2018 NCAA Tournament Preview

It’s time for the big one – the NCAA Tournament – and two teams featuring Aussies are among the favourites as Stanford and UCLA look to make return trips to the College Cup.

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The 2018 NCAA Tournament sees six teams featuring seven Aussies in the mix for a national title, as at-large teams Texas Tech and UCLA joined conference champions Stanford, LSU, Hofstra, and Albany in the big dance. The chips have fallen the right way for a potential rematch between Beattie Goad’s Stanford outfit and Teagan Micah’s UCLA side in the championship game after 2017’s barnburner that resulted in a 3-2 Stanford victory, with the teams again on opposite sides of the draw. Both sides will be fully expecting to at least reach the College Cup again, whilst for LSU and Texas Tech a Sweet 16 berth is certainly a realistic goal, and from there anything is possible. Hofstra and Albany face the toughest draws, but neither are without their chance to upset the applecart against some bigger teams. 

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

First Round: @ South Florida – 11am, Sunday November 11 

Live on South Florida YouTube

Claire Urquhart and Albany certainly have the toughest test of any of the six teams featuring Aussies, travelling to Tampa to face a South Florida side hellbent on making amends for a 3-0 defeat to Memphis in their conference championship game. Albany reached the NCAA Tournament courtesy of a 5-1 win in their own conference championship game, albeit in a much smaller league, but nonetheless come in on far more of a high than their opponents. South Florida will come in as heavy favourites, but there are always a few upsets in the NCAA Tournament in any sport, so don’t write the Great Danes off just yet.

Albany Team South Florida
14-6-2 Record (W-L-D) 13-3-0
96 RPI Rank 16
2.18 Goals Per Game 2.31
1.23 Goals Conceded Per Game 0.88

Hofstra (Monique Iannella, Grace Watson-Carr) 

First Round: @ Boston College – 11am, Saturday November 10

Live on ACC Network Extra (US Only)

The only other team here to play on the road first up, Hofstra certainly have a shorter trip than Albany as they travel from Long Island to Chestnut Hill to take on Boston College. The Eagles upset the odds to finish fourth in the ACC after being tabbed to finish tenth in the league in the preseason poll, a remarkable feat considering the level of play in that conference. However, Hofstra have plenty of tournament experience, both in terms of conference and national tournament games, and can hopefully use that to their advantage to come up with the upset. If Hofstra can manage to dictate the pace of the game, expect to see plenty of Monique Iannella getting up and down the flank from her fullback position, whilst her delivery from set-pieces could be another ace up Hofstra’s sleeve.

Hofstra Team Boston College
15-5-1 Record (W-L-D) 14-4-1
63 RPI Rank 25
1.67 Goals Per Game 2.26
0.95 Goals Conceded Per Game 0.63

 

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill) 

First Round: v Boston University – 6am, Monday November 12 

Live on SEC Network+ (US Only)

LSU were teetering on the bubble with four weeks left in the season, but a remarkable run to the end of the season made talk of an at-large bid moot as the Tigers rolled through the SEC Tournament to secure the conference championship on penalties against Arkansas. LSU are a team nobody will want to face in this sort of form, and more than a few title contenders will be hoping that Boston University can pull off the upset and get the Tigers out of the bracket early. It doesn’t look likely though, as although Boston University are certainly a decent team, LSU should have enough in their locker to secure a comfortable victory as they look to turn what was a decent season a month ago into one for the ages.

LSU Team Boston University
13-6-3 Record (W-L-D) 11-7-3
27 RPI Rank 90
1.50 Goals Per Game 1.24
1.05 Goals Conceded Per Game 0.90

Stanford (Beattie Goad) 

First Round: v Seattle – 2pm, Sunday November 11

Live on Stanford Live Stream

As defending champions and riding a 41-match unbeaten streak, facing Seattle in the first round should pose no significant problems for a Stanford side that has been dominant for the past two seasons. The Cardinal won their first-round match in 2017 against Utah Valley 9-1, and whilst a similar result is not exactly expected here against Seattle, a wide margin of victory would not be in the least bit surprising as they look to continue their march to back-to-back championships. Beattie Goad has been in and out of the starting lineup as an occasional member of the matchday eleven, but even off the bench has been providing outstanding play for the entirety of the season, with the junior set to see far more playing time than in the Cardinal’s run to the 2017 title.

Stanford Team Seattle
17-0-2 Record (W-L-D) 10-7-3
1 RPI Rank 152
2.68 Goals Per Game 1.75
0.47 Goals Conceded Per Game 1.15

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

First Round: v Princeton – 11am, Saturday November 10

Live on TexasTech.com

Probably the tightest match on paper of the six involving Australians, Texas Tech host Princeton in a matchup of two teams separated by just ten positions in the RPI rankings, which in a nation of 335 teams is incredibly close. This game is almost a coinflip, with Princeton finishing second in the smaller Ivy League but doing enough throughout the season to earn an at-large bid, and Texas Tech reaching the Big 12 semi-finals to round out a solid season in the high-major Big 12. Both of these teams are the kind of team that could have proven to be banana skins for bigger teams in the opening weekend, particularly Princeton, who knocked off #2 North Carolina in the Sweet 16 last year and will be hungry to make another deep run. Demi Koulizakis has been coming off the bench to provide some spark to the Texas Tech offence on occasion, and it may just come to pass that the junior provides what the Red Raiders need to get over the line in this one.

Texas Tech Team Princeton
13-5-2 Record (W-L-D) 11-3-2
34 RPI Rank 24
1.50 Goals Per Game 1.50
0.60 Goals Conceded Per Game 0.56

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

First Round: v San Jose State – 1pm, Saturday November 10 

Live on UCLA Live Stream

Like Stanford, UCLA are one of the favourites to progress deep into the tournament and as such, will be expected to dominate their game against San Jose State. San Jose State came in as Mountain West Conference champions, having won the tournament despite finishing fourth in the league, so their body of work throughout the season is perhaps not as glittering as most other teams in the tournament. UCLA, on the other hand, finished second in the Pac-12, arguably the toughest league in the country, and did so despite missing Hailie Mace and Jessie Fleming to national team duty for several matches. Teagan Micah is back to her best after a concussion scare earlier in the season, and the Bruins should be primed to make another run towards the College Cup and will be hoping to go one step better than last season’s championship game defeat to Stanford.

UCLA Team San Jose State
14-3-1 Record (W-L-D) 9-6-6
8 RPI Rank 128
2.44 Goals Per Game 0.76
0.83 Goals Conceded Per Game 0.67

2018 Week 12 Preview

15 teams featuring Australians remain standing heading into the final week of the regular season, and all have a shot of reaching the NCAA Tournament. How close each team is varies wildly, but nonetheless it looks set to be a thriller of a week.

(Featured Image Credit: University of Wyoming Media Relations)

It may be conference tournament season, but ironically enough the team with the best shot at a title won’t actually be playing in a tournament at all. That team is Beattie Goad’s Stanford outfit, whose Pac-12 conference champion is decided on league results. Coming into the final week, Stanford are tied atop the standings with USC, but have a rescheduled game against Arizona State in their pocket and as such are the only team to play two games this weekend. First up, the Cardinal take on local rivals California on the road at Berkeley, and with the Golden Bears sitting in 11th spot in the 12-team league, a win to clinch no less than a share of the title looks especially likely for a Stanford team that continues to roll on during an undefeated streak that now stretches the best part of two seasons. Stanford can then secure the title for themselves against Arizona State, where any points would be enough to make the result of USC’s game against third-placed UCLA game moot in terms of Stanford’s position.

Speaking of UCLA, Teagan Micah’s Bruins will play that game against local rivals USC at the StubHub Centre, home of the LA Galaxy, in a game that drew a crowd in excess of 10,000 last season when played on campus at UCLA. A win is the only way that UCLA can mount an unlikely challenge for the Pac-12 title, but even if Stanford’s results don’t go their way, a win against another top team will do wonders for their seeding in the NCAA Tournament.

Rounding out the Pac-12 is Isobel Dalton and Colorado, who need to get a result against Utah in their final match of the regular season to secure their own NCAA Tournament spot. As it stands, the Buffaloes are just about in, but dropping points to a Utah side that sits well below them in the RPI rankings would just about destroy any chance of Colorado holding onto that tournament spot. After a 16-game unbeaten run to start the season, making the tournament is essentially non-negotiable for the Buffaloes at this stage, but they’ll have to put in the work to get there, particularly after Utah were able to snatch a draw against USC last week.

Moving onto conference tournaments, two teams have already secured their spots in championship games in tournaments that started last weekend. Monique Iannella and Grace Watson-Carr’s Hofstra put together a pair of 1-0 wins against Delaware and Northeastern to secure their passage through to the CAA Championship game against James Madison, whilst an Albany side featuring Claire Urquhart has only Massachusetts-Lowell standing between them and a return trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Meanwhile, four other teams have made their way through to conference tournament semi-finals and find themselves two games away from capturing a conference championship and an NCAA Tournament berth. Caitlin Cantrill’s LSU side have probably done enough to secure an at-large bid regardless, but will still want to capture the SEC crown. They’ll face national title contender South Carolina, whilst in the Big 12, Demi Koulizakis and Texas Tech are in the same boat with a solid record to this point and a game against potential national #1 seed Baylor in the semi-finals not threatening to do any damage to their CV even if they were to suffer a loss.

Ashleigh Lefevre and Illinois sit right on the bubble, and facing Penn State in the Big Ten semi-finals not only gives the Illini a chance to reach the conference championship, but also really bolster their CV against a team that sits in the top 25 of the RPI rankings. Like LSU and Texas Tech, they may not need a conference title in order to reach the NCAA Tournament, but they  Isabel Hodgson and East Tennessee State, on the other hand, are in a completely different situation. Completely out of the race for an at-large bid, winning the Southern Conference championship is the only way the Buccaneers are going to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament. They’ll face #2 seed UNC Greensboro in the semi-finals, and whilst the yearly body of work suggests that ETSU come in as underdogs, they do have a win against UNC Greensboro this season under their belts.

Five more teams start their own conference tournaments this week, but we can only see a maximum of four champions from this set as Sam Roff’s Fairleigh Dickinson side and Shelby Milton’s St. Francis outfit both reached the Northeast Conference tournament. The two sides faced off in last year’s championship game, with St. Francis emerging victorious on penalties, and with one team in each of the semi-finals in 2018, there is no reason the same matchup can’t occur again in this year’s tournament.

Lauren Featherstone and North Dakota State will also start in the semi-final round in the Summit League’s four-team tournament, facing Denver in the 2 v 3 matchup. All the numbers point towards a Denver victory in this one, but North Dakota State ran the Pioneers close in their regular season contest, falling 3-2 in a barnburner of a contest.

The Australian quartet at Wyoming earned their way to the semi-finals of the Mountain West Conference tournament through their regular season performance, securing a bye as the 2nd seed in the six-team tournament. The Cowgirls will take on fellow co-champions New Mexico, who defeated Colorado College in the 3 v 6 matchup earlier in the week. With the teams tied atop the table in the regular season, this looks certain to be a tight one, but Wyoming did defeat New Mexico 3-2 in the regular season.

Sandra Hill’s Grand Canyon and Gaby Bentley’s Old Dominion have also reached the WAC and Conference USA tournaments respectively, but if they’re going to secure an unlikely conference title, it’s going to happen the hard way as both will start in the quarter-finals. Grand Canyon will face Utah Valley in their first game of the WAC Tournament, and will start as slight favourites despite playing out a 0-0 draw with the Wolverines just 10 days ago. Meanwhile, Old Dominion will face Louisiana Tech in the 4 v 5 matchup in Conference USA. This is a game in which Old Dominion will start as slight favourites, but Louisiana Tech will be confident after winning their regular season matchup 3-2 in late September.

Full Schedule:

Albany (Claire Urquhart) 

This week: v Massachusetts-Lowell – 5am, Monday November 5 (America East Conference Championship Game) 

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: v Utah – 8am, Saturday November 3 

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: v UNC Greensboro – 9:30am, Saturday November 3 (Southern Conference Tournament Semi-Final)

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: @ Central Connecticut State – 4am, Saturday November 3 (Northeast Conference Tournament Semi-Final)

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: @ Utah Valley – 8am, Thursday November 1 (WAC Tournament Quarter-Final) 

Hofstra (Monique Iannella, Grace Watson-Carr) 

This week: @ James Madison – 4am, Sunday November 4 (Colonial Athletic Association Championship Game) 

Illinois (Ashleigh Lefevre) 

This week: v Penn State – 2am, Saturday November 3 (Big Ten Conference Tournament Semi-Final) 

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill) 

This week: v South Carolina – 10am, Friday November 2 (SEC Tournament Semi-Final) 

North Dakota State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: v Denver – 10am, Friday November 2 (Summit League Tournament Semi-Final) 

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley) 

This week: v Louisiana Tech – 10am, Thursday November 1 (C-USA Tournament Quarter-Final) 

St. Francis University (Shelby Milton) 

This week: v Mount St. Mary’s – 7am, Saturday November 3 (Northeast Conference Tournament Semi-Final) 

Stanford (Beattie Goad) 

This week: @ California – 9am, Saturday November 3

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: v Baylor – 8am, Sunday November 4 (Big 12 Conference Tournament Semi-Final) 

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: v USC – 1pm, Saturday November 3 

Wyoming (Indianna Asimus, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Caitlin Pickett)

This week: v New Mexico – 10am, Friday November 2 (Mountain West Conference Tournament Semi-Final)

2018 Week 11 Preview

21 teams featuring Aussies remain in the mix for the NCAA Tournament, and with six of those teams kicking off conference tournaments this week, it’s certainly crunch time for a number of players. Meanwhile, the thrilling fight for conference tournament spots in the Northeast Conference continues with Fairleigh Dickinson and Saint Francis right in the mix coming into the final matchday.

(Featured Image Credit: Jonathan Heisler, Hofstra University)

Six conference tournaments featuring Aussies kick off this weekend, with those players set to have varying degrees of impact on their teams’ fortunes. Undoubtedly, the two tournaments to watch this week are the Southern Conference and Colonial Athletic Association tournaments, both of which feature multiple teams for whom Aussies have played integral roles in getting them this far.

In the Southern Conference, both Isabel Hodgson’s East Tennessee State side and Kate Swartwout’s Western Carolina outfit have both earned spots in the tournament, with both teams earning byes to the quarter-finals as the 3rd and 4th seeds. Hodgson and the Buccaneers will face 6th seeded Mercer in their first game, whilst Swartwout’s Catamounts side face a Furman side that is usually among the contenders but has slipped to 5th this season. Although both sides come in as the higher seeds, neither of these games will be easy and coming in to the game in top form is an absolute must if both Hodgson and Swartwout are to advance.

Meanwhile, in the Colonial, a Hofstra team featuring Monique Iannella and Grace Watson-Carr will be hoping to go back-to-back, whilst Emma Heckenberg and Drexel are looking to go a couple of steps further than last year’s semi-final defeat to Northeastern. Both Iannella and Heckenberg have played vital roles to this point, and with Hofstra and Drexel on opposite sides of the draw, don’t bet against an Aussie v Aussie final in what has been a tight conference all season.

Ashleigh Lefevre is one more player we may see a bit of this week as Illinois head into the Big Ten tournament, where they will face Wisconsin on the road in the first round. Used occasionally off the bench, how much time Lefevre sees in these crunch games remains to be seen but the freshman certainly has done a job when called upon in past games. Siena Senatore, Claire Urquhart, and Caitlin Cantrill have also reached their respective conference tournaments with Southeast Missouri State, Albany, and LSU, but given the events of the season to this point, unfortunately it is unlikely that the trio will see any playing time this week.

Shelby Milton and Saint Francis may have knocked off Sam Roff and Fairleigh Dickinson last week, but both teams remain right in the mix for spots in next week’s Northeast Conference tournament. In a league with a four-team tournament, the teams form part of a three-way tie for second place on 13 points, with fifth-placed Mount St. Mary’s two points back. Both teams have a real chance to pick up a win in this last week of league play to cement their spots in the tournament, with Fairleigh Dickinson taking on Sacred Heart and Saint Francis facing Wagner. Saint Francis are also the only team in the league to play two games this week, but that additional game comes against league leaders Central Connecticut State, who have been all but untouchable in conference play to this point.

Amazingly, the Mountain West Conference league title could be shared between four teams this season, and Aussie-laden Wyoming are one of those teams. One of three teams sitting three points behind league leaders Boise State, a win against arch-rivals Colorado State on their home patch combined with other results could see the Cowgirls snag an unexpected share of the regular season title.

Whilst the Pac-12 does not feature a conference tournament, that doesn’t mean the premier conference in the nation isn’t building to a thrilling conclusion. Isobel Dalton and Colorado may have had their slender hopes of a conference title crushed by Beattie Goad’s Stanford side with a 7-0 loss last week, but the Buffaloes remain a decent chance of picking up an NCAA Tournament berth, but they’ll have to navigate a tough path to do so. Dalton’s side face national heavyweights UCLA and USC this week, and will almost certainly have to pick up at least one result to retain their at-large hopes before facing Utah in their final game of the regular season next weekend. Meanwhile, Beattie Goad and Stanford are sitting pretty tied atop the standings with USC with a game in hand and a favourable run home. The Cardinal travel north this week to face mid-table Washington as well as Washington State, who have lost five games on the trot to all but destroy any hopes the Cougars had of reaching the NCAA Tournament after winning their first ten games. Finally, Teagan Micah and UCLA may be out of league title contention, but can still nab a national seed for the NCAA Tournament with a good finish to the season. Their game against aforementioned Colorado will be a chance to put another decent win on the board, and with Micah back to her best after her recent concussion scare and Hailie Mace and Jessie Fleming back from US and Canadian national team duties respectively, the Bruins will be heavily favoured, although Dalton and Colorado will be desperate to bounce back from last week’s loss to Stanford in what will be a crucial game for both sides for different reasons.

Full Schedule: 

Akron (Freyja Murray)

This week: @ Buffalo – 6am, Friday October 26 

Albany (Claire Urquhart) 

This week: v New Hampshire – 10am, Friday October 26 (America East Tournament 1st Round)

Chicago State (Sarah Clark)

This week: @ UMKC – 5am, Sunday October 28 

Colorado (Isobel Dalton) 

This week: v USC – 8am, Friday October 26; v UCLA – 7am, Monday October 29

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: v Charleston – 4am, Saturday October 27 (CAA Tournament First Round)

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson) 

This week: v Mercer – 4am, Monday October 29 (Southern Conference Tournament First Round) 

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: v Sacred Heart – 4am, Monday October 29

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: @ Cal State Bakersfield – 11am, Saturday October 27

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

This week: v UC Riverside – 4pm, Friday October 26; v Cal State Fullerton – 11am, Monday October 29 

Hofstra (Monique Iannella, Grace Watson-Carr)

This week: v Delaware – 4am, Saturday October 27 (CAA Tournament First Round)

Illinois (Ashleigh Lefevre) 

This week: @ Wisconsin – 4am, Monday October 29 (Big Ten Tournament First Round)

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: @ Mississippi State – 11am, Friday October 26; TBD (SEC Tournament) 

Marshall (Laura Farrelly)

This week: @ Western Kentucky – 11am, Saturday October 27

Nicholls State (Tessa Calabria, Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers) 

This week: @ Southeastern Louisiana – 11am, Saturday October 27 

North Dakota State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: @ South Dakota – 7am, Saturday October 27

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley) 

This week: v Charlotte – 10am, Saturday October 27

Southeast Missouri State (Siena Senatore) 

This week: v Belmont – 4am, Saturday October 27 (Ohio Valley Conference Tournament First Round) 

St. Francis University (Shelby Milton)

This week: v Central Connecticut State – 6am, Saturday October 27; v Wagner – 3am, Monday October 29 

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: @ Washington – 11am, Friday October 26; @ Washington State – 7am, Monday October 29

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: v Texas – 11:15am, Friday October 26

UCLA (Teagan Micah) 

This week: v Colorado – 7am, Monday October 29

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: v Furman – 10am, Sunday October 28 (Southern Conference Tournament First Round)

Wyoming (Indianna Asimus, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Caitlin Pickett)

This week: v Colorado State – 8am, Saturday October 27

2018 Week 10 Preview

We’re getting right down to crunch time now, with plenty of Aussies either fighting to secure a conference tournament berth or simply work themselves back into the hunt. The biggest matchup of the week is in a league with no postseason tournament though as Colorado take on Stanford with both teams eyeing the league crown.

Sam Roff’s Fairleigh Dickinson faced Shelby Milton’s Saint Francis side in last year’s Northeast Conference championship game, with Saint Francis emerging on penalties to take the title, and this week they meet for the first time since that thrilling match. This match sees the teams currently sitting in 2nd and 3rd behind high-flying Central Connecticut State, but with the conference tournament featuring just four teams, neither will want to drop points and potentially open themselves up to being caught by the chasing pack. Both teams are solid at the back, but Fairleigh Dickinson certainly have the edge up front, having scored 14 goals in conference play whereas Saint Francis have scored just six. Nevertheless, this should be a tight game that will do a lot to decide the makeup of the conference tournament.

Stanford v Colorado isn’t a matchup that springs to mind when talking about the Pac-12 conference title race, but Beattie Goad and Isobel Dalton face off this week with the winner moving into pole position alongside USC for the title in a league that features no postseason tournament. Colorado have racked up 17 goals in their six conference games to this point, but Stanford have conceded just two in their five wins in a perfect league slate to this point. Stanford would be favourites in this one at any venue, but on their home patch they are simply unbeatable over the last three seasons, and will no doubt come in with the utmost confidence. Don’t count Colorado out though – the Buffaloes are in this title race on merit and will certainly give things a fair shake.

Claudia Jenkins and Alyssa Van Heurck find themselves right in the mix for the final conference tournament spot in the Atlantic 10 as their La Salle side sit one point behind eighth-placed Dayton heading into the final two games of conference play. They’ll certainly have to be at their best this week though, as the Explorers face 2nd placed VCU and 4th placed George Mason in their final two league games, needing wins in both games and relying on Dayton to drop points at least once to secure that last postseason spot. Jenkins has had her hands full for much of the season, averaging almost five saves per game, and will surely face a lot of work this weekend against two of the better offences in the league. Whilst this isn’t the spot La Salle would have liked to be in at this stage, they do at least have the opportunity to sneak into the tournament, and from there, who knows what may eventuate?

Aussie-laden Hofstra may have already clinched their Colonial Athletic Association tournament berth, but for William & Mary, Drexel, and Towson, their seasons will hinge on this weekend’s results. Lorena Bugden’s William & Mary side are in the best position of the three, sitting in fifth and four points clear of elimination with just two games remaining. They will want to get things wrapped up in the first game of the weekend against seventh-placed Delaware though, as a loss there would leave Delaware within one point of them and also see the Tribe needing a result against second-placed Northeastern to secure their tournament berth. Emma Heckenberg’s Drexel outfit sit in the sixth and final tournament spot as things stand, but play Northeastern first up this weekend. Fortunately, they play bottom side Elon in their second game of the weekend, but three points may not be enough, so they will be hoping to at least sneak a draw against Northeastern. Then there’s Jodie Burchell and Towson, who need to beat UNC Wilmington and hope for a whole raft of results to go their way if they are to rise from their ninth spot in the standings.

Full Schedule:

Akron (Freyja Murray) 

This week: v Bowling Green – 10am, Friday October 19; v Toledo – 4am, Monday October 22 

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: v UMBC – 10am, Friday October 19; @ Binghamton – 4am, Monday October 22 

Chicago State (Sarah Clark)

This week: v UTRGV – 5am, Saturday October 20

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: @ California – 6am, Friday October 19; @ Stanford – 6am, Monday October 22 

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: @ Northeastern – 9am, Friday October 19; v Elon – 4am, Monday October 22 

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson) 

This week: @ Mercer – 10am, Saturday October 20; @ The Citadel – 5am, Monday October 22 

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff) 

This week: v Saint Francis – 6am, Sunday October 21 

Georgia Southern (Hannah Allen) 

This week: @ Arkansas State – 10am, Saturday October 20; @ Arkansas-Little Rock – 4am, Monday October 22

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: v New Mexico State – 1pm, Saturday October 20; v Utah Valley – 7am, Monday October 22

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

This week: @ Cal Poly – 1pm, Saturday October 20; @ UC Santa Barbara – 11am, Monday October 22 

Hofstra (Monique Iannella, Grace Watson-Carr)

This week: v Charleston – 4am, Monday October 22 

Illinois (Ashleigh Lefevre)

This week: @ Northwestern – 11am, Friday October 19; @ Nebraska – 5am, Monday October 22

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins, Alyssa Van Heurck) 

This week: v George Mason – 10am, Friday October 19; @ VCU – 4am, Monday October 22 

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: @ Tennessee – 10am, Friday October 19; v South Carolina – 4am, Monday October 22

Marshall (Laura Farrelly)

This week: v Louisiana Tech – 4am, Monday October 22

Nicholls State (Tessa Calabria, Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: @ Central Arkansas – 11am, Saturday October 20; @ Northwestern State – 5am, Monday October 22

North Dakota State (Lauren Featherstone) 

This week: v Oral Roberts – 11am, Saturday October 20; v Nebraska-Omaha – 5am, Monday October 22

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

This week: @ UTSA – 10am, Friday October 19; @ UTEP – 9am, Monday October 22

Southeast Missouri State (Siena Senatore)

This week: @ Belmont – 10:30am, Friday October 29; v Austin Peay – 6am, Monday October 22

St. Francis University (Shelby Milton) 

This week: @ Fairleigh Dickinson – 6am, Sunday October 21

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: v Utah – 11am, Friday October 19; v Colorado – 6am, Monday October 22 

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: @ TCU – 11am, Saturday October 20 

Towson (Jodie Burchell)

This week: @ UNC Wilmington – 5am, Monday October 22

UCLA (Teagan Micah) 

This week: v Oregon – 12pm, Friday October 19; v Oregon State – 6am, Monday October 22 

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout) 

This week: @ The Citadel – 4am, Saturday October 20; @ Mercer – 5am, Monday October 22

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: @ Delaware – 4am, Friday October 19; v Northeastern – 4am, Monday October 22 

Wyoming (Indianna Asimus, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Caitlin Pickett)

This week: v Nevada – 8am, Saturday October 20; v UNLV – 6am, Monday October 22

2018 Week 9 Preview

Sandra Hill and Grand Canyon need wins to keep pace with the leaders in the WAC, but Sarah Clark and Chicago State stand in their way and will be hungry for a first win of 2018. Elsewhere, Sam Roff and Isabel Hodgson look to maintain positions among the top of their respective leagues, whilst Emma Heckenberg faces both Jodie Burchell and Monique Iannella in yet more CAA Aussie v Aussie affairs.

(Featured Image Credit: Michael Rincon)

Chicago State and Grand Canyon face off this week, and whilst it may not be the most high-profile game of the season, it does feature an Aussie on either side and could prove to be a vital game in Grand Canyon’s run towards a conference tournament spot. Sarah Clark has been an occasional feature in the Chicago State lineup, and with the Cougars once again struggling through the season, time is running out to pick up their first win. They’ll need goals if they are going to get a result, and now would be the perfect time for Clark to score her first in Division I. Sandra Hill will be part of the Grand Canyon back line that will be determined to prolong Chicago State’s winless streak, particularly as they need to pick up points regularly if they are to reach the conference tournament. The WAC Tournament features six teams, and the Antelopes currently sit tied for sixth with a single win after three games. They’ll likely need at least two more wins to secure a postseason berth, so letting their most winnable game of the season slip is simply out of the question.

Once again, the CAA dishes up some Aussie v Aussie affairs as Emma Heckenberg and Drexel face two teams featuring Aussies this weekend. First up, the Dragons face Monique Iannella and Hofstra, where a win would put them just a point behind the currently fourth-placed Pride side. Drexel then round out the weekend against bottom side Towson, for whom freshman Jodie Burchell scored her first career goal in a 3-3 draw with third-placed Charleston last week. That draw showed that whilst Towson may be bottom of the pile, they can certainly match it with the conference’s top teams, so Heckenberg and her team will have to ensure that they are in top form heading to this weekend.

Isabel Hodgson and East Tennessee State have won just four games this season, but three of those have come in conference play to leave the Buccaneers sitting in a solid fourth position in the Southern Conference. However, their opponents this week could hardly be more disparate as the weekend begins by taking on a 10-2-1 UNC Greensboro side that has won all five of its league fixtures before facing a VMI team that has lost all five conference games and shipped 16 goals in the process. A win against VMI is an absolute non-negotiable for Hodgson and the Buccaneers this week, whilst a win against UNC Greensboro would do plenty to solidify their position in the conference tournament spots heading into the final week of league play.

Fairleigh Dickinson have one of the better defensive records in the Northeast Conference so far this season, with Sam Roff and her fellow backline members helping the Knights to equal third midway through league play. Having already faced two of the other teams in the top four already, Roff and the Knights this week face the bottom two teams in the conference in Wagner and LIU Brooklyn. Wagner have had enough trouble scoring without facing a defence as stingy as Fairleigh Dickinson’s, tallying just three goals all season, so expect Roff to be in lockdown mode in this game. However, LIU Brooklyn have scored as many or more goals than all bar two teams in the conference this season. This is one game where Roff will be called on to be at her outstanding best, as the Blackbirds will be ready to pounce on any opportunity, although the Fairleigh Dickinson attack should get plenty of chances of their own. With Roff known for unleashing the occasional shot, perhaps a game against the league’s leakiest defence could be her best opportunity to tally a first collegiate goal.

Full Schedule: 

Akron (Freyja Murray) 

This week: @ Ball State – 7am, Saturday October 13; @ Miami (Ohio) – 4am, Monday October 15 

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: @ Hartford – 10am, Friday October 12; v New Hampshire – 5am, Monday October 15 

Chicago State (Sarah Clark)

This week: v Grand Canyon – 5am, Saturday October 13; @ New Mexico State – 8am, Monday October 15 

Colorado (Isobel Dalton) 

This week: v Oregon – 6am, Sunday October 14 

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: v Hofstra – 9am, Friday October 12; @ Towson – 4am, Monday October 15 

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson) 

This week: v VMI – 10am, Saturday October 13; v UNC Greensboro – 5am, Monday October 15

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff) 

This week: v LIU Brooklyn – 7am, Saturday October 13; @ Wagner – 4am, Monday October 15

Georgia Southern (Hannah Allen) 

This week: v Coastal Carolina – 10am, Saturday October 13 

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: @ Chicago State – 5am, Saturday October 13; @ UMKC – 5am, Monday October 15

Hofstra (Monique Iannella, Grace Watson-Carr) 

This week: @ Drexel – 9am, Friday October 12; @ Elon – 3am, Monday October 15

Illinois (Ashleigh Lefevre)

This week: v Purdue – 11am, Friday October 12; v Indiana – 5am, Monday October 15

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins, Alyssa Van Heurck) 

This week: @ Dayton – 10am, Friday October 12; @ Fordham – 4am, Monday October 15

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill) 

This week: v Mississippi – 10am, Friday October 12 

Marshall (Laura Farrelly) 

This week: v Rice – 10am, Saturday October 13; v North Texas – 3am, Monday October 15 

Nicholls State (Tessa Calabria, Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: v Sam Houston State – 8am, Saturday October 13; v Stephen F. Austin – 5am, Monday October 15

North Dakota State (Lauren Featherstone) 

This week: v South Dakota State – 5am, Monday October 15

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley) 

This week: @ Florida Atlantic – 10am, Friday October 12; v UAB – 4am, Monday October 15

Southeast Missouri State (Siena Senatore) 

This week: @ Eastern Illinois – 6am, Friday October 12; @ SIU Edwardsville – 5am, Monday October 15

St. Francis University (Shelby Milton)

This week: @ Robert Morris – 4am, Sunday October 14

Stanford (Beattie Goad) 

This week: @ Arizona State – 1pm, Sunday October 14

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis) 

This week: @ Kansas State – 11am, Saturday October 13; @ Kansas – 5am, Monday October 15

Towson (Jodie Burchell)

This week: @ Delaware – 10am, Friday October 12; v Drexel – 4am, Monday October 15 

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: @ Washington – 12pm, Saturday October 13 

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: v UNC Greensboro – 10am, Saturday October 13; v VMI – 4am, Monday October 15 

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden) 

This week: v Elon – 10am, Friday October 12; v James Madison – 5am, Monday October 15

Wyoming (Indianna Asimus, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Caitlin Pickett)

This week: @ Fresno State – 1pm, Saturday October 13; @ San Jose State – 6am, Monday October 15

2018 Week 8 Preview

As conference play ramps up, a number of teams featuring Aussies find themselves in intriguing positions heading into crunch time. Meanwhile, Lorena Bugden and Monique Iannella face off in a game that could have serious implications in the Colonial Athletic Association.

(Featured Image Credit: The Southern Conference)

The Colonial Athletic Association delivers yet another Aussie v Aussie matchup as Monique Iannella and Hofstra face Lorena Bugden’s William & Mary side. Iannella has been one of the best performed Aussies this season, as well as a mainstay of a Hofstra side that has won three of its first four games to sit just three points out of top spot, whilst William & Mary sit right on the edge of the conference tournament spots, but also just three points behind Hofstra in second spot. However, Hofstra have a game against league leaders Northeastern prior to this game, whilst the game against Hofstra is William & Mary’s only contest of the week. With just two weeks of conference play following this game, getting the three points in this one will be imperative for both teams – for Hofstra, in a quest for the regular season title; for William & Mary, in their attempt to return to the six-team conference tournament after missing out in 2017.

La Salle were expected to be among the leaders in the Atlantic 10, but with only the outstanding performances of Claudia Jenkins keeping the Explorers from giving up buckets of goals in conference play to this point, the 2017 conference champions have a bit of work to do if they are to remain in the top eight and secure a conference tournament spot. Fortunately, after a run of tough games to start conference play, the Explorers this week play the bottom two teams in St. Bonaventure and Rhode Island. Whilst finishing at or near the top of the league this season may be out of the Explorers’ reach, a solid run home could still deliver a decent seeing for the conference tournament in their quest for a return trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Wyoming are looking to atone for last year’s fairly dismal end to the season, and will need to keep picking up points at regular intervals if they are to maintain their current spot in the conference tournament spots in the Mountain West. The Cowgirls kick off their week by hosting the second-placed Colorado College, where a win would draw them level with the Tigers. Wyoming will be fully expected to pick up a win against Air Force in their second game of the week, and if the Cowgirls can secure a minimum of four points from their two games, it would go a long way to securing a conference tournament berth. With Caitlin Pickett in solid form up front of late and her fellow Aussies providing excellent service from midfield, there is no reason why they can’t bounce back from last week’s loss to Boise State and return to the form that saw them win the previous two games.

Isabel Hodgson and East Tennessee State are flying in conference play after a dismal start to the season, sitting pretty in second spot at 3-0 after three conference games. However, this week’s two opponents will bring a far tougher challenge than the Buccaneers have faced to this point as they go on the road to face Samford and Chattanooga. Perennial league contenders Samford sit atop the league table with 10 points after 4 games, whilst Chattanooga sit just two points behind East Tennessee State with 7 points from 4 games. Whilst this weekend won’t define the conference regular season title race, it could very well go a long way to determining which teams reach the conference tournament. With the Buccaneers coming into the weekend in good form, these games certainly appear eminently winnable, something that wouldn’t have been said about a team that came into league play with a 1-7 non-conference record.

Full Schedule: 

Akron (Freyja Murray)

This week: @ Ohio – 6am, Friday October 5; v Kent State – 4am, Monday October 8 

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: v Vermont – 9am, Friday October 5; @ Maine – 4am, Monday October 8 

Chicago State (Sarah Clark)

This week: @ Utah Valley – 3am, Saturday October 6; @ Seattle – 7am, Monday October 8

Colorado (Isobel Dalton) 

This week: v Washington State – 7:30am, Friday October 5; v Washington – 7am, Monday October 8

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: v UNC Wilmington – 8am, Friday October 5; v Delaware – 5am, Monday October 8 

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: @ Samford – 9am, Saturday October 6; @ Chattanooga – 5am, Monday October 8

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: @ Bryant – 4am, Monday October 8 

Georgia Southern (Hannah Allen) 

This week: v Troy – 9am, Saturday October 6; @ Texas State – 4am, Monday October 8 

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: v UTRGV – 12pm, Saturday October 6; v Cal Baptist – 7am, Monday October 8

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

This week: v Long Beach State – 3pm, Friday October 5; v UC Davis – 2pm, Monday October 8

Hofstra (Monique Iannella, Grace Watson-Carr) 

This week: v Northeastern – 9am, Friday October 5; v William & Mary – 4am, Monday October 8

Illinois (Ashleigh Lefevre)

This week: @ Maryland – 9am, Friday October 5; @ Rutgers – 4am, Monday October 8

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins, Alyssa Van Heurck)

This week: v St. Bonaventure – 9am, Friday October 5; v Rhode Island – 4am, Monday October 8

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: @ Arkansas – 9:30am, Friday October 5; v. Missouri – 5am, Monday October 8

Marshall (Laura Farrelly)

This week: @ UTSA – 5am, Monday October 8

Nicholls State (Tessa Calabria, Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: @ McNeese State – 10am, Saturday October 6

North Dakota State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: v Denver – 10am, Friday October 5; @ North Dakota – 5am, Monday October 8

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley) 

This week: @ Middle Tennessee State – 9am, Saturday October 6

Southeast Missouri State (Siena Senatore)

This week: @ Tennessee Tech – 10am, Saturday October 6

St. Francis University (Shelby Milton) 

This week: v Mount St. Mary’s – 3am, Monday October 8

Stanford (Beattie Goad) 

This week: @ Oregon – 10am, Friday October 5; @ Oregon State – 9am, Monday October 8

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: @ Oklahoma State – 10am, Saturday October 6 

Towson (Jodie Burchell)

This week: v James Madison – 6am, Friday October 5; @ Charleston – 4am, Monday October 8

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: v Arizona State – 10am, Friday October 5; v Arizona – 9am, Monday October 8

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout) 

This week: @ Chattanooga – 9am, Saturday October 6; @ Samford – 10am, Monday October 8 

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: @ Hofstra – 4am, Monday October 8

Wyoming (Indianna Asimus, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Caitlin Pickett)

This week: v Colorado College – 7am, Saturday October 6; v Air Force – 5:30am, Monday October 8

2018 Week 7 Preview

Beattie Goad. Teagan Micah. Stanford. UCLA. Last time this matchup occurred, it was in Orlando and culminated in one of the greatest College Cup games in history, with Goad and Stanford taking final honours in a 3-2 victory. This time, the Cardinal defend their home patch, with Micah and UCLA out for redemption. Back on the east coast, a plethora of Aussie v Aussie matchups are set to shake up conference title races even at this early stage.

Games don’t get much bigger than a rematch of the previous year’s College Cup championship, and that’s exactly what we have this week as Beattie Goad and Stanford face Teagan Micah’s UCLA side on Friday afternoon Sydney time. Stanford are currently on a 31-match unbeaten streak dating back to early last season, but for UCLA, they will be looking to bounce back after falling 1-0 to Washington State in their only game last week. Teagan Micah missed that game after suffering a knock during the warm-ups, and will be hoping to return to the side for one of the most highly anticipated games of the season. On the other hand, Beattie Goad continues to make the most of her extended time on the pitch in a Stanford side that has suffered a few injuries of its own recently, continuing to be one of the best-performed players for the Cardinal in recent weeks.

Staying in the Pac-12, Isobel Dalton and Colorado travel south to Arizona to take on Arizona State before facing Arizona to round out the week. The Buffaloes have put together an outstanding 9-0-1 record to this point, but the two Arizona schools represent an entirely different proposition to what they have faced in non-conference play and in the 6-0 win in last week’s conference opener against Oregon State. Now sitting at #18 in the rankings, Colorado will be out to show that they deserve that ranking against a pair of solid opponents, and Isobel Dalton will hopefully be able to secure some more playing time after an impressive outing off the bench against Oregon State. Of particular note was the delightful pass that set up the team’s final goal, a ball that reminded everyone of the senior’s class in midfield.

Heading east, we find another highly-anticipated game in the form of the local derby between Kate Swartwout’s Western Carolina and Isabel Hodgson’s East Tennessee State outfit. Swartwout and the Catamounts certainly have the bragging rights at the moment, having won in both 2016 and 2017, and with a 5-3-2 record to this point in comparison to ETSU’s 3-7, will be favourites for this one. However, the Buccaneers’ offence appears to be humming again with everyone back after defeating Wofford 7-1 last week as both of these teams beat the same two opponents last week to sit tied atop the Southern Conference standings after one week of play. Isabel Hodgson picked up a goal and an assist in the space of a minute in that win over Wofford, whilst Kate Swartwout has been an integral part of the Western Carolina side for much of the year, so expect both Aussies to be heavily involved in what should be an entertaining game.

Emma Heckenberg’s Drexel side and Lorena Bugden’s William & Mary outfit each split their opening Colonial Athletic Association league games this week, meaning that a win in this Aussie v Aussie matchup could go a long way to keeping whichever team gets the three points in contention for top spot in a league season consisting of just nine games. Both teams played College of Charleston last week, with William & Mary falling 2-1, but Drexel winning by the same scoreline in overtime as Heckenberg delivered an assist on the equaliser before the Dragons completed the comeback in the extra minutes. Drexel are certainly the team expected to do better in conference play this season, but William & Mary always pose a threat and will certainly not roll over easily.

Laura Farrelly and Marshall got away to a flyer in Conference USA last week with wins over UTEP and Florida International, and this week will see the Thundering Herd attempt to keep the good times rolling against Gaby Bentley and Old Dominion. The Monarchs had a far less successful opening to league play, falling to Louisiana Tech and Charlotte, and need to pick up some points fairly quickly if they want to make their way into a conference tournament that selects only the top 8 in the 14-team league. Whilst this game does have the potential to be an Aussie v Aussie matchup, it will take some selection changes from coaches for it to happen, as Farrelly is yet to make her debut and Bentley has seen only limited minutes in recent weeks. However, to paraphrase Murray Walker, anything happens in college women’s soccer, and it usually does.

Full Schedule: 

Akron (Freyja Murray)

This week: v Eastern Michigan – 9am, Saturday September 29; v Central Michigan – 3am, Monday October 1

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: v Stony Brook – 9am, Friday September 28; @ UMass Lowell – 7am, Monday October 1 

Chicago State (Sarah Clark)

This week: v Cal State Bakersfield – 4am, Saturday September 29; v Cal Baptist – 4am, Monday October 1 

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: @ Arizona State – 7am, Friday September 28; @ Arizona – 5am, Monday September 1

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg) 

This week: @ William & Mary – 4am, Monday October 1

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson) 

This week: @ Western Carolina – 9am, Saturday September 29; v King – 9am, Tuesday October 2

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: @ Central Connecticut State – 8am, Saturday September 29; v Robert Morris – 6am, Monday October 1 

Georgia Southern (Hannah Allen)

This week: @ Louisiana-Monroe – 9am, Saturday September 29; @ South Alabama – 3am, Monday October 1 

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: @ Seattle – 6am, Monday October 1

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

This week: @ UC Irvine – 12pm, Saturday September 29; @ Cal State Northridge – 10am, Monday October 1

Hofstra (Monique Iannella, Grace Watson-Carr) 

This week: v Delaware – 9am, Friday September 28; @ UNC Wilmington – 2am, Monday October 1

Illinois (Ashleigh Lefevre) 

This week: v Michigan State – 9am, Sunday September 30 

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins, Alyssa Van Heurck) 

This week: @ Duquesne – 9am, Friday September 28; v Massachusetts – 3am, Monday October 1 

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill) 

This week: v Alabama – 10am, Friday September 28

Marshall (Laura Farrelly)

This week: @ Old Dominion – 9am, Saturday September 29; @ Charlotte – 3am, Monday October 1 

Nicholls State (Tessa Calabria, Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: v Houston Baptist – 7am, Saturday September 29; v Texas A&M-Corpus Christi – 4am, Monday October 1 

North Dakota State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: @ Western Illinois – 7am, Saturday September 29; @ Fort Wayne – 1:30am, Monday October 1 

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

This week: v Marshall – 9am, Saturday September 29; v Western Kentucky – 3am, Monday October 1 

Southeast Missouri State (Siena Senatore) 

This week: v Eastern Kentucky – 9:30am, Friday September 28; v Morehead State – 5am, Monday October 1 

St. Francis University (Shelby Milton)

This week: @ Sacred Heart – 2am, Saturday September 29; @ Bryant – 5am, Monday October 1 

Stanford (Beattie Goad) 

This week: v UCLA – 1pm, Friday September 28; v USC – 6am, Monday October 1 

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis) 

This week: v Oklahoma – 10am, Saturday September 29; v Baylor – 4am, Monday October 1

Towson (Jodie Burchell) 

This week: v Northeastern – 5am, Friday September 28; @ Elon – 3am, Monday October 1

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: @ Stanford – 1pm, Friday September 28; @ California – 8am, Monday October 1

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: v East Tennessee State – 9am, Saturday September 29 

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: v UNC Wilmington – 9am, Friday September 28; v Drexel – 4am, Monday October 1 

Wyoming (Indianna Asimus, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Caitlin Pickett)

This week: @ Utah State – 8am, Saturday September 29; @ Boise State – 5am, Monday October 1