be the last time the junior college transfer would feature in 2018, as injury reared its ugly head and forced the South Australian out for the remainder of the season. However, Calabria will return next season and the Colonels could certainly use her presence as despite scoring 17 goals, 7 of those came from senior Francesca Curteis, and that production will need to be replaced if the team is to improve on this season’s three wins.

Sarah Clark (Chicago State)
Team Record:
0-16-1
Stats: 8 games, 4 starts, 0 goals, 0 assists

Sarah Clark’s first season in Division I after two successful seasons at Lassen Community College looked promising as the Queenslander made four starts in her first eight appearances for the struggling Cougars. However, Clark’s season ended prematurely after those eight appearances, which spelled trouble for a Chicago State side that could have used all the help it could get as a winless streak dating back to August 2018 continued throughout the season, reaching 33 games.

Annika Clayton (Wyoming)
Team Record:
12-4-4 (Mountain West Conference Semi-Finals)
Stats: 20 games, 20 starts, 4 goals, 2 assists 

Wyoming needed a leader in midfield following Alisha Bass’s graduation after the 2017 season, and Annika Clayton stepped up to fill the void left by her fellow Australian superbly. Four goals and two assists certainly comprised a tidy return for the midfielder, but statistics alone do not paint the picture of Clayton’s importance to her team. Whether pulling the strings in midfield with her passing or making a marauding run forward, the midfielder’s ability to impact the game in a number of ways was vital to the Cowgirls securing a share of the Mountain West Conference regular season title and finishing with 12 wins and 4 draws in their 20 games. Clayton also received a Mountain West All-Conference Second Team nomination for her performances throughout the season, just reward for an outstanding campaign.

Kiri Dale (Hawaii)
Team Record:
9-6-1
Stats: 16 games, 12 starts, 0 goals, 2 assists

Kiri Dale enjoyed another solid season for Hawaii, settling into a position in the starting lineup for the majority of the campaign. The Rainbow Wahine narrowly missed out on their first conference tournament berth, but nonetheless even being in contention represented a vast improvement on their dismal league finishes since moving to the Big West in 2012. Dale finished the season with three complete-game performances in among several other high-minute games, tallying a pair of assists for the season as well as 9 shots in her second season at Hawaii but her first with fellow Australian and College Matildas legend Rachael Doyle as part of the coaching staff.

Isobel Dalton (Colorado)
Team Record:
13-4-3
Stats: 12 games, 0 starts, 0 goals, 1 assist

As has been the case for the majority of Isobel Dalton’s time at Colorado, the senior midfielder found herself just outside the regular rotation of players throughout the season, limiting both her appearances and playing time. However, despite a lack of opportunities, Dalton was still able to exhibit her class in midfield and come up with the occasional memorable moment, including a scintillating pass that split the Oregon State defence for the final assist of the senior’s college career. Having played in both the W-League and the English Women’s Super League before heading to college, Dalton’s next move will be one to watch if the former Brisbane Roar player does choose to extend her footballing career.

Lauren Featherstone (North Dakota State)
Team Record:
9-7-0 (Summit League Semi-Finals)
Stats: 10 games, 2 starts, 0 goals, 0 assists

Seeking a fresh start at North Dakota State after redshirting her only season at Central Connecticut State in 2017, Lauren Featherstone had what could only be termed as a frustrating year as injury conspired to limit the redshirt freshman to just 10 games. When she actually got the chance to play, Featherstone looked at home for North Dakota State, earning two starts before enduring a three-week break midway through the season and eventually being limited to mere minutes on the pitch by the end of the campaign. However, if Featherstone can overcome her injury problems, the Macarthur Rams product can certainly become an integral part of the North Dakota State lineup going forward.

Jessie Gentle (Wyoming)
Team Record: 12-4-4 (Mountain West Conference Semi-Finals)
Stats: 20 games, 20 starts, 1 goal, 3 assists

Alongside classmate and fellow Aussie Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle has been an integral member of the Wyoming lineup for much of her time in Laramie, and nothing about that changed in 2018 as the senior terrorised opposing wide players both in attack and defence. Like Clayton, Gentle started every game for the Cowgirls in 2018 as the experienced Wyoming side put together the first 12-win season in program history whilst also securing a share of the Mountain West Conference regular season title. A dynamic combination of athleticism and skill led a number of outstanding performances for Wyoming, culminating in a career-high three assists for the season and a second goal of the senior’s career, which came alongside an assist in a 3-1 win over Colorado College.

Beattie Goad (Stanford)
Team Record:
21-1-1 (Pac-12 Champions, NCAA College Cup Semi-Finals)
Stats: 24 games, 9 starts, 2 goals, 3 assists

Beattie Goad has become an integral part of the Stanford side. (Photo Credit: Stanford Athletics)

Beattie Goad has seen decent playing time throughout her time at Stanford during what could only be termed as a golden era for the program, but this season saw the junior’s impact on the side become far more significant. Starting the first five games of the season as injuries opened up a spot, Goad started 9 of her 24 appearances and finished with multiple goals and assists in a season for the first time in her career. Whilst Stanford may have fallen short of repeating as champions after a 2-0 loss to eventual champions Florida State in the College Cup semi-finals, Goad’s season could only be termed as a successful one as she proved herself to be an integral part of one of the best teams in college soccer.

Tenille Harberger (Nicholls State)
Team Record:
3-15-0
Stats: 3 games, 0 starts, 0 goals, 0 assists

Having redshirted her first year at Nicholls State in 2017, Tenille Harberger finally saw her first playing time for the Colonels this year, seeing limited playing time in three games in what was a tough season in general for the team. The midfielder from Mackay was afforded just 21 minutes of playing time in those three appearances, and will no doubt be hoping to increase that playing time in her junior year in 2019 as Nicholls State look to improve on their three wins this season.

Emma Heckenberg (Drexel)
Team Record:
7-7-5 (CAA Quarter-Finals)
Stats: 18 games, 16 starts, 0 goals, 4 assists

Rarely has a player appeared more willing to do whatever is required to get her team a win than Emma Heckenberg, and that has served the senior well. Heckenberg saw 16 starts in her final year of college soccer, the most of any of her four years at Drexel. Ready and willing to slot in wherever required, Heckenberg carved out a spot as a vital member of the backline with a handy ability to deliver a set-piece, much like Monique Iannella at Hofstra. That set-piece ability delivered four assists, with two of those coming in a 2-1 over St. Joseph’s and another on the game-winner in a victory over Charleston. Whilst Heckenberg was never a player that received massive plaudits, replacing a player of her ilk will prove no small task for Drexel in 2019. 

Kristy Helmers (Nicholls State)
Team Record:
3-15-0
Stats: 18 games, 4 starts, 2 goals, 1 assist

After a solid first couple of seasons that saw Kristy Helmers regularly start for Nicholls State, 2018 saw the Canberra product come off the bench in the vast majority of her appearances in a side that struggled for goals for much of the season. Helmers started just four games and rarely played more than half a game, resulting in a diminished return of just two goals after scoring three in 2017 and six in her freshman year of 2016. However, those two goals were good enough for second-highest on a Nicholls State team that scored just 17 and saw 7 of those come from one player. 

Sandra Hill (Grand Canyon)
Team Record:
6-13-2 (WAC Quarter-Finals)
Stats: 15 games, 9 starts, 1 goal, 0 assists

Fresh off making her debut with the Cambodian national team during the off-season, Sandra Hill returned to Grand Canyon for her sophomore year and made a similar impact to what she had done in 2017. Hill certainly looks to have benefitted from having a year under her belt, looking far more composed on the pitch in 2018, and also managed to pick up her first collegiate goal with an absolute worldie in her side’s WAC Tournament quarter-final loss to Utah Valley. After starting 9 of her 15 games in 2018, Hill will no doubt be hoping to ensure that both of those numbers sit closer to 20 in her junior season, and if her development continues, there is no reason that can’t happen. 

Isabel Hodgson (East Tennessee State)
Team Record:
8-12-0 (Southern Conference Semi-Finals)
Stats: 20 games, 19 starts, 4 goals, 1 assist

Isabel Hodgson will be tough to replace for ETSU. (Photo Credit: Dakota Hamilton/ETSU Athletics)

A star of the East Tennessee State side from the moment she stepped on the field in Johnson City, Isabel Hodgson once again enjoyed an outstanding season, finishing the 2018 season as the program’s record holder for total appearances. Despite playing a defensive role for the Buccaneers, Hodgson was still able to tally 4 goals and 2 assists, her best return since the 2016 campaign in which the South Australian was utilised in an attacking position, to help her team to a Southern Conference semi-final berth as East Tennessee State atoned for a poor non-conference season by finishing third in the league table. Hodgson has already made her next career move, signing with Adelaide United for the remainder of the W-League season, joining other Australian former college players Laura Johns, Dylan Holmes, and Kahlia Hogg.

Monique Iannella (Hofstra)
Team Record: 16-6-1 (CAA Champions, NCAA Tournament Second Round)
Stats: 23 games, 21 starts, 1 goal, 5 assists

The only thing more lethal than Monique Iannella’s defensive presence is her ability to whip in a pinpoint ball from a corner, and the senior demonstrated both with aplomb to help lead Hofstra to a second consecutive CAA title and another NCAA Tournament appearance. In a side teeming with international players, Iannella was just one of many imports playing a vital role as the Pride rolled through the CAA Tournament before demolishing Boston College in an upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Interestingly, although Iannella’s ability from a corner is renowned, the majority of her assists came in other ways, proving her versatility as a player. Three of these came in one game against Towson, all of which came from open play as the former Melbourne City followed up 2017’s six assists with five more in her senior year. 

Claudia Jenkins (La Salle)
Team Record:
8-8-1
Stats: 17 games, 17 starts, 5 clean sheets, 1.248 GAA, 0.788 save percentage 

Claudia Jenkins has been La Salle’s saviour on many occasions. (Photo Credit: Greg Carroccio / Sideline Photos)

After spending the 2017 as backup to senior Larisa Zambelli, Claudia Jenkins made the goalkeeper position her own in 2018, proving to be a more-than-reliable option between the sticks for La Salle. Jenkins’ save percentage and goals against average numbers put her in the top half of goalkeepers in the nation, but those numbers could have been far better if not for an early-season flurry of penalties and own goals that at times left the sophomore on a hiding to nothing. Forced to make almost five saves per game, Jenkins stood tall in a tough season for La Salle, who came back to the pack in a massive way after winning the conference title last season as the Explorers looked to replace three defensive starters who had graduated after the 2017 season. 

Demi Koulizakis (Texas Tech)
Team Record: 14-5-3
Stats: 21 games, 2 starts, 1 goal, 0 assists

Demi Koulizakis made her first starts since 2016 this season as the junior’s vast improvement became impossible to ignore after a slightly down season in 2017. Koulizakis’ minutes fluctuated wildly throughout the season, but demonstrated her class with a technically sublime finish in the team’s 6-0 win over Florida International, the junior’s only goal for the season. Impressively, the junior played 100 minutes in the Red Raiders’ shootout loss to Virginia in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and the fact that Koulizakis has forced her way into increased playing time in a team that is performing just as well as in previous seasons may be the most promising outcome of all from this campaign.

Ashleigh Lefevre (Illinois)
Team Record: 11-8-1
Stats: 15 games, 0 starts, 0 goals, 1 assist

Cameos off the bench were the order of the season for Ashleigh Lefevre, who made 15 appearances for Illinois in her freshman year, but never saw more than 40 minutes of playing time in any one game. Often used at the back end of the first half to give starters an extended halftime break, Lefevre nevertheless managed to maintain a spot in the rotation, and was able to make her first tangible mark on a game with her first career assist in the Illini’s 5-0 win over SIU Edwardsville early in the season. Having been afforded limited opportunities in her freshman year, Lefevre will no doubt be hoping to build on that going forward to become an integral member of the Illinois starting lineup in 2019. 

Teagan Micah (UCLA)
Team Record: 17-3-2 (NCAA Tournament Semi-Finals)
Stats: 17 games, 14 starts, 8 clean sheets, 0.745 GAA, 0.789 save percentage

Teagan Micah was a vital cog in the UCLA side. (Photo Credit: Rand Bleimeister/UCLA)

Firmly established as one of the nation’s top goalkeepers, Teagan Micah came up in a massive way for UCLA on a number of occasions this season as the Bruins followed up last year’s national title game appearance with a run to the quarter-finals. Playing behind the Bruins’ outstanding defence meant Micah didn’t always have a ton of work to do, but regularly stepped up when called upon. This was most evident in the crosstown derby against USC, in which the junior made 8 saves in the Bruins’ overtime victory, including an acrobatic tip over the bar with just two seconds to play on a shot that would have otherwise won USC the game at the last possible moment. A concussion midway through the season may have kept Micah out for a few games midway through the season, but nonetheless it was another outstanding campaign for one of the top Australian players in college.

Shelby Milton (Saint Francis)
Team Record: 8-9-3 (Northeast Conference Runner-Up)
Stats: 7 games, 1 start, 0 goals, 0 assists

Once again it was an impressive year for Saint Francis, but also one that saw Shelby Milton receive but limited opportunities for the Red Flash in her final campaign with the team. Despite starting against Duquesne early in the season, even that game saw the defender play only 17 minutes as not one of Milton’s seven appearances saw her play more than 37 minutes. It was the same story that had panned out in each of Milton’s previous seasons at St. Francis, who started games in all three of her seasons with the team but never played more than eight games in any one campaign. 

Freyja Murray (Akron)
Team Record:
8-10-2 (MAC Quarter-Finals)
Stats: 3 games, 0 starts, 0 goals, 0 assists

It was a frustrating season in terms of playing time for Akron freshman Freyja Murray, who saw playing time in three early-season games, totalling just 64 minutes of action in her first year with the Zips as those three games turned out to be her only appearances in her freshman year. Unfortunately, it looks as though 2018 may be Murray’s only season with the side, with social media posts suggesting the former Northern Tigers defender may be leaving the program.

Caitlin Pickett (Wyoming)
Team Record: 12-4-4 (Mountain West Conference Semi-Finals)
Stats: 20 games, 19 starts, 2 goals, 1 assist

Caitlin Pickett came up big in a couple of overtime thrillers. (Photo Credit: University of Wyoming Media Relations)

Caitlin Pickett started her college career in whirlwind fashion, coming off the bench to score an overtime winner in just her second game against Utah Valley. Although that goal comprised half of the freshman’s season tally, the other goal Pickett scored was even more thrilling, coming 16 seconds from the end of overtime in a vital win over Utah State that helped Wyoming on the way to a share of the Mountain West Conference regular season title. Impressively, Pickett started 19 games in her first college season, appearing at home in the Wyoming lineup, and looks set to form an integral part of the Wyoming attack alongside fellow Australian and classmate Indianna Asimus.

Sam Roff (Fairleigh Dickinson)
Team Record:
6-10-3 (Northeast Conference Semi-Finals)
Stats: 19 games, 18 starts, 0 goals, 0 assists

Sam Roff’s stat line may look as bare as Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard, but offensive output has never been the junior’s job as a member of the Fairleigh Dickinson backline. The Knights finished in the top four in their conference for both shutout percentage and goals against average, testament to Roff and her defensive teammates’ strength as a unit. Although Fairleigh Dickinson fell in the NEC semi-finals, Roff’s work this season did not go unnoticed as the junior picked up a second consecutive All-Conference First Team selection to solidify her place as one of the top defenders in the league.

Kate Swartwout (Western Carolina)
Team Record:
8-8-2 (Southern Conference Quarter-Finals)
Stats: 16 games, 3 starts, 1 goal, 1 assist

Kate Swartwout showed plenty of scoring ability before making her way to Western Carolina, and those attacking instincts showed this season as the junior picked up the first goal of her college career in the Catamounts’ 2-1 loss to Chattanooga in October. Whilst starts were once again not forthcoming for Swartwout, the versatile junior retained a role as an impact player off the bench, appearing in 16 games in a middling season for the Catamounts that saw the team reach the conference tournament but fail to pick up a win, falling to Furman in the quarter-finals. With seven seniors on the roster this season, there will certainly be chances for Swartwout to become a regular starter in 2019 as she looks to end her college career with a flourish.

Claire Urquhart (Albany)
Team Record: 14-7-2 (America East Champions, NCAA Tournament First Round)
Stats: 7 games, 0 starts, 0 goals, 0 assists

After starting 8 games in 2017, 2018 saw a drop in Claire Urquhart’s playing time in her senior year, with just seven appearances and no starts forthcoming in the Queenslander’s final season in Albany. Urquhart did enjoy a third trip to the NCAA Tournament in four years, but unfortunately did not receive any playing time in the Great Danes’ 5-1 loss to South Florida in the opening round, rounding out a career in which she had been seemingly vastly underutilised throughout.

Alyssa Van Heurck (La Salle)
Team Record:
8-8-1
Stats: 17 games, 6 starts, 1 goal, 0 assists

Alyssa Van Heurck made the most of a positional switch. (Photo Credit: Greg Carroccio/Sideline Photos)

Known more as a fullback in her time prior to college, Alyssa Van Heurck found herself pushed up the pitch into an attacking wide role, and made the most of the switch to tally 17 appearances in her freshman year. Although the Western Australian started just six of those games, Van Heurck could regularly be called upon to provide a spark off the bench, tallying her first college goal in a 24-minute stint against UMBC in just her second college game and rattling off 3 shots in just 22 minutes against St. Bonaventure later in the season as her emergence as an integral part of the rotation became apparent.

College Matildas End Of Season Awards

Player Of The NCAA Tournament: Teagan Micah (UCLA)
Freshman Of The Year: Caitlin Pickett (Wyoming)
Sophomore Of The Year: Claudia Jenkins (La Salle)
Junior Of The Year: Beattie Goad (Stanford)
Senior Of The Year: Annika Clayton (Wyoming)
Goalkeeper Of The Year: Claudia Jenkins (La Salle) and Teagan Micah (UCLA)
Defender Of The Year: Monique Iannella (Hofstra)
Midfielder Of The Year: Annika Clayton (Wyoming)
Forward Of The Year: Caitlin Pickett (Wyoming)
Breakout Player Of The Year: Claudia Jenkins (La Salle)
Most Consistent Player: Annika Clayton (Wyoming)
Top Goalscorer: Annika Clayton (Wyoming) and Isabel Hodgson (ETSU) – 4 Goals
Most Assists: Monique Iannella (Hofstra) – 5 Assists
2018 College Matildas Player Of The Year: Annika Clayton (Wyoming)

2017 Season Wrap

34 Australians featured on rosters of NCAA Division I programs this season, with 30 of those getting onto the pitch at some point. Some were stars, some were regular starters, and some played roles as impact players off the bench, but all were fascinating to follow throughout the year. In this article, we take a short look at each player’s season.

(Lorena Bugden, Julia De Angelis, Lauren Featherstone, and Tenille Harberger did not feature this season, and as such are not included below.)

Alisha Bass (Wyoming)
Team Record: 8-9-2
Stats: 19 games, 19 starts, 6 goals, 3 assists

Photo Credit: University of Wyoming

A leader for Wyoming from the minute she stepped on the pitch in 2014, Alisha Bass rounded out her college career with yet another outstanding season. Having played just about everywhere except between the sticks in the previous three years, Bass capitalised on the chance to play in her favoured midfield role, tallying six goals for the season, eclipsing the five she tallied in her freshman year. The senior also tallied three assists as her vision and passing ability shone through in spades once again. Unfortunately, the Cowgirls couldn’t quite recover from some personnel losses and injuries throughout the season, narrowly missing the conference tournament for the first and only time in Bass’s career.

Gaby Bentley (Old Dominion)
Team Record: 9-5-4 (Conference USA Tournament Quarter-Finals)
Stats: 17 games, 6 starts, 1 goal

Having featured in just two games in 2016, it was certainly heartening to see Gaby Bentley feature in 17 of Old Dominion’s 18 games this season, and start six times. The midfielder was also able to pick up a goal early in the season, tallying the Monarchs’ single goal in a 3-1 loss to VCU. Draws in conference play perhaps cost Old Dominion a higher spot in the Conference USA standings, and eventually they would fall to Louisiana Tech in the 4th-5th matchup in the conference tournament. With her trajectory clearly on the up, it will be hoped that Bentley can secure a regular starting berth in 2018.

Caitlin Cantrill (LSU)
Team Record: 8-9-2
Stats: 19 games, 19 starts, 6 goals, 3 assists

After enjoying a reasonably solid freshman season in 2016, Caitlin Cantrill unfortunately found playing time hard to come by in 2017, featuring in just three games as LSU missed the SEC Tournament. Without speculating as to the reasons, it is certainly hoped that the Canberra product can garner more minutes in 2018 as she becomes one of the more senior players in the team in a squad that featured 16 freshmen this season.

Annika Clayton (Wyoming)
Team Record: 8-7-3
Stats: 3 games, 0 starts

Now in her junior year, Annika Clayton once again suffered through injury issues which held her out of the early stages of the season, but played the last 12 games of the season without missing a beat to carve out a highly respectable season. Clayton started on six occasions, playing a commanding role in midfield, and tallied a single goal in the 3-2 loss to New Mexico on Senior Day. With fellow Australian Alisha Bass leaving a gaping hole in midfield following her graduation, Clayton will be one of a number of players expected to step up in 2018 and fill the gap left by the senior.

Maddy Cornell (Southeast Missouri State)
Team Record: 8-6-4 (Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Semi-Finals)
Stats: 19 games, 17 starts, 2 goals, 1 assist

Given more opportunities to attack in 2017, Maddy Cornell enjoyed a reasonably successful senior season, tallying her first goal since 2016 in the season opening win against Evansville, and following it up with the team’s only goal in a 3-1 loss to Mississippi State later in the season. More importantly though, Cornell started 17 of the 19 games in which she featured, a vast improvement on 2017’s three starts in 18 games. Southeast Missouri State made a great run in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament to reach the semi-finals, but fell 1-0 to eventual champions Murray State in a game where the Redhawks held the usually ruthless Murray State attack to just six shots.

Kiri Dale (Hawaii)
Team Record: 6-10-1
Stats: 17 games, 11 starts, 1 assist

A transfer from Iona, Kiri Dale moved to Hawaii looking for a tougher challenge, but the sophomore still managed to play 17 games, the same amount that she played in her freshman year in New York. Dale started the season supremely, coming up with game-winning assist on an opening day overtime win over Utah Valley. Dale would go on to start in 11 of her 17 appearances, and will no doubt be expected to step up to be a leader in 2018 as the Rainbow Wahine lose seven seniors to graduation.

Isobel Dalton (Colorado)
Team Record: 12-6-4 (NCAA Tournament Round of 32)
Stats: 7 games, 0 starts

Playing just seven games in 2017, at times it seemed as if Isobel Dalton was the player one away from being part of the rotation off the bench. The junior came within a couple of inches of registering her first Division I goal after crashing a shot off the crossbar in a 6-0 win over UC Riverside, but will go into her senior year still looking to tally her opening goal. Colorado had another solid season, reaching the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to North Carolina, but the team will no doubt want to push on and reach the Sweet 16 in 2018 after several years of reaching the tournament but falling early.

Nyomi Devine (Murray State)
Team Record: 15-2-2 (OVC Champions, NCAA Tournament First Round)
Stats: 19 games, 19 starts, 1 assist

Photo Credit: Dave Winder/Murray State Athletics

A veritable wall at the back for Murray State these past four years, Nyomi Devine once again performed superbly throughout 2017 to help lead the Racers to the NCAA Tournament. The senior helped the Racers keep nine clean sheets throughout the season, but it was an attacking play that may have been Devine’s most important of the season. With the Ohio Valley Conference championship game against Eastern Kentucky finishing 0-0 after 90 minutes, the game moved into golden goal overtime, and it was Devine coming up with the assist on the game winning goal as the Racers atoned for 2016’s surprising tournament loss to win the conference title and secure their passage to the NCAA Tournament before falling to Tennessee in the first round. Devine was rewarded for her play throughout the season with a selection in the United Soccer Coaches All-South Region Third Team, a well-deserved honour following yet another outstanding season.

Olivia Ellis (Oregon State)
Team Record: 6-10-3
Stats: 6 games, 0 starts

A former Melbourne City W-League player, Olivia Ellis enjoyed some extended runs in her opening season, playing at least half a game on three occasions. However, those prolonged shifts did not translate into more appearances as the season rolled on, with the freshman featuring in just six games all season. Despite this, Ellis will return to an Oregon State side that loses seven starters to graduation, meaning positions will really open up in 2018, and with the Beavers leaning heavily on their starters last season, the slate is almost clean for both Ellis and the rest of the team coming into next season.

Priya Gakhar (Grambling State)
Team Record: 11-7-2 (SWAC Tournament Semi-Finals)
Stats: 19 games, 19 starts, 1 assist

Priya Gakhar came into a Grambling State side that in 2016 had won just one game in a rather sparsely populated 12 game schedule, but that all changed in 2017. Gakhar featured in 18 games, mostly in short cameos off the bench, and tallied an assist in a 3-3 draw with Prairie View A&M as Grambling won 11 games in a 20-game schedule more befitting a Division I team. The Tigers eventually reached the SWAC Tournament semi-finals, falling to eventual champions Alabama State in a penalty shootout. With only one season remaining in her college career, Gakhar will surely want to turn those cameos into more prolonged stints on the field in each game.

Jessie Gentle (Wyoming)
Team Record: 8-9-2
Stats: 18 games, 5 starts, 2 assists

An impact player off the bench over the last two seasons, Jessie Gentle once again performed admirably for Wyoming, playing in 18 games but starting just five. Although the junior tallied just two assists over the course of the season, Gentle’s play far surpassed what can be gleaned from the box score. Gentle unfortunately missed the final game of the season after a freak injury after colliding with a corner post in the team’s final home game, but nonetheless put together a third solid season on a personal level to set herself up for an outstanding senior year as Wyoming look to return to the Mountain West Conference tournament after narrowly missing out in 2017.

Beattie Goad (Stanford)
Team Record: 24-1 (Pac-12 Champions, NCAA Champions)
Stats: 19 games, 5 starts, 1 goal, 1 assist

Things couldn’t have gone much better for Beattie Goad and Stanford in 2017 as the Cardinal lost just one game all season as they stormed home to a national championship after a 3-2 win in a blockbuster of a title game against UCLA. For Goad herself, it was a year of slotting in where required off the bench, starting in just five of her 19 appearances but featuring in a variety of positions as her versatility shone through, and picking up a goal and an assist in the course of her time on the pitch. Although Stanford will lose US national team player Andi Sullivan to graduation, the midfielder is the only regular starter from 2017 that will need to be replaced, and as such things are looking good for the Cardinal in 2018 as they look to defend their tile.

Paige Hayward (Texas Southern)
Team Record: 15-2-2 (SWAC Tournament Semi-Finals)
Stats: 16 games, 16 starts, 9 goals, 2 assists

Paige Hayward was once again the leader of Texas Southern’s front line, contributing goals regularly as the Tigers once again fell agonisingly short of reaching the NCAA Tournament following a shootout loss to eventual champions Alabama State in the SWAC tournament semi-finals. The senior finished the season with 9 goals to round out her career with 25 goals, and chipped in two assists in her final season of collegiate play as the Tigers finished the season with a solid 6-3-1 conference record before the unfortunate shootout loss.

Emma Heckenberg (Drexel)
Team Record: 11-7-1 (CAA Tournament Semi-Finals)
Stats: 13 games, 11 starts, 2 assists

After playing 19 games in 2016, Emma Heckenberg played in just 13 games this season, but with 11 of those games coming consecutively to finish the season, it was clear that once the junior found her role in the team, she excelled. Shifted between defence and midfield, those freshman days of playing up front are now well and truly behind Heckenberg as she settles into a deeper role, although the junior was able to tally two assists this year. Drexel enjoyed a solid regular season to finish second in the CAA, but unfortunately their conference tournament campaign ended in the first round at the hands of the always dangerous Northeastern.

Kristy Helmers (Nicholls State)
Team Record: 6-11-1
Stats: 18 games, 13 starts, 3 goals, 1 assist

Kristy Helmers’ goal output was slightly down this year, perhaps a function of the loss of fellow Australian Jess Coates from the midfield and the lack of the element of surprise that existed in her freshman year. However, the sophomore was still able to tally three goals and register an assist in her 18 appearances, of which 13 were starts as Nicholls State finished with six wins from 18 games. With six of 16 of the Colonels’ goals coming from seniors this year, both Helmers and the rest of the attack will have to bang home the goals with far more regularity, but Helmers has proven that if she is given the service, she can certainly put the ball in the back of the net.

Sandra Hill (Grand Canyon)
Team Record: 6-13-2 (WAC Tournament Semi-Finals)
Stats: 14 games, 0 starts, 1 assist

Photo Credit: Michael Rincon

An occasional presence for Grand Canyon in her freshman season, Sandra Hill featured in 14 games in 2017 in what was a tough season for the Lopes, who won just six of their 21 games. However, in a team with 10 freshmen on the roster, the signs are promising not only for Hill, but for the team as seven of those freshmen reached double figures for appearances. Hill also tallied a single assist, setting up one of Grand Canyon’s seven goals in a demolition of Chicago State.

Isabel Hodgson (East Tennessee State)
Team Record: 6-13
Stats: 16 games, 15 starts, 2 goals, 1 assist

It was a tough season to say the least for Isabel Hodgson and East Tennessee State, falling from a 13-6-2 season in 2016 to 6-13 in 2017. However, Hodgson continued to be an ever-present fixture in the lineup, save for one match missed with a minor ankle injury, showing herself to be one of the true leaders of the side going forward. The junior also tallied two goals and a single assist, well down on her five goals and nine assists, but the team scored just 22 in comparison to their 47 goals in 2016. However, there are still plenty of pieces there for the team to put together a winning season in 2018.

Jemma House (Wyoming)
Team Record: 8-9-2
Stats: 19 games, 11 starts

A goalscoring extraordinaire in her two years at nearby Laramie County Community College, Jemma House was used in a slightly different role out wide in her first season at Wyoming. Despite featuring in every game for Wyoming this season, it took a while for House to adapt to Division I soccer before coming into her own and eventually becoming an integral part of the Wyoming roster, starting 11 games. The junior also picked up her first two Division I goals early in the season, before adding two assists as the season rolled on. The Cowgirls will lose five starters – albeit one of those is goalkeeper Georgia Rowntree – from this season’s team in 2018, so House will no doubt be expected to be one of the team’s leaders next season.

Emily Hulbert (Hofstra)
Team Record: 15-4-2 (CAA Champions, NCAA Tournament First Round)
Stats: 18 games, 16 starts, 1 goal, 2 assists

Injuries had been a common theme throughout Emily Hulbert’s career, but 2017 saw the Hofstra senior put most of that to one side to play a commanding role in midfield throughout the season as the Pride dominated conference play, finishing with a perfect record to secure the CAA title and reach the NCAA Tournament. The former Melbourne Victory player tallied a goal and two assists for the season, but it was her work shielding the back four and launching attacks from deep that were of paramount importance as the senior featured in 18 games in her final season after injury had limited her to just nine in her junior year.

Monique Iannella (Hofstra)
Team Record: 15-4-2 (CAA Champions, NCAA Tournament First Round)
Stats: 21 games, 20 starts, 6 assists

Photo Credit: Jonathan Heisler/Hofstra Athletic Communications

Whilst Emily Hulbert was excellent in midfield for Hofstra, Monique Iannella was outstanding at right back for the Pride, both in attack and defence. Following a transfer from Texas, Iannella slotted straight into a Hofstra defence that dominated opponents throughout the season to finish with 11 clean sheets. Iannella was also a threat from set pieces, taking the majority of corners and finishing with six assists for the season, the most by any Australian in 2017. The junior also took a mind-boggling 25 corners in one game against James Madison, finishing with two assists in that game.

Claudia Jenkins (La Salle)
Team Record: 17-4-2 (A10 Champions, NCAA Tournament First Round)
Stats: 4 games, 0 starts

Despite being second in the goalkeeping pecking order behind stalwart Larissa Zambelli, Claudia Jenkins was afforded a couple of opportunities in her freshman season, experience that could prove vital as the South Australian looks to make the starting spot her own in 2018. Jenkins made four appearances in her freshman season, coming on either when the game was already secure or after Zambelli took a knock, playing 65 minutes and only being required to make two saves. Jenkins did however pick up a conference title in her freshman season as La Salle defeated VCU 1-0 in overtime in the Atlantic 10 title game.

Demi Koulizakis (Texas Tech)
Team Record: 9-7-3 (Big 12 Tournament Quarter-Finals)
Stats: 10 games, 0 starts

Having featured in 18 games in her freshman season, it was hoped that Demi Koulizakis would be able to increase her minutes in 2017, but it was not to be as the sophomore featured in just 10 games in 2017. Koulizakis was afforded just 114 minutes of playing time, hardly enough for the Sydneysider to showcase her talents as she averaged just 11 minutes of playing time. The Red Raiders finished the season 9-7-3, missing the NCAA Tournament after falling to West Virginia in the Big 12 Tournament.

Teagan Micah (UCLA)
Team Record: 19-3-3 (NCAA Runner-Up)
Stats: 25 games, 24 starts, 9 clean sheets

Photo Credit: Rand Bleimeister

A near enough to ever-present fixture in a UCLA lineup that reached the NCAA Tournament final before falling 3-2 to Stanford in a blockbuster of a game, Teagan Micah enjoyed a second consecutive outstanding season between the sticks for the Bruins. Ranking in the top 50 in the nation for goals against average and clean sheets, Micah enjoyed the help of a solid defence, but still put in a number of outstanding efforts to tally nine shutouts for the season and concede just 19 goals. The sophomore also came up with the decisive save in the NCAA College Cup semi-final shootout against Duke which allowed Marley Canales to step up and secure UCLA’s passage to the final.

Shelby Milton (St. Francis)
Team Record: 10-8-3 (NEC Champions, NCAA Tournament First Round)
Stats: 6 games, 2 starts

Shelby Milton featured in 19 games for St. Francis in 2016, but somehow her opportunities were restricted in 2017, making just six appearances for a Red Flash team that reached the NCAA Tournament after defeating Sam Roff and Fairleigh Dickinson on penalties in the Northeast Conference tournament championship game. Milton played the full 90 minutes in St. Francis’ 3-0 win over Radford, holding the Highlanders to just 3 shots all game, but that remained her only complete game appearance for the season. Fortunately, Milton has two more seasons in Pennsylvania to regain her position as an integral part of the team.

Ellie Papalexiou (Pacific)
Team Record: 5-13-2
Stats: 4 games, 0 starts

Frustrated by yet another knee injury, Ellie Papalexiou was restricted to just four appearances in her senior year after not being cleared to return until midway through the season. However, whilst on the pitch, her class was visible even when playing in an unfamiliar role in the centre of midfield, even if results weren’t always the best for a Pacific program still looking to find its feet having returned to the elite West Coast Conference in 2013 after several years in the Big West. Although she played just 28 games in her time at college due to injury, there is no doubting that Papalexiou has more than enough ability to have made a significant impact on this Pacific side, as shown in her 17 appearances in her freshman year in 2014.

Sam Roff (Fairleigh Dickinson)
Team Record: 9-8-4 (NEC Runner-Up)
Stats: 21 games, 21 starts

One of the stars of the Northeast Conference, Sam Roff was the undoubted rock at the back for Fairleigh Dickinson, earning herself an All-Conference First Team selection for her outstanding performances in defence. Whilst the sophomore wasn’t able to snag her first goal or assist, her efforts in her role as a defender were vital in Fairleigh Dickinson’s run to the Northeast Conference title game, where the Knights went down in a penalty shootout to Shelby Milton and Saint Francis after the game finished 0-0 following two periods of extra time.

Georgia Rowntree (Wyoming)
Team Record: 8-9-2
Stats: 19 games, 19 starts, 4 clean sheets

Photo Credit: University of Wyoming

A saviour at times for Wyoming, Georgia Rowntree often found herself needing to make more than her share of saves to keep the Cowgirls in games, with her save percentage of 76% far more representative of her ability than her clean sheet count of four for the season. The senior played all bar 72 minutes of the season, forming an almost ever-present force between the sticks, but unfortunately the Cowgirls couldn’t quite reach the Mountain West Conference tournament, with a final day win over rivals Colorado State not quite enough to secure a top six spot. Nonetheless, Rowntree carved out an exceptional career at Wyoming, with the Sydneysider leaving some rather large shoes to fill in Laramie.

Kate Swartwout (Western Carolina)
Team Record: 9-10-2 (Southern Conference Runner-Up)
Stats: 17 games, 6 starts, 1 assist

After making 11 starts last season, appearances in the first eleven were a little harder to come by for Kate Swartwout in 2017, featuring only six times in the starting lineup. However, Swartwout did make 17 appearances, one more than the 16 she made in 2016. Swartwout also chalked up a single assist despite being known more as a defender, setting up the equaliser in a 3-2 win over Kennesaw State. With a relatively young team that fell agonisingly short of the NCAA Tournament in 2017 following a Southern Conference championship game loss to UNC Greensboro, things are certainly looking up for both Swartwout and Western Carolina.

Claire Urquhart (Albany)
Team Record: 6-11-1
Stats: 12 games, 8 starts

After reaching the NCAA Tournament in 2016, 2017 was a bit more of a rebuilding year for Albany, who finished with a 6-11-1 record, but for Claire Urquhart, it represented a vastly increased opportunity to play under new coach Nick Bochette. After featuring in just seven games across her first two seasons, the junior started in 8 of her 12 appearances, ably filling a defensive role at various times throughout the season.

Harriet Withers (Murray State)
Team Record: 15-2-2 (OVC Champions, NCAA Tournament First Round)
Stats: 19 games, 19 starts, 12 goals, 2 assists

Photo Credit: Dave Winder/Murray State Athletics

As has been the case throughout Harriet Withers’ career, the senior once again banged home goals seemingly for fun at times as Murray State reached the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years before falling 2-0 to Tennessee in the first round. Withers tallied 12 goals in 2017, good enough for 30th in the nation, whilst her six game winning goals were good enough for eighth. The senior also led all players in shots on target per game, averaging nearly three per game, which represented just over half of her total shots. Withers was also named to the United Soccer Coaches All-South Region First Team following yet another outstanding season, as well as picking up the #1 spot in Top Drawer Soccer’s Ohio Valley Conference Top 20 players.

End Of Season Awards:

Freshman of the Year: Sandra Hill (Grand Canyon)
Sophomore of the Year: Teagan Micah (UCLA) and Kristy Helmers (Nicholls State)
Junior of the Year: Monique Iannella (Hofstra)
Senior of the Year: Harriet Withers (Murray State)
Goalkeeper of the Year: Georgia Rowntree (Wyoming)
Defender of the Year: Monique Iannella (Hofstra)
Midfielder of the Year: Alisha Bass (Wyoming)
Forward of the Year: Harriet Withers (Murray State)
Breakout Player of the Year: Monique Iannella (Hofstra)
Most Consistent Player: Monique Iannella (Hofstra)
Top Goalscorer: Harriet Withers (Murray State)
Most Assists: Monique Iannella (Hofstra)
2017 College Matildas Player of the Year: Harriet Withers (Murray State)