Week 4 Preview

This week sees Colorado, UMBC, and Creighton look to extend their winning starts to the season, and freshman Ellie Papalexiou and Pacific get a taste of College Matildas history, taking on ex-Canberra United midfielder Beck Kiting’s former college team of Quinnipiac.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: v Georgia State – 6am, Saturday August 30; at Dayton – 3am, Monday September 1

After a couple of tough losses, Murray State will be looking to kickstart their season with some positive results against Georgia State and Dayton. Georgia State looks to be the best opportunity for a win this week, having recently been held to a tie by Nicole Calder’s Kennesaw State side, whilst Dayton lost a close 3-4 game to nationally ranked Texas A&M last week. Harriet Withers and Nyomi Devine have forced their way into the side as freshmen, with Harriet’s performances off the bench making her impossible to ignore in these early stages.

Kennesaw State (Nicole Calder)

This week: at Troy – 6am, Saturday August 30; v South Alabama (at Troy) – 3am, Monday September 1

After a loss and a tie last week, Nicole Calder and Kennesaw State travel to Troy in Alabama to play two matches in an early-season tournament hosted by Troy University. First up is the host school, who last week knocked off Shelbi Vienna-Hallam and Alabama State 6-0 after losses to LSU and Louisiana Tech. The Owls then take on South Alabama, who also defeated an Aussie last week, easing past Jess Coates and Nicholls State to the tune of a 3-0 win. Nicole Calder has been eased into the side after being struck down with illness during the preseason, but is now back to full fitness and starting as captain for Kennesaw State.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week: at Idaho State – 8am, Saturday August 30; at Weber State – 4am, Monday September 1

A mixed week last week for Wyoming, with a win and a loss in their two games. This week provides a couple of eminently winnable games, against Idaho State and Weber State. Alisha Bass and Candace Sciberras have been integral parts of the Wyoming side so far this season, with Alisha cementing her spot in the starting lineup as far back as spring exhibition games. This form has continued into the season and hopefully the Australians can play roles in a couple of wins this week.

Southern (Simone Arthur)

This week: v Louisiana-Monroe – 9am, Saturday August 30

Coming off the back of a couple of tough matches last week, including an unfortunate 6-0 loss to Arkansas-Little Rock, Simone Arthur and Southern this week have just the one game, against Louisiana-Monroe. The Warhawks played just one competitive fixture last week, defeating Northwestern State 3-0, and the Jaguars will be up against it in trying to get a result out of this game. Simone Arthur sat out last week’s games; if she is back for these games, it’ll be a big game changer for Southern.

Nicholls State (Jess Coates)

This week: at Arkansas-Little Rock – 9am, Saturday August 30; at Arkansas-Pine Bluff – 4am, Monday September 1

A short trip across the border to Arkansas for Jess Coates and Nicholls State this week, as they take on Arkansas-Little Rock and Arkansas-Pine Bluff in an early season invitational tournament. Arkansas-Little Rock should prove a stern test, as they have so far dispatched of Chicago State and Southern (minus Simone Arthur) to the tune of 7-0 and 6-0 respectively. Arkansas Pine-Bluff, however, lost to the same Chicago State side 4-1 in their only match of the season so far, and the Colonels would be eyeing this one off as a potential victory. As captain of the Nicholls State side, Jess Coates has been leading the side with aplomb in these early season matches and hopefully she can keep up her solid form.

Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Bridget Sankey)

This week: v Missouri-St Louis – 9:30am, Saturday August 30

With last week’s game against Tennessee-Martin cancelled, this match against NCAA Division II Missouri-St Louis will be the Redhawks’ first match in 16 days, and should provide the side with an opportunity to secure their first win of the season, following losses to Lipscomb and Saint Louis in exhibition play. Maddy Cornell and Jenna Collingridge have been ever-present in the starting side this season, and hopefully Bridget Sankey can soon join them.

Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)

This week: v South Carolina Upstate – 10am, Saturday August 30

After a three game week last week, Shelbi Vienna-Hallam and Alabama State slow things down a bit this week, playing just the one game, against South Carolina Upstate. South Carolina Upstate have only won 1 of their first 4 games, but are yet to concede more than one goal in any of their games. Conversely, this means they have also only scored 1 goal in 4 games. With their opponents’ goalscoring being so lax early on in the season, Shelbi and the rest of the Alabama State defence will be pinpointing this fixture as one to claim a clean sheet in and give the team a real chance of victory in this match.

Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alexandra Huynh)

This week: at UNLV – 12:00pm, Saturday August 30, v Kent State (at UNLV) – 7am, Monday September 1

The Aussie pair of Kahlia Hogg and Alexandra Huynh travel with the Colorado squad to Las Vegas this week to take on UNLV and Kent State in an early season tournament. Following two shutout victories against Colorado State and Northern Colorado in their own home tournament last week, the Buffaloes will be looking to the defence to lead the team to two more victories as the side looks to pad its CV in its quest for an at-large NCAA Tournament bid. Kahlia and Alexandra have been large parts of the side’s wins so far, with Kahlia picking up an assist on the winner against Northern Colorado.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: v Quinnipiac – 12:00pm, Saturday August 30; v Florida International – 6am, Monday September 1

After a heartbreaker of a loss to Sacramento State last week, Ellie Papalexiou and Pacific host a couple of east coast teams, including Quinnipiac, who count former Canberra United player Beck Kiting as an alumnus. Quinnipiac have played just one game this season, a 1-0 loss to Maine. Meanwhile Florida International have split their first two games this year, losing 2-0 to Arizona, but defeating North Florida 3-0. Pacific would be desperate to get at least one positive result out of this weekend and avoid slipping into a losing streak. Ellie Papalexiou has started one game so far this season and come off the bench in another so far, playing on the left side of midfield, and it appears as if she’s impressing the coaching staff at Pacific, and a start in at least one of these games wouldn’t be out of the question.

UMBC (Lilly Rydon)

This week: at Howard – 4am, Sunday August 31; at Bucknell – 9am, Wednesday September 3

Lilly Rydon and UMBC managed to register two wins from their first two competitive fixtures last week, and will be looking for more of the same this week against Howard and Bucknell. Bucknell have already suffered a loss to an Australian this season, going down 4-2 to Emily Hulbert and Hofstra last weekend, and UMBC would have to be confident of notching up wins in both the Bucknell contest and the game against Howard as they continue their charge through a season that will hopefully end in the already predicted national tournament berth. Lilly Rydon has nailed down a starting spot in her senior season, and there appears no reason for her to lose that as the side is performing well with her playing in an advanced role.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week: v St. Joseph’s – 3am, Monday September 1

After an attacking explosion in their second game last week against Bucknell, Emily Hulbert and Hofstra will be looking to put together another stellar performance, and they’ll need to if they are to get a result against a much stronger opposition in the form of St. Joseph’s, who have already dispatched with Ellie Papalexiou and Pacific 4-1 this season, although they followed that up with a 4-0 loss to St. Mary’s during their trip to California. Emily Hulbert has been seeing some decent minutes for Hofstra in the early stages, and will hopefully continue to push for more game time this week.

Creighton (Anastasia McCleary)

This week: v Western Illinois – 3am, Tuesday September 2

The Bluejays have firmly put the disappointment of their exhibition losses behind them, and come storming out of the gates with two wins in their first two competitive matches, and there is no doubting that they can make it 3 from 3 in this game against Western Illinois. The Leathernecks have managed one win in their first two matches, defeating Northern Illinois after suffering a loss to Kent State. Anastasia McCleary has been providing a real spark off the bench for Creighton in these early matches, and it’s surely only a matter of time until she nabs a starting spot.


Week 3 Wrap

A solid week for a few of the teams this week, with Colorado, Creighton, and UMBC all going undefeated for the week, notching up two wins apiece. Results weren’t quite up there for everyone else, but all bar one Aussie who had the chance to play did.

Nicholls State (Jess Coates)

This week’s result: defeated Southern Mississippi 2-1, lost to South Alabama 3-0

A case of one extreme to the other for Nicholls State this weekend, as a stunning upset win over Southern Mississippi, the Colonels’ first in team history, was followed up by a disappointing 3-0 loss to South Alabama. Jess Coates didn’t manage to notch a goal in either game, but was one of Nicholls State’s main attacking threats, tallying two shots against Southern Mississippi and another against South Alabama.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: lost to Arkansas State 3-2

Another loss for Murray State this week, but a far more promising performance from the racers, with a 3-2 loss to Arkansas State comparing favourably to last week’s 7-1 exhibition loss to Western Kentucky. The Racers outshot their opponents 22-10, but allowed the Red Wolves to score the first 3 goals of the game, and it took until the 88th minute for Murray State to score their second goal. Nyomi Devine and Harriet Withers both started for Murray State, with Harriet notching up 4 shots, of which 3 were on target.

Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alexandra Huynh)

This week: defeated Colorado State 2-0, defeated Northern Colorado 1-0

A successful weekend for Colorado, notching up two wins to finish with the best record at the season opening Colorado Cup. Alexandra Huynh and Kahlia Hogg both played instrumental roles in the team’s victories, with Alex playing 90 minutes in both games, and Kahlia notching an assist on the only goal against Northern Colorado as she came off the bench to play 55 minutes. As with last season, Colorado’s defence has started in an imposing fashion on the stat sheet, allowing just 9 shots in 180 minutes of soccer.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week: lost to Connecticut 1-0, defeated Bucknell 4-2

A tale of two games this week for Hofstra, as a stellar defensive performance that almost saw the side nick a result against UConn was followed up by a 45 minute attacking masterclass in the first half against Bucknell. After keeping pace with Connecticut in the first half, an inability to get out of the gates as quickly as their opponents after the break saw the Pride give up a goal just a minute into the second half. Connecticut may have outshot Hofstra 21-10, but had only one additional shot on target, which proved to be decisive. Against Bucknell, it was the first half in which Hofstra started slowly, giving up a second minute goal, but this sparked the side into action, and 45 minutes later the score was 4-1, with the game eventually finishing 4-2. Emily Hulbert came off the bench in both games, playing 31 minutes against Connecticut and 54 minutes against Bucknell.

Southern (Simone Arthur)

This week: lost to Texas Pan-American 2-0, lost to Arkansas-Little Rock 6-0

A disappointing start to the season for Southern, as they went down firstly to a side comprised mostly of freshmen in Texas Pan-American, before conceding six first half goals in a loss to Arkansas-Little Rock. Southern were not without their chances against Texas Pan-American, managing 10 shots, but things were not as positive against Arkansas-Little Rock, allowing 31 shots and managing to register just one. Simone Arthur was unfortunately not involved in either of this week’s games; hopefully she’ll be back soon.

Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)

This week: lost to College of Charleston 4-0, defeated South Carolina State 1-0, lost to Troy 6-0

A win and two losses for Alabama State this week, but the large defeats to College of Charleston and Troy may leave the side with more questions than answers. Nevertheless, Shelbi Vienna-Hallam started all three games this week and appears to be establishing herself as a presence in the Alabama State lineup as the Hornets attempt to notch up some more non-conference victories in the next couple of weeks.

UMBC (Lilly Rydon)

This week: defeated Navy 1-0, defeated Loyola Maryland 3-2

UMBC escaped with two wins from two games this week, but it could’ve been so different for the Retrievers. A 29th minute goal was enough to get a win against Navy, despite being outshot 15-11, with each team registering 5 on target. The match against Loyola Maryland saw UMBC go down 2-0 with goals either side of halftime for Loyola, but 2 goals in 3 minutes from UMBC saw the game equal with 35 minutes to play, before UMBC tallied the winner with ten minutes to play. Lilly Rydon was a starter for UMBC in both games, registering a shot against Navy but not managing to test the goalkeeper.

Kennesaw State (Nicole Calder)

This week: lost to Alabama 5-1, tied with Georgia State 1-1 (2OT)

An inauspicious beginning to proceedings for Kennesaw State this season, with a heavy loss in what was a very tough matchup against Alabama, but the Owls managed to salvage something from their second game, registering a tie with in-state rivals Georgia State. Facing Alabama was always expected to be an uphill battle for the Owls, and their job wasn’t made any easier when they conceded two goals in the space of 13 seconds just 13 minutes into the game. From there, it became an almost impossible task, and Alabama went on to complete a convincing 5-1 win. Things didn’t appear to be improving in the match against Georgia State as a 38th minute goal sent the Owls 1-0 down, but a 71st minute equaliser saw the teams head to overtime, where they couldn’t be split. With no shootouts in regular season games, the teams shared the spoils. Newly installed team captain Nicole Calder was a substitute in the game against Alabama and played 72 minutes, but returned to the starting lineup against Georgia State, playing 79 minutes.

Creighton (Anastasia McCleary)

This week: defeated South Dakota State 3-2, defeated Incarnate Word 2-0

Creighton got their competitive slate off to a flyer this week, notching up two wins and exhibiting some real attacking prowess. The Bluejays had 19 shots against South Dakota State, helping the side to a 3-2 win, although conceding two goals and allowing 17 shots will not be something that the side will be too happy with. The defensive effort was far more solid against Incarnate Word, as Creighton limited the Texan side to 7 shots in a 2-0 shutout victory. Anastasia McCleary came off the bench in both games, playing a total of 90 minutes across two games and registering a total of 3 shots with 2 on target.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week: lost to Kansas 3-1, defeated Montana 1-0

A slow start to the game against Kansas condemned the Cowgirls to a first-up loss, as the Jayhawks scored in the 2nd minute and then again in the 18th to have the match in their control almost from the outset. A third goal just after halftime meant that Shelby Shorb’s 87th minute goal for Wyoming was little more than a consolation. Then, in a complete turnaround, it was Wyoming’s fast start against Montana that proved decisive as a 3rd minute goal became the game-winner in the 1-0 victory. Alisha Bass and Candace Sciberras both featured for Wyoming, starting and registering shots in both games. Georgia Rowntree was unfortunately confined to the bench as senior starter Alex Boehm played the full 90 minutes in each contest.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: lost to St. Joseph’s 4-1, lost to Sacramento State 1-0 (2OT)

After a first up loss to St. Joseph’s despite taking an early lead, Pacific went so close to holding out for a tie against Sacramento State, but conceded just 12 seconds from the end. Ellie Papalexiou was a starter against St. Joseph’s before coming off the bench against Sacramento State, playing on the left side of midfield in both games, and managing to tally a shot in each game.

Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Bridget Sankey)

This week’s results: Game Cancelled v Tennessee-Martin

Unfortunately, due to extreme heat, the Aussie trio at Southeast Missouri State were not able to take the field for their game against Tennessee-Martin.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Harriet Withers (Murray State)
2: Kahlia Hogg (Colorado)
1: Jess Coates (Nicholls State)

Week 3 Preview

It’s week 3, but in reality it’s week 1, as competitive fixtures start this weekend. Exhibitions were fun, but this is where the real action starts. As such, from this week onwards, a 3-2-1 will be awarded each week, and there will be a player of the year award at the end of it all.

Nicholls State (Jess Coates)

This week: at Southern Mississippi – 6am, Saturday August 23; at South Alabama – 3am, Monday August 25

With no exhibition matches on the schedule this season, Nicholls State launch straight into their schedule with two tough road fixtures against Southern Mississippi and South Alabama. Southern Mississippi will probably be the Colonels’ best chance at a win this weekend, but neither game will be an easy fixture for Nicholls State as Jess Coates looks to get off to a winning start as captain of the side.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: v Arkansas State – 6am, Saturday August 23

After a tough beginning to the season, with a 7-1 loss to Western Kentucky in an exhibition fixture, things don’t get a whole lot easier for Murray State as they take on Arkansas State at home to kick off their competitive fixtures. Nyomi Devine will be hoping to get another start in defence for the Racers, whilst Harriet Withers will be hoping that her attacking ability that saw her take 3 shots off the bench against Western Kentucky will see her get more game time this weekend.

Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alexandra Huynh)

This week: v Colorado State – 8am, Saturday August 23; v Northern Colorado – 7am, Monday August 25

As with last season, Colorado get their season started with matches against a couple of in-state rivals, firstly Colorado State, followed by Northern Colorado. With the Buffaloes looking to make a return to the national tournament after their surprising Sweet 16 run last season, these two matches will be seen as must-wins for the home side. Alexandra Huynh was an integral part of a defence that was almost unbeatable early on last season, whilst Kahlia Hogg’s two goals in the team’s pre-season scrimmage, coupled with her off-season form for Colorado Rush, could see both Australians playing vital roles for Colorado this season.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week: at Connecticut – 9am, Saturday August 23; v Bucknell – 2am, Monday August 25

Fresh off a W-League championship with Melbourne Victory, Emily Hulbert starts her competitive career at Hofstra with a tough fixture against Connecticut. Hofstra had a solid season last year, but Connecticut are a top-level team and will be tough to beat. Things are not expected to be quite as tough against a lower-level Bucknell side, but the Pride will still need to be on their game to get a result and start the season on the right note.

Southern (Simone Arthur)

This week: v Texas Pan-American – 9am, Saturday August 23; at Arkansas-Little Rock – 2am, Monday August 25

Senior Simone Arthur, recently named to College Sports Madness’ All-SWAC Preseason Second Team, will be hoping to lead Southern to an early victory over Texas Pan-American before taking on Sun Belt side Arkansas-Little Rock. The game against Texas Pan-American will also be a historic game – it is the first game for Texas Pan-American’s new women’s soccer team; against a team that is mostly freshmen, the Jaguars should be confident of handing UTPA’s side a losing start to its history.

Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)

This week: at College of Charleston – 9am, Saturday August 23; at South Carolina State – 3am, Monday August 25; at Troy – 6am, Wednesday 27 August

A hectic week for Alabama State this week – three away games on a whistle stop tour of the southeast, a trip that they will be looking to get some positive results from after their disappointing loss to NAIA Faulkner University last weekend. Shelbi Vienna-Hallam had a solid game for the Hornets in what would have been a tough loss to take, and will hopefully get another start this weekend. It is often easy to forget that whilst Shelbi is in her first year of Division I soccer, she is not a freshman – her two years in a wildly successful junior college program have clearly assisted her progress.

UMBC (Lilly Rydon)

This week: v Navy – 9am, Saturday August 23; v Loyola Maryland – 9am, Wednesday 27 August

A team that is tipped to go back-to-back in conference play, UMBC get things started with a couple of games against local rivals, taking on Navy and Loyola Maryland. Navy are set to be the tougher test of these two games, but the Retrievers will be confident of getting results in both games as they return all bar two players from last year’s record-setting team. Lilly Rydon was a key part of that side as a junior, and will hope to kick on in her final season of college play.

Kennesaw State (Nicole Calder)

This week: at Alabama – 9am, Saturday August 23; v Georgia State – 9am, Tuesday 26 August

Kennesaw State kick off their season with a tough matchup against Alabama before coming home to play local rival Georgia State. The Owls are no stranger to playing even stronger sides than this, taking on both Duke and North Carolina last season. Unfortunately, Nicole Calder won’t be starting against Alabama, but this will almost certainly be a temporary move, as the South Australian senior has recently been named a team captain.

Creighton (Anastasia McCleary)

This week: at South Dakota State – 9am, Saturday August 23; v Incarnate Word – 4am, Monday 25 August

Junior transfer Anastasia McCleary has been highly involved in Creighton’s exhibition matches and will be hoping for more of the same as the Bluejays look to turn around their form in their first two competitive fixtures of the season. First up, Creighton will face South Dakota State, a match that they would be confident of winning, but this could easily be a banana skin for Creighton. Then, the Bluejays take on University of the Incarnate Word in a match that comprises their opponent’s first full Division I season.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week: at Kansas – 11am, Saturday August 23; v Montana – 5am, Monday August 25

As with last season, there are three Aussies playing at Wyoming, and all three are getting game time. Alisha Bass in particular is playing amazingly, whilst Candace Sciberras and Georgia Rowntree are also featuring for the Cowgirls. However, now come the competitive fixtures, and with a match against Big 12 side Kansas first up, it will be interesting to see how much time the three Aussies get. Bass should start, and Sciberras may also start as well. The goalkeepers have been rotated so far, so it is hard to get a read on whether Georgia Rowntree will see much time this weekend.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: v St. Joseph’s – 12:00pm, Saturday 23 August; at Sacramento State – 6am, Monday August 25

One player that will be tipped to start this weekend is left-sided utility Ellie Papalexiou, who has trained as the first choice left midfielder for Pacific so far this season. The first match this week, against St. Joseph’s, should prove to be a very stern test for the Tigers, before moving on to play local foe Sacramento State in what should be a very even matchup.

Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Bridget Sankey)

This week: at Tennessee-Martin – 5am, Monday August 25

Just the one game for the Australian trio at Southeast Missouri State, against Tennessee-Martin. Jenna Collingridge has been a fixture for the Redhawks so far in her time with the team, whilst Maddy Cornell has been seeing solid minutes and heavy involvement in the play in this season’s exhibition matches. Unfortunately, Bridget Sankey wasn’t so lucky during these exhibition matches, but hopefully this changes this week.

Week 2 Wrap

This week saw mixed results for the nine Aussies involved, but may have unearthed a rising star, with Alisha Bass notching two goals for Wyoming in a 5-1 win over Colorado School Of Mines.

Creighton (Anastasia McCleary)

This week’s results: lost 2-1 to Arkansas, lost 2-0 to Missouri State

Two losses this week may suggest an inauspicious commencement to the season for Creighton, but there was plenty to be positive about for the Bluejays. Firstly, the team hung with an SEC side to the point where it took a 40 yard shot to loop in for Arkansas to beat them, whilst they outshot Missouri State 17-8, despite going down 2-0. On a personal level, Anastasia McCleary played 64 minutes in the game against Arkansas across 4 positions, and also managed 3 shots on target in 46 minutes of play against Missouri State.

Kennesaw State (Nicole Calder)

This week: defeated Clayton State 6-1, lost 4-2 to Middle Tennessee State

A mixed week this week for Kennesaw State, with two high scoring games, but only one positive result. There is definite goalscoring firepower in this Kennesaw State team, but the side will have to avoid conceding scores like the ones they did to Middle Tennessee State if they are to capitalise on their strikeforce. Nicole Calder played solid minutes in both games as she continues to recover from illness, registering multiple shots in each game.

Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)

This week’s result: lost 2-0 to Faulkner

Not the best start for Alabama State, going down 2-0 to NAIA Faulkner University. The Hornets were not without their chances, forcing the Faulkner goalkeeper into 8 saves, but couldn’t find the back of the net. Shelbi Vienna-Hallam played the full match, managing to tally two shots, including one on target.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week’s result: defeated Colorado School of Mines 5-1

Undoubtedly the highlight of the week, all three Australians saw playing time for Wyoming as they defeated Colorado School of Mines 5-1. Of particular note was Alisha Bass’s performance, as she knocked in two goals in a star performance that follows on from her goalscoring performance in the team’s preseason scrimmage and her solid spring form.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: lost 7-1 to Western Kentucky

Not the best start to proceedings for Murray State, as they went down 7-1 to a vastly superior Western Kentucky side. It wasn’t all bad news, however, as Nyomi Devine managed to get a starting berth for the Racers, whilst Harriet Withers came off the bench to have three shots during her stint on the pitch.

The exhibition season has now concluded – as of Week 3, every game counts, meaning that the games will be coming thick and fast from here on out as teams get stuck into the competitive fixtures.

Week 2 Preview

With eight games this week across six schools, things are starting to kick into gear. This week, we have SIX players making their Division I college debuts, whilst Anastasia McCleary makes her debut for Creighton after her transfer from Alabama State.

Creighton (Anastasia McCleary)

This week: at Arkansas – 10am, Friday August 15; at Missouri State – 10am, Sunday August 17 

Anastasia McCleary and Creighton kick off their season this week with two exhibition games, firstly against Arkansas, and then on Sunday against Missouri State. The match against Arkansas will be a solid test for the Bluejays, as Arkansas made the Sweet 16 of last year’s NCAA Tournament. It will also be a historic game, as it will be the first game to be shown on the new SEC Network television channel.

Missouri State will also provide a solid test for Creighton, in a matchup of ex-conference rivals, with both sides playing in the Missouri Valley Conference until Creighton’s move to the Big East this season. Last year, Missouri State were the better of the two sides, managing to qualify for the conference tournament, which Creighton were unable to do. As always with exhibition games, though, these games rarely see the full-strength first team play a majority of minutes for either side.

Kennesaw State (Nicole Calder)

This week: v Clayton State – 9am, Saturday August 16; v Middle Tennessee State – 7am, Monday August 18

Nicole Calder and Kennesaw State finish off their exhibition schedule with two games this week: firstly against Division II Clayton State, whom the Owls defeated 3-0 last year, and finally against Middle Tennessee State, once the college home of former Adelaide United defender Nenita Burgess. At this point in the season last year, Nicole Calder was out injured, and missed several games in this early part of the season. At full fitness this year, Nicole will hopefully be able to use these remaining exhibition matches as a launchpad for the rest of the season, something she was unable to do last year.

The match against Clayton State should end in a repeat of last year’s result, but the game against Middle Tennessee State should be a tight contest, although if Kennesaw State can play as well as their talents will allow, there is no reason for them not to get a win.

Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)

This week: v Faulkner – 7am, Sunday August 17

Same school, different Aussie. Where this was the place to write about Anastasia McCleary last year, now it’s time to write about Shelbi Vienna-Hallam, who will play her first game for a Division I team this weekend, when Alabama State take on NAIA side Faulkner University. This appears on paper to be an easing-in exercise for Alabama State, against a side that only finished in the mid-pack of its NAIA conference last year. This should, in theory, mean most players will get on the field for the Hornets, and we’ll be likely to see Shelbi play no matter the circumstances.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week: at Colorado School of Mines – 11am, Sunday August 17

Wyoming and its three Aussies will go into the college season off the back of just one exhibition game, which will be played this weekend against Division II Colorado School Of Mines. Having already played the same opponent during the spring exhibition games, the Cowgirls have a fair idea of the opposition they’re facing. Alisha Bass is almost a certainty to start after some great play during the spring exhibitions and again in this week’s intra-squad scrimmage, where she picked up a goal, whilst Candace Sciberras and Georgia Rowntree should also see playing time as the squad is rotated during this game.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: at Western Kentucky – 4am, Monday August 18

With two Aussie freshmen on the scene at Murray State, this exhibition against local rivals Western Kentucky will hopefully see a pair of debuts for Australians Nyomi Devine and Harriet Withers. Western Kentucky made the championship game of the Sun Belt conference tournament last year, meaning this game is expected to be more of an easing-in for the Hilltoppers, with Murray State expected to play the role of soft opposition. Don’t expect that to be the case for a team that is looking to build on a 6-10-1 season last year, though.

UMBC (Lilly Rydon)

This week: v George Mason – 9am, Monday August 18

Lilly Rydon and UMBC get their teeth into things early, with an exhibition against George Mason, who should prove to be a tricky foe for a side that is looking to go back-to-back as America East champions. With this being Lilly Rydon’s senior year, look to see the South Australian be heavily involved in a side that has to put together a solid non-conference schedule, which hopefully will improve their seeding if they are indeed to make the national tournament. Whilst this game won’t count towards that, it will definitely show the Retrievers just where they stand on a national level.

Week 1 Wrap

Three matches were played this week, with Kennesaw State (Nicole Calder) and Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Bridget Sankey) getting their seasons started with exhibition games.

Kennesaw State (Nicole Calder)

This week’s result: defeated Wofford 1-0

The Owls of Kennesaw State got their season off to a successful start, exacting revenge on Wofford for last year’s result with a 1-0 win. Nicole Calder came into this game with a slight illness and as such only played two periods of a game that was played in three 30 minute periods. Nicole had two shots during her time on the field. It was not until the 67th minute that Kennesaw State’s Marit Sandtroeen scored the winner on a solo effort, with the score remaining 1-0 for the final 23 minutes to give the Owls a first-up win.

Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Bridget Sankey)

This week’s results: lost 1-0 to Lipscomb, lost 3-1 to Saint Louis

Two losses for the Redhawks provide an inauspicious beginning to the season, but there was good news for two of the Aussies, with Jenna Collingridge and Maddy Cornell starting both games, and Maddy Cornell playing over an hour in both games. Both Cornell and Collingridge had shots on target in both games, with Jenna notching a game-high three shots on goal in 34 minutes of play in the loss to Lipscomb. These two games also saw the Southeast coach tinkering with Maddy Cornell’s positioning, with the freshman playing midfield against Lipscomb and in defence against Saint Louis. Unfortunately, Bridget Sankey did not see the field in these two games.


Week 1 Preview

Just the three games this week, as Kennesaw State (Nicole Calder) and Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Bridget Sankey) get their seasons started. All three matches this week are exhibition fixtures and, as such, will not count towards season records, meaning there is plenty of scope for teams to tinker with lineups before the serious matches start.

(All dates and times in Sydney/Melbourne time)

Kennesaw State (Nicole Calder)

This Week: at Wofford – 9am, Monday August 11

This battle of 2013 conference semi-finalists sees Nicole Calder and Kennesaw State skip across the border to South Carolina to take on Southern Conference side Wofford College in an exhibition, looking to avenge the 3-0 loss they suffered to the Terriers in the corresponding fixture last season. Interestingly, Nicole Calder played GOALKEEPER for Kennesaw State in this match last season – hopefully playing in one of her more usual positions will see Nicole able to help the Owls to a win.

Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Bridget Sankey)

This Week: at Lipscomb – 9am, Tuesday August 12; at Saint Louis – 8am, Thursday August 14

The only side to play two fixtures this week, Southeast Missouri State are playing two return fixtures from last season. First up, the Redhawks  travel to Tennessee to take on Lipscomb, a side they lost 1-2 to last season. Lipscomb have history facing Australians, being knocked off by Nicole Calder and Kennesaw State in the Atlantic Sun tournament first round, with Nicole getting the assist on the only goal. With this exhibition game not counting towards season records, expect Maddy Cornell and Bridget Sankey to see solid minutes as the Redhawks’ coaches evaluate their team. The team then moves closer to home, taking on University of Saint Louis on Thursday. Last season, this game was a home fixture for the Redhawks, and finished 0-0. Once again, this game could be an early opportunity for Cornell and Sankey to prove they are deserving of a regular starting berth this season.