2017 Week 1 Preview

Preseason is in the books and it’s time for the 2017 NCAA Division I women’s soccer season to commence. All bar one team featuring Australians kicks off their season this week, with Priya Gakhar forced to wait until next week to make her official debut for Grambling State. There will also be two Aussie v Aussie matchups on the opening weekend, adding a bit of extra spice to the occasion.

Stanford come into the 2017 season as one of the favourites to secure a national title, and kick off their campaign with a tough away trip to face Marquette and Wisconsin, both Top 50 RPI teams in 2016. Two wins here would be a great start to the season for the Cardinal, but from an Australian perspective it will be fascinating to see if Beattie Goad slots in at fullback or in a more attacking role out wide, and also which side of the field the sophomore plays on. Meanwhile, fellow Pac-12 powerhouse UCLA and their Australian goalkeeper, Teagan Micah, will stay closer to home, taking on San Diego State and Long Beach State in their opening two games. Micah was one of the Bruins’ stars in her freshman year, but with US Under 17 national team goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy joining the squad, it will be fascinating to watch how coach Amanda Cromwell splits playing time between the pair, as well as senior Siri Ervik, who served as backup to Micah in 2016.

Hofstra have doubled their number of Aussies with Monique Iannella transferring from Texas to join fellow Victorian Emily Hulbert at the Pride. The Long Island-based team start their season with a trip to Pittsburgh before taking on Penn State for the third consecutive season. The Pride have lost both of the previous two fixtures against the Nittany Lions, and things don’t stand to get any easier against a stacked Penn State side that is expected to run roughshod over most of the Big Ten this season. Look for a fully fit Emily Hulbert to make her mark on things after last season’s interrupted campaign, whilst Monique Iannella’s involvement will also be watched closely as the senior looks to make an immediate impact for Hofstra.

Two Aussie v Aussie matchups will make for a double delight for fans, as Sandra Hill and Grand Canyon take on Demi Koulizakis and Texas Tech, whilst Claire Urquhart and Albany take on Gaby Bentley and Old Dominion. The game against Texas Tech will be Hill’s official college debut, whilst Koulizakis will be looking to begin her transformation from impact bench player to regular starter. Meanwhile, Urquhart and Bentley will both want to increase their playing time after only seeing scarce minutes in 2016.

Five more freshmen will also potentially be given the chance to make their debuts this week. W-League trio Claudia Jenkins, Lorena Bugden, and Olivia Ellis, as well as Tenille Harberger and Lauren Featherstone could all see their opening minutes of NCAA Division I playing time across the weekend. Meanwhile, junior college transfer Jemma House will be hoping to continue her goalscoring exploits for Wyoming as the Cowgirls take on Baylor in their only game of the weekend.

Speaking of Wyoming, their remaining four Australians have solidified their places as vital cogs in the Cowgirls’ team. Alisha Bass is one of the stars of the Mountain West Conference, whilst Georgia Rowntree is coming off an outstanding season between the sticks. Annika Clayton was outstanding in an interrupted campaign in 2016, whilst Jessie Gentle has been solid wherever she has been used throughout the season, and all four will surely play a part in Wyoming’s campaign. A win against Baylor would certainly provide a massive boost to the Cowgirls’ resume this season.

Full Schedule:

(All game times are in Sydney time)

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: at Old Dominion – 8am, Monday August 21

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: at Massachusetts – 6am, Saturday August 19

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: at Colorado State – 9am, Saturday August 19; v Colorado College – 7:30am, Monday August 21

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: at Maryland – 9am, Saturday August 19; v Quinnipiac – 9am, Tuesday August 22

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: v South Carolina State – 9am, Saturday August 19; v Tennessee Tech – 9am, Monday August 21

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: v Temple – 9am, Saturday August 19; v Hartford – 2am, Monday August 21

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: v Texas Tech – 8am, Saturday August 19; v New Mexico – 2:30am, Monday August 21

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

This week: v Utah Valley – 3pm, Saturday August 19; v Fairfield – 1pm, Monday August 21

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

This week: at Pittsburgh – 9am, Saturday August 19; at Penn State – 3am, Monday August 21

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

This week: v St. John’s – 9am, Saturday August 19; at Temple – 3am, Monday August 21

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: v Mississippi Valley State – 9am, Saturday August 19; at Colgate – 9am, Monday August 21

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: v Marshall – 5am, Monday August 21

Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: at Southern Miss – 7am, Saturday August 19; v Mississippi Valley State – 4am, Monday August 21

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

This week: v George Mason – 9am, Saturday August 19; v Albany – 8am, Monday August 21

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

This week: v Kansas State – 12pm, Saturday August 19; at Seattle – 12pm, Monday August 21

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: v Fresno State – 12pm, Saturday August 19; at Cal State Northridge – 7am, Monday August 21

Saint Francis (Shelby Milton)

This week: at Miami (FL) – 9am, Saturday August 19; at Florida Atlantic – 3am, Monday August 21

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)

This week: at Evansville – 10am, Saturday August 19; v Illinois-Springfield – 9:30am, Monday August 21

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: at Marquette – 10:30am, Saturday August 19; at Wisconsin – 8am, Monday August 21

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: at Houston – 10am, Saturday August 19; v St Thomas – 9am, Monday August 21

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: v Grand Canyon – 8am, Saturday August 19; v San Francisco – 5am, Monday August 21

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: v San Diego State – 12pm, Saturday August 19; at Long Beach State – 12pm, Monday August 21

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: v Morehead State – 9am, Saturday August 19

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: v Providence – 6:30am, Saturday August 19; v Boston College – 1:30am, Monday August 21

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Jemma House, Georgia Rowntree)

This week: at Baylor – 9am, Monday August 21

NCAA Tournament Preview

This season, seven Australians across six teams will contest the NCAA Tournament. Three of those sides – Stanford, UCLA, and USC – could be considered legitimate challengers for the title, whilst Colorado and Texas Tech could definitely shake things up and spring an upset or two. Beattie Goad and Stanford have secured the overall top seed, but UCLA and USC have also managed to grab seeded positions and could use those favourable draws to their advantage.

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

First Round: v Houston Baptist – 2pm, Saturday November 12

Live on Stanford Women’s Soccer Facebook

Beattie Goad
Beattie Goad (Photo Credit: Bill Dally/ISIPhotos.com)

As the overall top seed in the tournament, Stanford go in as favourites to make it to San Jose for the College Cup. First up, they take on Houston Baptist, who qualified for the tournament as champions of the Southland Conference. The Huskies have compiled a 10-10-1 record this season, and sit a lowly 220th in the RPI rankings. If Stanford get through this first game, they will take on the winner of Long Beach State and Santa Clara, two teams in the top 50 of the RPI rankings. Expect to see Beattie Goad play a cameo off the bench for Stanford, as she has done in recent weeks, unless the Cardinal get out to a big lead, which is possible. If that happens, there may be scope for Beattie to play a lot more minutes as some starters are rested.

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

First Round: v Seattle – 2pm, Saturday November 12

Live on Pac-12 UCLA Stream

The 4th seed in their quarter of the draw, UCLA will be hard-pressed to reach the final weekend as they must go through heavyweights West Virginia (or a team that defeats them) to reach even the quarter-finals. Before that though, they must take on Seattle in the first round. The WAC champions, Seattle are 93rd in the RPI rankings with a 14-5-1 record to this point. UCLA should win this game comfortably, but a second round matchup with Top 20 side Nebraska would be far tougher. However, with Teagan Micah doing her best impression of a brick wall between the sticks for the Bruins, the path through to a potential game with West Virginia should be much more smooth.

Colorado (Isobel Dalton, Kahlia Hogg)

First Round: v Oklahoma State – 6am, Sunday November 13

Live on Pac-12 Colorado Stream

Of the four Pac-12 teams featuring Aussies to reach the tournament, Colorado are the lowest in the RPI rankings and, as such, face the toughest test in the first round. The 29th ranked Buffaloes face off against 56th ranked Oklahoma State on their home patch. Colorado do have a reasonable history of making things happen in the NCAA Tournament, reaching the Sweet 16 in 2013 after knocking off Denver and BYU in unexpected wins, and taking North Carolina to overtime in 2014 as the Buffaloes came incredibly close to a huge upset. If Colorado can manage a win, they will almost certainly play #1 seed South Carolina in the first round, unless Aussie student assistant coach Shelbi Vienna-Hallam can help Alabama State conjure what would be a ludicrously massive upset. We may not see a lot of Isobel Dalton and Kahlia Hogg in this game due to various circumstances, but you never know how these things pan out.

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

First Round: at Utah – 7am, Sunday November 13

Live on Pac-12 Utah Stream

Texas Tech were forced to wait until Selection Monday to learn if they would make the tournament, as they sat firmly on the bubble. Fortunately, Demi Koulizakis and the Red Raiders were granted a bid, and they will travel to Utah for their first round game. At 21st in the RPI rankings, Utah will go into this game as favourites against 42nd ranked Texas Tech. If Texas Tech can manage a victory first up, things only get tougher as they will likely take on ACC champions Florida State. Demi Koulizakis was only seeing limited minutes earlier in the season, but her playing time has exploded recently and it will be interesting to see if this continues through the tournament.

USC (Lulu Pullar)

First Round: v Eastern Washington – 8am, Sunday November 13

Live on Pac-12 USC Stream

The second seed in their quarter of the draw, USC were close to snagging a top seed until their final day loss to UCLA and Florida’s SEC championship victory. The Women of Troy come into this game against Big Sky champion Eastern Washington as hot favourites to advance to the second round and a game against either TCU or Texas A&M. USC sit in the same section of the draw as Demi Koulizakis and Texas Tech, and whilst it might take some upsets, we could see a Sweet 16 matchup between the two Aussies. How much playing time Lulu Pullar gets in that potential game, or indeed in any other, remains to be seen, though.

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

First Round: v Connecticut – 10am, Sunday November 13

Live on Husky Vision ($$)

Last season, Claire Urquhart played the first few games, then saw no playing time for the rest of the season until the NCAA Tournament. This season has followed a similar course so far, and we may yet see Claire in the NCAA Tournament again as the Great Danes take on Connecticut in the first round. Certainly, it will be another tough game for Albany. Last season, Penn State were a #1 seed and won the NCAA title after beating Albany in the first round. This season, Connecticut are #8 in the RPI even if they haven’t secured a seeding for the tournament. It’s going to be hard for Albany to get through the first round, but upsets are certainly more likely in soccer than they are in many other sports.

Week 12 Preview

We are down to under 15 schools featuring Australians still playing, and all bar two are still in with a shot at making the NCAA Tournament. All four Aussies in the Pac-12 are basically locked into tournament spots already, whilst plenty more have earned high seedings for conference tournaments, giving them excellent shots at winning a conference title and heading to the NCAA Tournament.

Paige Hayward and Texas Southern kick off the weekend with a SWAC tournament quarterfinal against Prairie View A&M on Friday morning. Paige scored two goals against Prairie View A&M just last week to hand the Tigers a 2-0 win and set up a rematch in the #2 v #7 matchup. Texas Southern will be expected to go all the way to the final, and tomorrow morning’s match is just the start of a 3 game campaign to reach the NCAA Tournament.

The Pac-12 has been a dogfight to the last and the Australians have been right amongst it, with USC (Lulu Pullar), Stanford (Beattie Goad), and Colorado (Isobel Dalton, Kahlia Hogg) all still with at least a slight chance of clinching the conference title on the final matchday. It would be unwise to forget about Teagan Micah and UCLA, though. The Bruins take on USC, and a win would destroy the Trojans’ title chances and almost certainly hand the crown to Stanford or Colorado. Stanford sit top of the pile as things stand, so they only need to win, whilst Colorado need to defeat Utah and rely on other results going their way, as will USC if they are to defeat UCLA.

Murray State were forced to share the Ohio Valley Conference regular season title this year, but still secured the top seed and a first round bye in the conference tournament. Now coming off a week’s rest, the Racers take on SIU Edwardsville in the semifinals. These two sides battled to a 1-1 draw on SIUE’s home patch, but this game will take place at the fortress that is Murray State’s Cutchin Field. Harriet Withers’ goal production has been down slightly recently in recent weeks, but the striker has been creating plenty of opportunities for herself and hopefully will be able to find the back of the net again in this must-win game. Nyomi Devine has been out for a couple of weeks and it is unknown as to whether she will return for this game.

Fairleigh Dickinson missed out on the conference title by virtue of a final-day loss that saw the Knights drop to fourth in the standings. This week, they take on the team that jumped them to win the title, St Francis University, in the semifinals of the Northeast Conference tournament. Whilst Fairleigh Dickinson were able to come away with a 3-2 victory at home in the regular season meeting, they will now have to travel to Pennsylvania for this fixture. Sam Roff has been ever-present for the Knights this season, switching between defence and midfield, and a big performance from the freshman will no doubt go a long way to keeping the St Francis attack at bay for the 90 minutes, or 110 if need be.

Emma Heckenberg and Drexel have flown slightly under the radar this season, but with some excellent early season form of their own combined with some upset losses for teams around them despite no wins in their last four, the Dragons managed to play themselves into second spot in the Colonial Athletic Association and a first-round bye. Their semi-final matchup will see them take on James Madison, a side that looked set to take a top two spot until Emily Hulbert and Hofstra knocked them off, paving Drexel’s way to the bye. If the Dragons can turn around their mediocre recent form, they already have an away win over James Madison under their belt, which will no doubt give the team confidence to do the same at a neutral site.

Isabel Hodgson and East Tennessee State have already played one tournament game at home, defeating Western Carolina 2-1 in a nail biter this week. This week, they host both the semi-finals and final of the Southern Conference tournament regardless of seedings, and will be looking to make full use of the advantage. First up, they have to get past Mercer, whom they lost to 3-2 away earlier in the year. Since that game, East Tennessee have won 6 of their last 8 games, with their only loss coming to regular season champions Samford. With Isabel Hodgson pushed into a more advanced role for the latter half of the season, the Buccaneers’ attack is firing and revenge is most definitely on the cards.

Full Schedule:

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: v Prairie View A&M – 8:30am, Friday November 4 (SWAC Quarterfinals)

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: v James Madison – 5am, Saturday November 5 (CAA Semifinals)

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Jade Horcicka, Harriet Withers)

This week: v SIU Edwardsville – 5am, Saturday November 5 (OVC Semifinals)

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: at St Francis University – 5am, Saturday November 5 (NEC Semifinals)

Colorado (Isobel Dalton, Kahlia Hogg)

This week: v Utah – 8am, Saturday November 5

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: at USC – 9am, Saturday November 5

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: at California – 9am, Saturday November 5

USC (Lulu Pullar)

This week: v UCLA – 9am, Saturday November 5

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: v Mercer – 10:30am, Saturday November 5 (Southern Conference Semifinals)

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: at Pepperdine – 7am, Sunday November 6

San Francisco (Price Keogh)

This week: v Santa Clara – 1pm, Sunday November 6

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: v Hartford – 10am, Monday November 7 (America East Final)

Week 10 Preview

It’s getting down to the business end of the season now. Several Aussies are chasing conference tournament berths, whilst in the Pac-12 it’s a team featuring Aussies at the top of the table, but not the one you’d expect! That could all change though as an action-packed back half of the Pac-12 schedule gets started this week. Down in the Southeast, it’s all about survival for Alex Huynh’s college career as Troy try to nab the result they need to reach the conference tournament.

The Pac-12 is, as the kids say, absolutely lit at the moment. Colorado are perfect through 6 games at the top, but play 2nd through 6th them in their last five games of conference action. They kick off that brutal back-end of the schedule with an Aussie v Aussie matchup as Isobel Dalton and Kahlia Hogg face off against Beattie Goad and Stanford, before taking on second placed California in their second game of the weekend. These matches are vital for Colorado as, despite their impressive record to this point, their lack of quality wins sees them still not even close to assured of an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Teagan Micah and UCLA have things a bit easier, but nothing’s truly easy in the Pac-12. The Bruins host the two Washington schools, who sit at 9th and 10th in the conference. On their home patch, UCLA should comprehensively deal with both opponents as they continue their own charge towards the title. Lulu Pullar and USC are in the same boat as Washington and Washington State play both Los Angeles schools this weekend, and it should be expected that our LA-based Queenslanders both emerge with six points from the weekend’s play.

East Tennessee State will host the final weekend of this year’s Southern Conference tournament, but if Isabel Hodgson and her teammates want to play in front of their own fans, they’ll have to secure a home quarter-final first. In this final week of league play, they get the chance to do just that. First up, they take on bottom-placed Wofford in a must-win match. If they can get the win there, they will have to take at least a point from second placed Furman in their final league match of the season if they want to avoid relying on other results. Two wins would secure no worse than a 3rd seeding, and if they were to somehow sneak into a top 2 spot, they would face a play-in team who would have an extra match in their legs by this stage. A win and a draw is probably the most likely option though.

Hofstra sprung a huge upset last week in defeating ladder leaders Northeastern as Emily Hulbert continued her comeback from a foot injury, and this week they look to salvage something from the season with games against James Madison and Towson. With just the two games left in the conference schedule and only six teams qualifying for the conference tournament, it’s going to take an almighty weekend for the Pride to sneak in, but having beaten Northeastern, there’s no reason they can’t knock off the new top dogs in James Madison and follow that up with a win over Towson.  Elsewhere in the Colonial, Emma Heckenberg and Drexel have just one game remaining in their season, and a win over Delaware would not only seal a home quarter final, it would also assist Emily Hulbert and Hofstra in their bid for a tournament spot.

It’s been a tough season for both Texas and Texas Tech so far, with Aussies Monique Iannella and Demi Koulizakis having differing levels of success on personal levels for their respective teams. This week, however, they come up against one another with a conference tournament berth on the line. With only one team in the Big 12 missing out on the tournament, a win for Texas Tech would clinch a berth for the Red Raiders, whilst Texas need to get a result as they play #1 team in the nation West Virginia followed by the very team they are battling for the last tournament spot, TCU, in their final game.

Alexandra Huynh and Troy are almost assured of a conference tournament spot in the Sun Belt, but they’re still going to need results in both games this weekend to clinch. Other games which they may rely on look as if they should go the Trojans’ way, but wins over Arkansas-Little Rock and Louisiana-Monroe would ensure that Alex’s college career continues at least beyond this weekend.  In fact, a win over Louisiana-Monroe would force an absolute avalanche of results to go against the team for them to miss out, but you never want to be too careful!

Massachusetts (Laura Johns)

This week: v Duquesne – 7am, Friday October 21; v Virginia Commonwealth – 4am, Monday October 24

USC (Lulu Pullar)

This week: v Washington State – 8am, Friday October 21; v Washington – 5am, Monday October 24

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: at Maine – 10am, Friday October 21; v UMBC – 4am, Monday October 24

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: v Auburn – 10am, Friday October 21; v Alabama – 5am, Monday October 24

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: v Washington – 11am, Friday October 21; v Washington State – 7am, Monday October 24

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: v Colorado – 12pm, Friday October 21; v Utah – 7am, Monday October 24

Colorado (Isobel Dalton, Kahlia Hogg)

This week: at Stanford – 12pm, Friday October 21; at California – 7am, Monday October 24

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Jade Horcicka, Harriet Withers)

This week: v Jacksonville State – 7am, Saturday October 22; v Belmont – 6am, Monday October 24

Troy (Alexandra Huynh)

This week: at Louisiana-Monroe – 8am, Saturday October 22; at Arkansas-Little Rock – 5am, Monday October 24

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: v Robert Morris – 8:30am, Saturday October 22; at Central Connecticut State – 3am, Monday October 24

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: v Wofford – 10am, Saturday October 22; v Furman – 5am, Monday October 24

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week: v James Madison – 10am, Saturday October 22; v Towson – 4am, Monday October 24

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: v Furman – 10am, Saturday October 22; v Wofford – 5am, Monday October 24

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: at Texas – 11am, Saturday October 22; at TCU – 7am, Monday October 24

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: v Jackson State – 11am, Saturday October 22; at Southern – 6am, Monday October 24

Nicholls State (Jess Coates, Kristy Helmers)

This week: at Northwestern State – 11am, Saturday October 22; at Central Arkansas – 5am, Monday October 24

Texas (Monique Iannella)

This week: v Texas Tech – 11am, Saturday October 22; v West Virginia – 9am, Monday October 24

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week: at New Mexico – 12:30pm, Saturday October 22; v San Diego State – 6am, Monday October 24

San Francisco (Price Keogh)

This week: at Loyola Marymount – 1pm, Saturday October 22; at Pepperdine – 5am, Monday October 24

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: at Portland – 1pm, Saturday October 22; at Gonzaga – 7am, Monday October 24

Iona (Kiri Dale)

This week: v Niagara – 4am, Sunday October 23

Indiana (Julia De Angelis)

This week: at Purdue – 10am, Sunday October 23

Winthrop (Jai Jackson)

This week: at Presbyterian – 10am, Sunday October 23

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: v Delaware – 4am, Monday October 24

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell, Siena Senatore)

This week: v Morehead State – 6am, Monday October 24

Week 9 Preview

We’re reaching the final stretch of the conference season, and there are plenty of teams in the hunt for conference regular season titles, or even outright titles for teams that play in leagues with no tournament such as the Pac-12. With a couple of Aussies being moved out of defence and into more attacking roles, it’s looking to be a very exciting end to the season.

Colorado have shot to the top of the Pac-12 standings, charging ahead of blue bloods such as Stanford and UCLA, fuelled by the play of star freshman Taylor Kornieck, but the defence has been a big part of their success. Kahlia Hogg and co. have conceded just one goal in conference play this season, that coming against Oregon State last week in a 3-1 win. This week, they take on lowly Washington in an effort to stay atop the standings before taking on the four California schools in the next four games, of which they’ll be favoured in precisely zero. Washington have given up 11 goals in their last 4 games, so we may yet see Colorado’s attack dominate just as much as the defence has recently. We saw Isobel Dalton get some playing time for the first time in a while last week as well, so we may see one, both, or zero Australians playing for Colorado this week as Kahlia Hogg races the clock in her recovery from a knock that forced her off after 5 minutes against Oregon last week.

East Tennessee State are in a battle royale with Furman and Samford atop the Southern Conference, and this week the Buccaneers take on Samford in an attempt to blow the conference regular season title race wide open. They first have to deal with Chattanooga, which is no easy feat, but the Samford game on Monday morning (Sydney time) will be the highlight of the weekend. Two wins would put them three points clear of Samford and could see the final day game against Furman decide the regular season champion. It would be altogether too simplistic to say that Isabel Hodgson’s move into midfield is the reason for the Buccaneers’ success to this point, but the South Australian has certainly delivered since being pushed into a more attacking role.

Wyoming have one of the easier runs home of any team, with their last four games in the Mountain West all coming against teams lower than them in the standings. Prior to that, they have one more game against a team above them, at San Jose State. Wyoming’s overall record to this point is superior to the Spartans’, but San Jose State are a point ahead in conference play. Alisha Bass’ move back into her original role in attacking midfield seems to be paying dividends as a young defence is becoming far more trustworthy as the season progresses. Allowing Alisha to play higher up the field has seen the junior tallying a couple of goals in the last few games as the attack begins to click more. Annika Clayton and Jessie Gentle have also chipped in with vital supporting roles, whilst Georgia Rowntree has been solid as a rock in goal for the Cowgirls, as the Aussies continue to play significant parts for Wyoming.

It’s feeling a bit like 2015 as Harriet Withers keeps banging in goals, Nyomi Devine remains solid as a rock at the back, and Murray State sit atop the Ohio Valley Conference. It’s a bit closer than last season though, and this week they take on second placed SIU Edwardsville in a must-win game if they are to clinch the regular season title. First up, the Racers take on second-last Eastern Illinois in a game Murray State should waltz away with fairly easily. But with games against the rest of the top 4 to come, the team will be banking on Harriet Withers to add her name to the scoresheet more than a few times not only this weekend, but for the rest of the season.

The biggest game of the SWAC season goes down this weekend, and an Aussie will be front and centre. Texas Southern take on Howard with the two teams tied atop the conference on 16 points after 6 of 10 games. Howard were expected to streak away with the title, so the Tigers can feel very thankful that Mississippi Valley State snagged a draw, and also confident that they can at least do the same. Much will hinge on our very own Paige Hayward, who will yet again be the offensive focal point for Texas Southern in what is their only game this weekend.

Full Schedule:

Indiana (Julia De Angelis)

This week: at Ohio State – 10am, Friday October 14; at Maryland – 4am, Monday October 17

Massachusetts (Laura Johns)

This week: at Davidson – 10am, Friday October 14; at Rhode Island – 4am, Monday October 17

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: at Arizona – 1pm, Friday October 14

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week: at San Jose State – 6am, Saturday October 15; at Fresno State – 6am, Monday October 17

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell, Siena Senatore)

This week: at Tennessee Tech – 7am, Saturday October 15; v Eastern Kentucky – 6am, Monday October 17

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Jade Horcicka, Harriet Withers)

This week: at Eastern Illinois – 7am, Saturday October 15; at SIU Edwardsville – 5am, Monday October 17

Nicholls State (Jess Coates, Kristy Helmers)

This week: v Stephen F. Austin – 8am, Saturday October 15; v Sam Houston State – 5am, Monday October 17

Colorado (Isobel Dalton, Kahlia Hogg)

This week: v Washington – 8am, Saturday October 15

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: at Elon – 10am, Saturday October 15; at William & Mary – 5am, Monday October 17

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: at Chattanooga – 10am, Saturday October 15; at Samford – 5am, Monday October 17

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: v Sacred Heart – 10am, Saturday October 15; at Bryant – 4am, Monday October 17

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: at Samford – 11am, Saturday October 15

Troy (Alexandra Huynh)

This week: v Coastal Carolina – 11am, Saturday October 15

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: at Mississippi State – 11am, Saturday October 15

Texas (Monique Iannella)

This week: at Iowa State – 11am, Saturday October 15

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: at West Virginia – 11am, Saturday October 15

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: at Oregon State – 1pm, Saturday October 15

Iona (Kiri Dale)

This week: at Canisius – 4am, Sunday October 16

Winthrop (Jai Jackson)

This week: v Gardner-Webb – 4am, Sunday October 16

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week: v Northeastern – 10am, Sunday October 16

USC (Lulu Pullar)

This week: at Arizona State – 12pm, Sunday October 16

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: v Howard – 6am, Monday October 17

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: at Loyola Marymount – 7am, Monday October 17

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: v Vermont – 7am, Monday October 17

Week 7 Preview

This week sees two Aussie v Aussie matches, including a rematch of a conference championship game from 2015. Elsewhere, a couple of California-based Aussies take road trips north for some challenging games in the Pac-12, and Paige Hayward attempts to keep Texas Southern atop the table in the SWAC.

Last season saw the Aussie trio of Southeast Missouri State take on Murray State and their own Aussie duo in the Ohio Valley Conference championship game, with Murray State getting the win in overtime. This season, it’s Murray State who have three Aussies whilst Southeast Missouri State are down to two, but it’s shaping up to be just as tight as their last encounter. Southeast Missouri State have definitely enjoyed the better start to the season, but Murray State have played a slightly tougher schedule. With that said, Southeast Missouri State may still be the slight favourites, but if Harriet Withers can keep up her attacking form of last week, in which she scored a goal and tallied an assist, Murray State could easily take the win.

Staying in the southeast, Isabel Hodgson and East Tennessee State travel to Cullowhee, North Carolina to take on Kate Swartwout and Western Carolina in a local derby of sorts. Both teams have had solid starts to the season, but in a one-bid conference it’s all about getting that auto-bid, so wins from here on out are like gold dust for both teams. With Isabel playing in a more advanced role in recent weeks, we may even see a couple of direct duels between the South Australian sophomore and Gold Coast freshman Kate Swartwout, who has been a mainstay in the Western Carolina defensive unit.

Beattie Goad has made her way back into the starting lineup for Stanford after a few weeks coming off the bench for the #1 team in the nation, and will be hoping to continue her solid form as Stanford host the Apple State pair of Washington and Washington State. It’s been a rocky season of sorts for both Washington schools, with Washington accumulating a 5-4-1 record and Washington State having compiled a 5-3-1 record to this point. However, teams don’t get more hunted than a national #1 in conference play, so both of Stanford’s opponents will be desperate to pick up what would be a massive win this week.

Whilst Beattie and Stanford stay home, Teagan Micah and UCLA will make their way north this week as they take on Oregon and Oregon State. Beattie Goad and Stanford cut a swathe through Oregon in the second half of a 3-0 win last week, so UCLA’s potent attack will be looking to do the same, safe in the knowledge that Teagan is in excellent form between the sticks. Both Oregon and Oregon State sit above .500 to this point, but UCLA are one of the top 20 teams in the country by just about any measure, and look the goods to pick up another couple of wins.

Paige Hayward has already netted five goals this season, and with both herself and her Texas Southern teammates in solid form recently, the Tigers go on the road this week with the opportunity to extend their perfect start to conference play in the SWAC. Texas Southern take a trip to Arkansas-Pine Bluff before heading south to play Grambling State in Louisiana in the second game of the weekend. Arkansas-Pine Bluff, who sit at 2-4 so far, certainly appear to be the tougher of this week’s two opponents on paper, with Grambling State representing something of a basket case in Division I soccer terms, having played just 4 non-conference games and losing all 4 to the tune of a combined 29-1 margin.

Full Schedule:

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: v Stony Brook – 9am, Friday September 30

Massachusetts (Laura Johns)

This week: at La Salle – 9am, Friday September 30; at Richmond – 4am, Monday October 3

USC (Lulu Pullar)

This week: at Oregon – 9:30am, Friday September 30; at Oregon State – 7am, Monday October 3

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: at Oregon State – 12pm, Friday September 30; at Oregon – 7am, Monday October 3

San Francisco (Price Keogh)

This week: at San Diego – 12pm, Friday September 30; at BYU – 10:30am, Tuesday October 4

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: v Washington State – 12pm, Friday September 30; v Washington – 8am, Monday October 3

Colorado (Isobel Dalton, Kahlia Hogg)

This week: at Arizona – 12pm, Friday September 30; at Arizona State – 9am, Monday October 3

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: at Arkansas-Pine Bluff – 7am, Saturday October 1; at Grambling State – 5am, Monday October 3

Nicholls State (Jess Coates, Kristy Helmers)

This week: v Texas A&M-Corpus Christi – 7am, Saturday October 1; v Houston Baptist – 5am, Monday October 3

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week: v UNLV – 8am, Saturday October 1; v Nevada – 5am, Monday October 3

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: at Western Carolina – 9am, Saturday October 1

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: at James Madison – 9am, Saturday October 1; at Towson – 4am, Monday October 3

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: v East Tennessee State – 9am, Saturday October 1

Troy (Alexandra Huynh)

This week: at Georgia State – 9am, Saturday October 1; at Georgia Southern – 4am, Monday October 3

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week: at College of Charleston – 9am, Saturday October 1; at UNC Wilmington – 4am, Monday October 3

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell, Siena Senatore)

This week: v Murray State – 10am, Saturday October 1; v Austin Peay – 6am, Monday October 3

Indiana (Julia De Angelis)

This week: at Nebraska – 10am, Saturday October 1

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: v Florida – 10am, Saturday October 1

Texas (Monique Iannella)

This week: v Oklahoma State – 10am, Saturday October 1; v Kansas – 5am, Monday October 3

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Jade Horcicka, Harriet Withers)

This week: at Southeast Missouri State – 10am, Saturday October 1; at Tennessee-Martin – 6am, Monday October 3

Iona (Kiri Dale)

This week: v Fairfield – 4am, Sunday October 2

Winthrop (Jai Jackson)

This week: 5am, Monday October 2

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: v St Francis University – 3am, Monday October 3

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: at Saint Mary’s – 7am, Monday October 3

Week 5 Preview

Conference play starts for many of the Australians this week, and for those not in power conferences, winning the conference title is the only way of reaching the NCAA Tournament. Albany and Murray State did just that last season, earning their conferences’ auto-bids through winning conference tournaments. The best way to put yourself in a good position to do that is to earn a high seeding, so this is where the real fun starts.

Julia De Angelis’ start to her college career has come later than originally expected, but it’s been solid to begin with and this week the freshman and her Indiana teammates take on a pair of conference foes. First up they take on Northwestern, who have compiled a perfect 7-0 record so far and will no doubt provide a stern test for the Hoosiers. Following this, Indiana take on Illinois. Illinois have tallied 3 wins this season, as have Indiana, although the Hoosiers’ schedule has been slightly tougher. With Julia in the midfield, the Indiana midfield is no doubt improved in both defence and starting the attack, so the Hoosiers should stand a good chance of getting a win against Illinois, even if Northwestern may prove to be too great a challenge.

Teagan Micah has well and truly established herself as UCLA’s starting goalkeeper, and this week provides yet another test early in her college career as the Bruins ramp things up before their conference schedule begins next week. Pepperdine and Long Beach State have compiled solid if unspectacular records, with both sitting at 4-2-1 at this point in the season. UCLA do sit amongst the top teams in the nation, but with losses to fellow heavyweights Florida and North Carolina, the last thing they need is to drop a game against a lesser opponent before playing in what is arguably the toughest conference in college soccer in the Pac-12.

Nicholls State have unearthed a gem in Kristy Helmers, with the Australian sitting third in Division I in assists per game. With fellow Australian Jess Coates enjoying an excellent senior year, the Colonels move into Southland play looking to improve on last season’s 9th place. Having held their own in losses to Louisiana-Monroe and Louisiana Tech, their 3-2 record looks very respectable for a side of their standing. This week, they take on Lamar, a team that have started 1-6 and had less impressive results against common opponents. Lamar did finish two places clear of Nicholls State in the Southland last season, but there is definitely scope for the Colonels to get a first up win in conference play.

Alexandra Huynh was forced to sit out Troy’s close loss to Florida State due to being an accumulation of yellow cards, but is back and raring to go for Troy’s conference games this weekend against Appalachian State and Arkansas State. A rock at the back for the Trojans and the team’s set-piece specialist, Alex’s return to the back four will be welcome news for all those associated with the Troy program.

Despite a pair of poor results for Texas Southern last week, Paige Hayward was again amongst the goals and this week gets another chance. Oral Roberts are certainly better than Huston-Tillotson, but they’re no North Texas and whilst the Mean Green demolished Texas Southern 7-1, Paige was the goalscorer on that occasion and should certainly have more than a couple of chances in the team’s only game this week.

Full Schedule:

Massachusetts (Laura Johns)

This week: at Brown – 9am, Friday September 16; at Providence – 3am, Monday September 19

Indiana (Julia De Angelis)

This week: at Northwestern – 10am, Friday September 16; at Illinois – 4am, Monday September 19

San Francisco (Price Keogh)

This week: at California – 7am, Saturday September 17; v UC Davis – 6am, Monday September 19

Nicholls State (Jess Coates, Kristy Helmers)

This week: v Lamar – 7am, Saturday September 17

USC (Lulu Pullar)

This week: v Kansas – 8am, Saturday September 17

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: at Pepperdine – 8am, Saturday September 17; v Long Beach State – 11am, Monday September 19

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: v Alabama A&M – 9am, Saturday September 17; at South Carolina State – 6am, Monday September 9

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: at UC Davis – 9am, Saturday September 17

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: v Dartmouth – 9am, Saturday September 17

Texas (Monique Iannella)

This week: v North Texas – 10am, Saturday September 17; v UC Santa Barbara – 5:30am, Monday September 19

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: v Santa Clara – 10am, Saturday September 17

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: at Loyola Marymount – 10am, Saturday September 17; at San Diego State – 11am, Monday September 19

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: v Ole Miss – 10am, Saturday September 17; v Lamar – 4am, Monday September 19

Troy (Alexandra Huynh)

This week: v Appalachian State – 10am, Saturday September 17; v Arkansas State – 4am, Monday September 19

Iona (Kiri Dale)

This week: at Siena – 3am, Sunday September 18

Colorado (Isobel Dalton, Kahlia Hogg)

This week: v Denver – 4am, Sunday September 18

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: v Tennessee Tech – 3am, Monday September 19

Winthrop (Jai Jackson)

This week: at Kennesaw State – 3am, Monday September 19

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: at Army – 3am, Monday September 19

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week: at Fordham – 3am, Monday September 19

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell, Siena Senatore)

This week: at Missouri State – 4am, Monday September 19

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: at Oral Roberts – 4am, Monday September 19

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: 7am, Monday September 19