Whilst there was little silverware to speak of from a team perspective among the Aussies in NCAA Division I women’s soccer this season, there were still plenty of players who enjoyed outstanding campaigns. Today, we take a look at those who picked up the College Matildas season awards for 2022.
Katie Godden: Rachael Doyle Medal (Player of the Year), Offensive Player of the Year, Top Goalscorer
Katie Godden enjoyed a solid season in 2021 on her way to securing the College Matildas Freshman of the Year award, but there was one thing missing: goals. However, after scoring just once in 2021, a stint with the Young Matildas and Australian Under 23 programs in the offseason appeared to do the former Arsenal Under 21 player a world of good.
Godden showed promise in the season opener with three shots against Oakland, but a goal in a 3-1 loss to eventual Pac-12 champions Stanford commenced an avalanche of attacking output that represented the model of consistency throughout the remainder of the campaign. The sophomore tallied either a goal or assist in 9 of her final 11 appearances of the season, finishing with seven goals and three assists in 14 contests. Godden also secured an All-Big East First Team selection as her performances shone through despite DePaul finishing with a 3-12-1 record, and just a single win in conference play. However, if Godden is to defend her College Matildas awards in 2023, it will be in different colours after a recent announcement that the Windlesham United product is heading to Oregon State after transferring from DePaul.
Although Godden emerged as a worthy winner of the Rachael Doyle Medal in 2022, it was hardly a race in one. Molly Arens was giving the award a real shake before injury ended her season after just nine games, whilst Aimee Medwin, Greta Kraszula, and All-Big West Second Team selection Eliza Ammendolia all enjoyed outstanding seasons and were right in the mix at various points in the campaign.
Greta Kraszula: Defensive Player of the Year, Breakout Player of the Year
Restricted to just six appearances in her freshman season of 2021, Greta Kraszula took her opportunities in the off-season, returning to VCU in 2022 as an integral member of the defensive unit. Kraszula spent the spring playing for Indy Eleven in United Women’s Soccer before forcing her way into the Young Matildas’ Under 20 World Cup squad, making an appearance off the bench in the final group game against eventual champions Spain.
Following that successful offseason, it took Kraszula just four matches to pass her total minutes from her freshman season, moving into the starting lineup after just two appearances off the bench. From that point, there was no removing the Young Matildas representative from the starting eleven as Kraszula played the full 90 minutes on no less than eleven occasions, averaging 81 minutes per appearance as her presence on the pitch became integral to VCU’s success.
Abbey Burns: Freshman of the Year
In a hotly contested race that also featured Seton Hall twin pairing Sarah and Grace Mitchell, Abbey Burns’ performances for UAB just saw the South Australian edge ahead to secure the Freshman of the Year award. A starter in 12 of her 18 appearances for the Blazers, Burns averaged almost 70 minutes per outing as she cemented her spot in the UAB rotation from an early stage. Not afraid to get amongst the attack, the versatile Burns tallied five shots for the year and also notched her first collegiate assist on the only goal in a 1-0 win over Florida Atlantic.
However, Burns and the Mitchell twins were not the only Aussies who had successful spells at times during the season. Holly Furphy was starting for Santa Clara before injury ruled her out of most of the campaign, whilst Lua Suero may not have made her debut for Kent State until the second half of the season, but ended up starting in 7 of her 9 appearances for the Golden Flashes.
Molly Arens: Most Assists
Seven is a solid number of assists in any season, and indeed it proved enough for Molly Arens to sit atop the pile among Aussies in NCAA Division I this season. However, those seven assists came in just nine appearances as the Novocastrian midfielder set the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi attack alight for the first half of the campaign. Unfortunately, a fractured fibula stopped Arens in her tracks right as it looked as though the Islanders captain would be instrumental in leading her team to success in conference play. Despite having her season cut short due to that injury, Arens’ performances in the first half of the season garnered three goals alongside those seven assists, and also saw the midfielder pick up an All-Southland Conference Second Team selection for her efforts.